As I’ve been talking to friends who are preparing to serve their missions, it is guaranteed they say one thing. “I just want to go!” Indeed, these young 18, 19, 20-year-olds are restless.
My cousin Tasha, who is going to serve in Brazil, has been waiting since November to leave. Now she’s only a month away! Still, five months is a long time for a scripture happy Mormon girl…especially a cute one who probably had to fend boys off with a baseball bat.
The feeling of anxiety to leave is not uncommon in our young pre missionaries, or premies, as I call them. Although the wait is grueling, any returned missionary (or RM) will testify they would not trade their mission for anything.
I have another friend, Robbie, who just returned a few months ago from the Paris, France mission. According to him it was hard work without many tangible rewards. His baptism rate was low, and at times, his heart was lower.
However, Robbie worked hard despite his misfortune. Though he would never go back to France for a mission, Robbie still says he was so changed by the work he did for two years he would never trade it for anything.
Missions teach these young adults to be self reliant. Though the church pays for their housing, they are in charge of buying their own groceries, doing their own laundry and getting themselves out of bed in the morning at 6:30 and into bed by 10:30 at night.
Missions also teach patients with others, even when it is hard. Our missionaries are with an assigned partner, or companion, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. When not in the safety of their own home, these companions are never far from each other. Now imagine doing that with someone who rubs you the wrong way. You are in for a long stretch of mission.
The most recent mission call has been that of my friend, Caleb, who is called to serve in the San Diego, California mission. I was lucky enough to talk to him the night he got his call. His voice was airy with excitement and all he could say was how excited he was. He couldn’t even form a coherent thought that wasn’t mission related.
In my mission preparation, I’ve had people tell me I’m straight up bat-crazy for dropping out of school, and life as I know it, for a year and a half. Then they learn I’m paying my own way (a whopping $7,200) and they find the closest institution for the insane. What they don’t understand is that this is something that will have the greatest effect on my life and will prepare me for motherhood (my ultimate goal) better than anything else.
Gordon B. Hinckley, the 15th president of the church, said something along the lines of this: The best thing a woman can do to prepare for motherhood is serve a mission.
And so I, being very young and very restless, begin my preparation to serve God.