Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Sister Missionaries

I found out tonight that one of my best friends has decided to go on a mission. And yes, she is a girl. She is the first girl from my age group (that I know) who has decided to go on a mission. I was at first very surprised and taken aback because I don't feel old enough for girls my age to be going on missions yet, but once I realized how I really am it made perfect sense. It's ironic because the thought of going on a mission myself has been on my mind recently. I could theoretically start my papers on May 25, and I could submit them on August 25.

Why not go on a mission? All I hear from the missionaries that I write is that they love it with all their hearts, they are dreading coming home, and they wouldn't trade the experiences they've had for the world. They are so glad that they made the decision to serve the Lord for two years. Why shouldn't a girl take that opportunity as well if it is presented to her?

Here are the reasons why I do not want to go on a mission. You don't have to agree with me and I'm sure some of you will think that I'm not putting Heavenly Father first in my life, but these are the things that pull me away from serving a mission.

1. If I went on a mission, I would delay my schooling by two years. Because I am in the dietetics program at BYU, classes are only offered fall or winter semester. Thus, even though I would only be gone for 18 months, my schooling would be delayed two full years. Plus, I have medical school to look forward to after my undergraduate program. I don't want to go into all of the details, but from this point I estimate that I have 14 or so more years until I will be earning a salary. Ya, that's a long time, and I don't want to delay that any more than I need to.

2. I've heard from my missionaries that there are only two kinds of sister missionaries. Really good ones or really horribly bad ones. I mostly hear that they are horribly bad. I don't think that I'd be a "bad" missionary, but who knows. It just doesn't sound appealing to me from an Elder's perspective.

3. Money. I am going to Jerusalem this summer, and I am spending almost $10,000 to do that. I still have a big chunk of money in the bank, but I'm hoping that I won't be over $200,000 in debt after medical school. I'm trying to save every penny I can anywhere I can. Ask anyone who knows me even slightly well, and they will tell you that I hoard my money.

4. It just doesn't sound like my kind of thing. I have never had the desire to serve a mission. Does that make me a bad person? I've talked to my parents about that a lot. I don't want my Heavenly Father to think that I don't love Him enough to sacrifice everything to serve Him because I do. I have just never had that drive to share the gospel. Don't get me wrong. I love the gospel! It is the driving force in my life. But I've just never had the urge to go on a formal mission. As I have thought about this, I don't think that I am a bad person. And if I am meant to serve a mission, I think that the desire to do so will come when that time comes.

Now, even though I don't want to go on a formal mission, I have gone on my own mini missions and want to go on more. When I was 16 I went to China to sing in the International Choir Olympics where my choir sang hymns such as "Let Zion in Her Beauty Rise" and "High on a Mountain Top." We were heard all over the country, and the people loved us and the message we shared with them. When I was 17 I went to Europe and sang songs like "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing." Again, we were received with love and the people loved what we had to share. I am also counting my Jerusalem experience as a mini mission. Even though I am forbidden to proselyte in any way, shape, or form, I know that just by going there I will have missionary experiences. I have also thought about serving a formal "mini mission" in Russia in the summer of 2011 depending on where my life is at that point. My neighbor's parents are mission presidents of the Moscow Russia West mission, and they want me to come over there for six weeks and serve a mini mission. I think that these experiences could be just as fulfilling as a regular mission even though I wouldn't have the mantle of a missionary.

I admire those Elders and Sisters who give up so much to serve the Lord, and I know that they are blessed immensely. And if it is in the Lord's plan for me to serve a mission, I will do so. I will not pass up what He wants for me. It might take some convincing, but I'll do His will, whatever it is for me.

Friday, March 19, 2010

The First of Many

Well hello! I have finally succumbed to the peer pressure of my sister and have started a blog. I don't really know why. Mostly it will just give me something to do while I'm at work and bored. It will also be very useful while I am in Jerusalem so that I can document my adventures and have you all read them! Even though I haven't even left yet, my adventures in the Holy Land have already begun. Here's a quick (or not so quick) recap:

I applied to go to the BYU Jerusalem Center in November 2009. I have wanted to go to the center ever since I heard about it when I was like 10 years old! I never really thought about it once I actually came to BYU, but once I remembered things happened in a whirl wind! One day I was looking at the application, the next I had it entirely filled out and ready to turn in. I don't know what drove me to it, but I'm super glad I did!

From there, I waited. And waited. And waited. Finally, I found out in mid-January that I had been accepted!!! I would leave April 27 and return August 12. Things were in the works.

I was so excited once I found out I was going, but I also had some reservations. First, I am going to miss my best friend's wedding! I was supposed to be her maid-of-honor, but I'm not even going to be here. Secondly, I talk to my parents at least once a day if not twice, or even five times! Yesterday I couldn't get a hold of them until about 10:30 pm, and I was freaking out! It's gonna be really hard for me to not be able to talk to them all the time, but it's worth it. Lastly, I am missing my best friend coming home from his mission. In all honesty, this is probably the hardest one for me, but he'll still be around when I get back. :) Other than those things, I am all gung ho for this adventure!

After I found out I had been accepted, I started my payments. My first payment was for $1,000 and my second was for $5,355. This trip is definitley not cheap. The initial price is $9,650!!! Luckily, I got some scholarships that paid for about a third of it! The intial price includes airfare, tuition, books, all food, all housing, and even laundry. Basically the only things that I will buy for myself over in Jerusalem are basic supplies like shampoo and such and souvenirs. But, before I go I have to get an entirely new wardrobe. My clothes can't be tight, my pants have to be waist high, and my skirts have to go to my mid calf! I've already spent $424.82 and there's still more for me to buy!!! But again, it's totally worth it, and I have a completely new wardrobe! Things are going well.

The next things on my list are: continue shopping, make a final packing list, and keep being STOKED to take this adventure on!

To be continued...