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.