Sunday, June 9, 2013

Hereby Called To Serve

"There is no place I could get called to that I'd be disappointed, only terrified." In short, ever since I decided to serve a mission clear back in October of 2012, I'd been hoping and crossing my fingers that I'd go stateside. The unknown of serving foreign seemed overwhelmingly daunting and difficult. I was perfectly content with anywhere in the US--anywhere where I could still have some ground under my feet as a new missionary. English speaking?

Yes, please.

However, I knew well that the Lord knew best where I was meant to serve. Answering "yes" to the missionary interview question, "Are you willing to serve wherever and in whatever capacity you are asked to serve in?" confirmed this in my mind. I would go wherever I was needed, despite my very real fears.

Knowing that you can be called to anywhere in the world is, in my mind, terrifying. Honestly, for months my mind raced.....Canada? Mexico City? Africa? London? California? Where, oh, where? And then, after all is said and done--interviews finished, appointments attended, shots given, forms filled, money saved, documents signed, papers submitted--all you're left to do is...


Wait for ten long days for a white envelope with the clearly-typed words "From the Office of the First Presidency, To Sister Anna Parker" to show up in the mailbox. Then, of course, comes the waiting for all immediate family to be gathered (3 days counting) before opening it.

Those three days were some of the longest of my life. Constantly seeing that white envelope, wondering (and panicking) over the when, where, what, and how's of what it contains.

Basically, the next 2 years of your life has been decided for you and is sitting in nothing more than a paper envelope, and you have to exercise the self-control not to open it. 

When yesterday came (the day before the grand opening), the anxiety began to set in. Beginning to realize what was actually coming, was indeed ALARMING. Eventually, it all came to fruition in those couple seconds before mustering up enough courage to begin reading the actual call. My heart has never pounded so hard or my hands shaken so uncontrollably than they did as I pulled out that letter and read,

"Dear Sister Parker,
You are hereby called to serve as a missionary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. You are assigned to labor in the Illinois Chicago Mission. It is anticipated that you will serve for a period of 18 months. You should report to the Provo Missionary Training Center on Wednesday, September 4, 2013. You will prepare to preach the gospel in the English language."

In a wave of emotions, all I could do was cover my face and cry. I was so overcome with gratitude and joy! The Spirit filled my whole heart and the warmth that I felt was unmatched by anything I've ever experienced. Seeing my name printed alongside His with the declaration, "You have been recommended as one worthy to represent the Lord as a minister of the restored gospel," I realized, is one of the greatest blessings I could ever ask for. He wants me--ME--to represent Him! My gratitude for this opportunity and honor is overwhelming! In that moment, I felt such a deepness of His love for me and of my love for Him. I know that this is where I'm supposed to serve. I know that there are people in Illinois who are waiting to hear the message that I'll be blessed to bring to them. This is truly an honor! I know my Savior is aware of me and needs me to help Him further His work and bring souls back into His fold. I'm grateful for my call to serve and for His goodness in sending me! I know this Gospel is true and am anxious to bring the light and peace of that message to the people of Illinois! Onward and upward!

"Youth of the Church, the world is in need of your help. There are feet to steady, hands to grasp, minds to encourage, hearts to inspire, and souls to save. The harvest truly is great. Let there be no mistake about it; the missionary opportunity of a lifetime is yours. The blessings of eternity await you. Yours is the privilege to be, not spectators, but participants on the stage of service to others."President Thomas S. Monson"That All May Hear," New Era, May 1996, 4