Sunday, March 22, 2015

I'll Go Where You Want Me to Go

I recieved my call Saturday morning and was SO anxious to find out where I was going! I will be serving the people in the Portland, Oregon Mission. I leave for the Provo MTC July 1st and I will be teaching in English!
Some might say that this is an "average" mission call because lets be honest, if you are called to a state that touches your home state, it just isn't quite as cool. I had really hoped to go to my fathers mission in Madrid, Spain and I thought that I would be a little bit disappointed if I was called somewhere else. However, as I read those words, I felt a sense of peace that could only mean that this was no mistake. I am meant to go to Portland, Oregon and I could not be happier!
Finding out who you marry, where you go to college, and what career you will be going into is something everyone would like to know at age 19. However, those are all things that YOU choose. Where you are called to serve a mission is completely out of your hands and the decision comes straight from the Lord. He makes no mistakes.
There are a few twists to where I was called and I was shocked and a little confused by them. I didn't understand, and I'm not sure I will ever understand, why it is that I was called to this mission with these twists, but I'm focusing on what I do know:
  • I know that we have a Heavenly Father and I know that He loves me and knows me personally. 
  • I know that this church is true and I will preach His truth forever.
  • I know that the Book of Mormon is true and that Joseph Smith was a true prophet of God who translated that Book. 
  • I know that we have a living prophet upon this Earth, Thomas S. Monson. I also know that we will be blessed if we follow the prophet.
  • I know that I am meant to touch the lives of the people in Portland, Oregon and bring happiness to their homes, families, and the many generations to come.
  • I know that everything happens for a reason.
I might have wanted to go to Spain, but the Lord knew what was really in store for me and He always has. I trust Him and I trust that He will watch over me and protect me no matter what. "Not my will, but thine."
As I have looked up the weather in Portland, the region, and pictures of this beautiful place, I feel as if I have been there before. I already have a deep rooted love for my mission and the people who live there.  July 1st seems like an eternity! I can not WAIT to get out there to help in His work. This feeling is pure joy and I couldn't have asked for a better life.

It may not be on the mountain height
Or over the stormy sea,

It may not be at the battle's front

My Lord will have need of me.

But if, by a still, small voice he calls

To paths that I do not know,

I'll answer, dear Lord, with my hand in thine:

I'll go where you want me to go.

There's surely somewhere a lowly place
In earth's harvest fields so wide

Where I may labor through life's short day

For Jesus, the Crucified.

So trusting my all to thy tender care,

And knowing thou lovest me,

I'll do thy will with a heart sincere:

I'll be what you want me to be.
Portland, Oregon

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Living a life full of meaning.

One of the hardest things to do is wait. Believe me, I have had my fair share of waiting lately with college acceptance letters, mission calls, vacations... In fact, I am still waiting for my mission call. I have basically mastered the art of waiting.
A few months ago, a speaker in church at my home ward expressed her anxiety over college applications and decisions that had to be made in order for her to "grow up". She said something along the lines of, "I just can't wait for senior year to be over so that I can finally stop making hard decisions and so I will finally know what I am doing with my life." I remember thinking here I am, a college student visiting home for the weekend, only two months of my freshmen year down and I am no where near done making decisions and I definitely do NOT know exactly what I am doing with my life. That's the thing, life doesn't ever stop. That's why life is worth living! You constantly get to change your life in enormous ways and experience excitement over and over again. I remember being just like that girl thinking that once I got through high school, life would all make sense. We put this crazy notion in our heads that as soon as you graduate, a little light bulb will click on and your whole life will instantly be bright with knowledge of who you are, who your friends will be, and when that attractive man will come into your life. NOT TRUE. Everything starts over. You are now the lowest of the low, a freshmen: slightly naive and very innocent. But that is why college is so dang fun. You get to discover YOU. You get to look at life with a fresh outlook. You get to make mistakes and laugh at them later, maybe date the wrong guys and find out that you have known who the "right guy" for you has always been. Or maybe you will just realize that dating isn't in the cards for you right now. That is a-OK. College isn't the end all, its just the beginning. Graduating from high school is when you REALLY make the hard decisions, the ones that lead you to everything you want down the road. It still might take a few years, you just never know.
I have had some pretty exciting news these past few months. News that is completely changing my life and taking me on whole new paths. I was recently accepted to BYU (I'm telling you, even in college I was still applying to colleges and making hard decisions) and I submitted my mission papers. These past few months have involved a lot of waiting and plenty of anxiousness. But what I realized is that you really can't stop living while you wait because life isn't just about experiencing fancy dinners, lavish vacations, and grand adventures. Life is about enjoying the small moments: swinging under the fullest tree with the afternoon glow above you, chatting with your roommates about the silliest of things, giggling like a school girl as you dance like a ballerina in your kitchen, receiving a small but very kind compliment the day you curl your hair, and waiting for mission calls.. Those are the beautiful moments of life that make you look around and thank God for the wonderful life you live.
Just like that very cliche quote says: "Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass...It's about learning to dance in the rain." Society has this problem with always wanting more and never being satisfied. You can't wait for the date with that cute guy in your math class and think about it all week, but while you are on the date, think only about when you can see him again. Why not just enjoy the moment? Enjoy the in-between; the time when you have nothing going on. It's good to have something to look forward to, how fun would life be if everything was boringly repetitive? There would be nothing to keep you on your toes. But there is a difference between living your life even through the less busy moments, and only searching for the bigger and better moments. Those "I can't wait for this vacation/weekend" moments are practically rare compared to the waiting periods, and if life was only meant for living with the great adventures and experiences we have to wait for, what is the point? That can't be all life is meant for. So I would challenge you to enjoy the little moments and live your life to the fullest.
We have to experience the more "dull" moments to really appreciate the moments that are worth waiting for. Adam and Eve learned this same principle in the Garden of Eden when they partook of the fruit and were given the knowledge of both good and evil. In 2 Nephi chapter 2 verse 23 it says, "...wherefore they would have remained in a state of innocence, having no joy, for they knew no misery; doing no good, for they knew no sin" and in verse 25, "Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy."

Live a life full of meaning. Don't merely exist. Wake up each day and be filled with excitement for what the day is going to bring. My favorite book The Power sums it up when it says, "You were not born to live a life where the moments of joy are few and far between. You were not born to toil in your work five days a week, with fleeting moments of happiness on weekends... You are meant to experience life to its fullest and have everything you want and, at the same time, be filled with joy, health, vitality, excitement, and love, because that is an amazing life!"