Sunday, June 23, 2013

Estimated Arrival: 12 days (but who is counting?)

I should probably stop counting. It is kinda making it worse.
Do you remember when you graduated from high school (maybe you aren't there yet) and they had a count down? Didn't time molasses and everything slid in slow-mo?

For everyone who doesn't knonw about how mission calls work, here is a quick summary:
 You talk to your Bishop (leader of congregation) after oyu have prayed and fasted. He does the same, and if you both receive a witness it is a good thing and you are worthy, then you fill out your papers and talk to the Stake President (Man who is over a few congregations. The LDS Church has a lot of order in it) He double checks to make sure you are good to go, then turns your papers in the Salt Lake. (Where Church Headquarters is) The following Tuesday, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve (i.e. a prophet of God) prays about it, looks through your picture and information, picks a place, and confirms it. Then they work out travel stuff, and send it back out on Thursday. It usually takes a week to arrive at your home.
So, for all you people counting at home, that is approximately two weeks.

For more info about how where missionaries are sent and why:

So, in this letter, you find out you are called to serve, where, what language you will be speaking, and when you depart. It is a very cool letter to receive.

If you have ever been to a mission call opening (whether you are a member of the LDS Church or not) you will find that, sometimes, it is kinda read like this:

"Dearsizzermolen, youareherbai calldoserveasamissforchurchofJesusChristoflatterdasaint. You are assigned to labor in...." and then the name of where they will serve is read and everyone screams and cries and it is a wonderful moment. (and sometimes there are cookies)

And I find there is nothing wrong with this approach.
I used to think so, though.
After watching a bunch of Youtube videos of people opening them about a week ago, I was shocked that the first line was rushed through like a runaway freight train.
But, now that I have been waiting for five days, I have learned humility. It is TOUGH to wait.(hence my Harry Potter picture) And I will probably accidentally (like all those other pre-missionaries) rush the first line when I first read it.

The whole point is, though, to not forget the importance of that line.
I am not going out to serve a mission to go travel. Or to see cultures.Or to even be nice to people. I am going because I will be called of God to 1.Teach people how they can find the happiness I did & 2.Serve them in anyway I can. There is a wonderful quote regarding people who become missionaries, "to give it all you got and serve."
A pretty hefty responsibility.
There is no time I have felt more imperfect and under qualified then when preparing to serve God. I know I am only there to teach lessons (just say words) and have the Holy Ghost (i.e. Spirit spoken of in the Bible and Book of Mormon) testify what I am saying is true to people. Yet I don't even feel qualified enough for that.

Doctrine and Covenants 4:5:

That's what I am trying to work hard toward.
I figure, though, if that paper has that divinely-crafted first line in it ("Dear Sister Molen, you are hereby called to serve as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.") then that means the Lord trusts me enough to serve the best I can.
And that is enough.
And I am so excited for it!

T.V. Update- it does get easier after a couple of days! But Pinterest has kinda taken that spot. I have a feeling I know what is going to go next...
Moral of the story: Quitting doesn't really count if you replace it with something just as  brain numbing. (Brain numbing was tough to type)

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Estimated Mission Call Arrival: 17 days

Want to know what I am doing with my life?

You see, I want to be a missionary.
Getting there is tough.
I want to be the best missionary I can be. Not the best one out there, because we that is unreasonable and improbable. Everyone will be a different missionary. Waking up at certain times is hard, and focusing all your attention on serving other is not as easy as it sounds. And learning how to teach isn't too easy.

 Doctrine and Covenants 64: 33-35  (Scriptures online are AWESOME. Geeking out.)

God asks for a willing heart and mind. That is for always. When you choose to serve a mission, you must realize there are essentially 16 hour days of serving, and reading, and teaching. All your attention is to be focused for those 18 months on that. No television, movies, or dating. No obnoxious music, dancing, or fun reading.
Remember I said I wanted to be the best missionary I can be?


This is entirely MY choice. I am not saying I don't want to devote myself. But I am not saying it requires no effort. What I am saying it'll be worth it in the end.
And I wanted to get started early, so by the time I am out there I have broken all addcitions. One at a time.

I quit T.V. yesterday.
*Gasp and fall over dramatically*
((Slow chords playing))

If you know me, that is tough. I freak out (Sherlock, Psych, and Doctor Who are my top three. And I will re-watch episodes) 'bout shows. I want to know how the guy the last episode of Season 2. And talk to me when you're don- wait, No! Don't! DON'T talk to me about it!) But I feel like I need to quit simply because I freak out so much about it. Does that make sense?
I won't break the rules out there (I have already decided that), but I don't want my mind to be elsewhere.
For example, I don't want to be telling people about the Most Important Thing in the World to me  while on my mission and suddenly start thinking about television shows and wishing I was watching the Psych Musical.

It's funny how the things that matter least seem to take up most of our time.
T.V. doesn't matter much, but I spend a lot of time on it.
That's why it's gots to go.

