Friday, April 8, 2016

CALLED TO SERVE: HILI-WHAT?

So... my mission call finally arrived. According to my Bishop, it actually came fairly quickly (which was yesterday, Thursday). I was sitting at my computer and refreshing my email every half hour, but I wasn't expecting anything since Thursday was the earliest day I could possibly receive my call. But here it is in all its glory!

(thanks sav-age for the pic)

The path that has led me here has been kind of a long one. I was never planning to serve a mission, not because I didn't want to, but it was just nothing I had ever planned because I never thought I would serve one. It wasn't until I was sixteen and Rachael, my sister, made the decision to serve a mission that I began wondering if a mission was for me too.
Immediately I had thoughts that it would be too hard and it wouldn't be for me. I'm pretty stubborn and I let people's bad attitudes get to me sometimes, so at that time I wasn't thinking I would be the best candidate for loving so many people in a random place unconditionally. However, the more I thought about it, the more I felt the desire to serve.
I came to college with the idea of going on a mission looking more realistic but I didn't think about it too much, the idea of filling out papers and making it a sure thing freaked me out. I would pray for a confirmation, if this was what I should be doing, and would it be the best decision for me to put my life on pause for a year and a half. I put it on the back-burner for awhile until one night in November. It was Sunday night and I went to tunnel singing (it is exactly what it sounds like, a bunch of students gather in this tunnel and sing hymns for an hour) and we began to sing a hymn that I knew and liked, but had never read the lyrics. The hymn was "More Holiness Give Me" and it opened my eyes to what a mission could be and was just the answer I needed. 
The third verse of this beautiful hymn is what spoke to me so profoundly, it reads:

More purity give me,
More strength to o'ercome,
More freedom from earth-stains,
More longing for home.
More fit for the kingdom,
More used would I be,
More blessed and holy--
More, Savior, like thee.

 "More, Savior, like thee". Such beautiful words. This made me realize that a mission is an opportunity for me to be more Christlike, an attribute that I think everyone should strive to develop. I felt this desire in my heart to serve more than I had ever felt before and finally understood that either way I chose, whether I chose to serve a mission or not, it would all be okay. Nobody will force me to make this decision and there is no expectation for me to fill. However, serving a mission could only benefit me and bless me in ways I can't even comprehend. 
I started my papers with my Bishop at the start of the semester and here I am, a pre-missionary. Nothing can really describe the intense anxiety you feel the week you're expecting your mission call. You have absolutely NO clue where you could be going and praying that you go somewhere that you can at least pronounce. I can honestly I couldn't make a guess on where I was to go (I'll go where you want me to go...) But I would have never guessed where I ended up getting called to.

Anyways, I opened my call yesterday! After much waiting and getting family on Skype, I opened it. Words cannot describe the overwhelming feeling of joy that I felt from just reading the first line "Dear Sister Pope...", I was instantly SO emotional. I tried to restrict my eyes from glancing down the page, but I saw my calling and was so gone. I seriously read it so fast I'm surprised anyone caught it, but I am officially called to the Philippines Bacolod mission speaking Hiligaynon(Ilonggo). 

My face when I saw the name of the language "You'll be speaking in the hilly-gay-nan language?!?!!"

WHAT IS THIS LANGUAGE?? I couldn't even pronounce it and so many thoughts and feelings were going through my head that I sounded like such a doofus trying to read it. 
BUT
I'm SO excited.
I stayed up until 2:30 am reading missionary blogs and familiarizing myself with anything related to the Philippines. The general consensus: The Philippines rock. Also, it's super hot there and bugs are everywhere BUT the people are the most amazing and kindest people you'll meet. Also, they seem to like music a LOT so I'm so pumped for that.

Right after I opened my call... squinty eyes so nobody can see the tears of joy, fear and excitement

Kyle: "If you were called to the Taiwan Taichung Mission I would've had to propose to you"

 Alex and his tummy.. also Nick looks like a model

 Emily was going around and getting everyone's guesses.. she cracks me up

TrIPpy rOomiEs for LYFe

Not sure what's going on here

Overall, I'm thrilled to serve in the Philippines. I've been reading everything I can to get a better idea of what it'll be like (notice my avoidance of the word "prepare"... NOBODY'S prepared) and I get more and more excited the more I read (except for the cockroaches). Called to serve! 


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