"Dear Sister Matheson you are hearby called to serve as a missionary of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints."
If you would have asked me a couple years ago that I would be reading that sentence, I would have believed you, but been fairly surprised. A mission has always been something that has been an option, but never set in stone in the plan. I would be lying if I told you that it was my plan all along to serve a mission. I was never against it, but I just wasn't sure. Anyone who knows me knows that I am one of the most indecisive people in existence. Real talk though, I am. I have such a hard time making any decision. Whether it be choosing between brands of toothpaste to buy, or choosing to serve a mission or not, its just really rough for me. Probably because I overthink everything.
All my life people have told me that the Holy Ghost is a guide to you to help you make decisions. So naturally I thought, okay I'll just listen to the Holy Ghost, he'll tell me what to do. I think I was waiting for some crazy experience or literal shaking. I've learned that's not exactly how it works. I have learned a very valuable lesson in all of this. I heard somewhere a quote that says "Jesus doesn't promise that the Holy Ghost will control us. He says He will guide us." As much as I would love for someone to tell my indecisive self what to do all the time, it just doesn't work like that. That would take away the purpose of life. We have to make our own decisions with the guidance of the Holy Ghost.
I still remember the day that the mission age was lowered, it was the day of the Homecoming dance my senior year, (October 2012). As I was rushing out the door for my day date my mom shouted to me "They lowered the age requirements for young men and young women to serve a mission!" Mostly I thought that was pretty cool, and I thought of my older sister (now serving in the Fiji, Suva mission) who was in China at the time who was planning on serving a mission. I thought she would be pretty happy. All the boys in my group for the dance kept talking about it and how it completely changed their plans. I have a late birthday (July 3rd) and so I said, ah I got loads of time before I have to make that decision. As my very closest friends started deciding to serve and many of my guy friends started receiving their calls it started getting more and more amazing to me. I knew this was something I wanted to be a part of. Still, I had plenty of time and I started telling people I was probably going to serve a mission, but it seemed so far away.
I headed up to Utah State for a year (GO AGGIES) because I couldn't go yet anyways. This year was critical in my decision to serve. I was surrounded by so many INCREDIBLE people that had the same desire as me to serve a mission. They were there through the whole process doing it alongside me. It brought so much comfort knowing I wasn't alone. My excitement to serve grew and grew. I finally really and TRULY decided I was 100% going to serve. I never did have that crazy shaking or life changing experience that told me I needed to serve, and that's okay. In life there's not only ONE path that is right. There are many good paths to take, so you simply have to choose one. For me it all comes back to one scripture that makes it all click.
D&C 4:3 --- "Therefore, if ye have desires to serve God ye are called to the work;"
I have a desire to serve God and the people in my mission and that is why I am serving a mission. Because I WANT to. And it would be perfectly fine if I didn't want to. Not everyone does, and there is nothing wrong with that. I know sometimes girls my age feel pressured in to serving or feel bad that they aren't. There is absolutely no reason to. Missions aren't for everyone. There are other ways to serve. I just happen to have a "desire to serve" I want to serve a mission. Why do I want to? Because I am SO SO SO blessed. I honestly don't know how I got so lucky, I have such a happy loving family, I was born in this beautiful gospel, and have been constantly surrounded by loving people and incredible experiences. But most importantly I have been blessed with the knowledge of this perfect gospel. I want to share that perfect knowledge with those who don't. One of my favorite hymns "Because I Have Been Given Much" teaches such a simple truth. Because I have been given much I too must give. And I have. I have been given so so so much. And now its my turn to give. 18 months is really such a small small price to pay for eternity.