So if you see me, tell me to be strong. Tell me to read scriptures and get refocused. And make sure I don't quench my want by watching clips on Youtube (my next addiction to go)

When I come back, I will probably start television again, but hopefully with more balance. And a more realistic perspective.

Wish me Luck.

Why? Why be a missionary?

Today I, Sister Molen, finished my application to become a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, known by some as the Mormons. I will be gone for 18 months, starting in probably October. And I could go anywhere.

Whew, that was powerful to write.
Saying something can be easier, I find, than writing it down. The finality of those words written out, pressed into such neat letters (that no one could really write. Let's be honest- no one writes like this. No one in the world can freehand a perfect circle). Seeing them like this, I find myself pausing to contemplate the reality of my decision.

And I do not regret it. For those who are unfamiliar with Missionaries from the LDS Church (Latter-day Saints for short), this is for YOU.
For those contemplating serving missions, this is for YOU.
For those who want to follow along on a fun journey, this is for YOU.

Young people in the LDS Church (A Christian Organization. We'll get to that in two shakes) have an opportunity to serve missions when they reach adulthood. For men, it is considered a Priesthood responsibility to go as early as they are prepared (usually at 18 or 19). For women, it is optional and one may go if she likes (19 is when it becomes available.) It used to be 19 for men and 21 for women, but a recent revelation has come where the age has been lowered.
Curious? Hit this link and see for yourself:

That strapping gentleman is Thomas S. Monson, and I and other members of my church believe that he is a prophet of God. The God of the Old and New Testament has made it clear that Priesthood Authority is necessary  in order to speak and act in His name. ("No man taketh this honour unto himself, except he that is called of God, as was Aaron [Priest of the Old Testament] Hebrews 5:4) When the apostles were killed at the end of the New Testament, this authority ended and there was a time where a church acting in God's name and under His authority wasn't there. (This time is prophesied throughout the Bible). Then, when a time arose when the Church could arise and never be taken down, the Heavens were opened, and Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, appeared to a contemplative teenage boy in a place named New York.( Joseph Smith History 1:16-17. See another like it: 1 Samuel Chapter 3) This boy had questions about God, and was prepared from before the world was (such as Jeremiah of the Old Testament) to bring this Church back for good. When older, this simple man named Joseph Smith Jr. received the Priesthood from Peter, James, and John.(the Priesthood they received directly from Jesus) and received, through miraculous means, the Book of Mormon, another Testament of Jesus.  I testify that God does not change. He will not mute nor hush the way He speaks to man because they found the Americas or Atheism became popular, but will speak to them as He always has: through a Church combined with personalized answers through prayer.

I have not seen an angel, and I do not know anyone who says that they have. But I have prayed and received answers, either in a feeling, voice, or outside experience. They could be coincidences, but after enough coincidence build up (1.believe and trust, 2.pray 3.something happens), coincidences turn into a pattern, then a relationship.

Now for me.
I am going to serve as a missionary because I have seen and felt Light.
I did not want to originally go simply because of the age change (and everyone seemed to be going. I am a rebel like that). I wanted to know I was going because I was needed. I prayed and fasted for many months, and then I felt something. After hearing a Prophet of God speak, I felt everything crystallize. Like when you stare at a math problem or brain teaser, and everything suddenly becomes clear. Like that, but with everything.(it's kinda weird at first, everything shifting, but it is so cool) It made me so happy and at peace, and I felt that following this church would make me happy. I went to work later that day and, while checking a man and women out at the cash register, I realized they didn't have this feeling I did. Or, if they did, weren't quite sure what it meant. How could they not know? How could they not know a prophet of God had just said something so awesome?
That was when I knew.

Am I scared? Absolutely. Do I have faith? Incredibly. I prayed to my Heavenly Father and stated I would go tell people, and if I was not supposed to, that I should be stopped. And all those coincidences I talked about before (I like to call them answers) came as I prepped, and now I have my "papers" in.

I could go anywhere (except China, North Korea, and some parts of the Middle East, and maybe some other places. But yeah, anywhere else. One day those another places will be safe/stop kicking out religion). But (as I wring my hands and pace my floor to figure out where I will spend the next 18 months of my life) I realize it is not the were that matters, but the why.

That Light I was talking about 3 paragraphs ago. It comes when I  draw closer to Jesus Christ. I have never felt more free. Sure, I may not smoke, or drink, or "party"(although LDS dances are AMAZING), but I know that not doing those things will make me free. It is...indescribable to anyone who has not felt it. And chances are, whether you are LDS or not, you have felt it.
I believe people have, and that is why I am sending my papers in and praying I will go where I am needed.  So people will feel that Light more as they draw closer to Christ.

I am not perfect. I am nowhere as good as that Light feels. I am universes away from being as good as the Person where that Light comes from. But if God is letting me go, and needs me somewhere, I will put on my running shoes and sprint (not literally. I don't own running shoes. But yeah, you know what I mean.) I will put in my all.

That is why I am serving a mission.