It is hard to believe that only one week from now I will be in the MTC, preparing to begin my service in Canada. Montreal awaits! Just around the corner! I am glad that I had only two months to wait between getting my call and leaving for my mission. Then again, I waited six weeks from the time I turned my papers in to the time I got that lovely envelope in the mail. I am so grateful for this opportunity--heaven knows I could never be on the eve of such an experience without the unbelievable amount of help and support I have received from so many. It is a bit overwhelming to think how much I have learned just in preparing to serve a mission, and how much more I will learn in the actual service. It took me some time to accept the fact that this is where my life needs to go right now. The hymn "Lead Kindly Light" has come to mind many a time lately.
Lead kindly light, amid th'encircling gloom
Lead thou me on!
The night is dark, and I am far from home;
Lead thou me on!
Keep thou my feet; I do not ask to see
The distant scene--one step enough for me.
I was not ever thus, nor pray'd that thou
shouldst lead me on.
I loved to choose and see my path; but now,
Lead thou me on!
I loved the garish day, and, spite of fears,
Pride ruled my will. Remember not past years.
So long thy pow'r hath blest me, sure it still
Will lead me on.
O'er moor and fen, o'er crag and torrent, till
the night is gone.
And with the morn those angel faces smile;
which I have loved long since, and lost awhile!
If I had as strong a faith as I once thought I did, I would be out and back already. I needed the lessons the last couple years have provided me, however. I am grateful for a Heavenly Father who knows me well enough to know that I would hesitate, and so put challenges and experiences in my path that would strengthen my trust in Him and in myself. I remember the very moment I first thought about serving a mission. It was a simple experience, which spurred a thought, which ignited a prompting in my heart. And I mean IGNITED. I had to sit down, I had to strip off the coat and scarf I was wearing, the "burning in my bosom" was so...well...burning! I felt the spirit so strongly, my whole body trembled. Such an experience, and yet it still took such a long time to convince me God wasn't being sarcastic, I really need to go on a mission. I'm grateful Heavenly Father is patient. I'm grateful He didn't let me waste my time; he filled my period of indecision with vital lessons and growing pains that have prepared me to be a better instrument in His hands. I am not perfect. I misunderstand and am misunderstood, I fail over and over again to live up to my potential, to be the kind of friend, sister, daughter, etc. that I know I can be. But I know my shortcomings, and almost daily learn of ones I hadn't recognized before, and I am doing what I can to overcome them, to turn my weaknesses into strengths. Maybe that is why I am so, so blessed. Heavenly Father knows I'm not a lost cause, that I can be put to work and to use and can make a difference. I am grateful to share this experience with my little brother Mark, who is serving in France. Hopefully some of his letters will be posted here too; he is a very special person. .....in every sense of the word. Where much is given, much is expected. I am grateful for this opportunity to share something so dear to me: the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.