It has taken me a while in order to post this, simply because, when I GOT MY CALL, I was speechless.
My call arrived on July 5th (my cousin's birthday!!) and I came home from work skipping. (Literally- I skipped to my brother's car in the parking lot)
Everything felt so surreal and I was utterly giddy, and everything was moving so fast; I didn't know what to think.
And then I came into the house. Frantically, I searched for my call, until Michael told me it was in the family room. Then I saw it. And everything went still.
All this drama may seem a bit silly to people who have never received a mission call, but that envelope was ever so important.
In the LDS Church, we believe in a life before this one, where our Spirits lived with a loving Heavenly Father. We have come to this Earth to prove ourselves to walk by faith and to become like Him. I also believe that we have for-ordained "missions" we are supposed to accomplish- specific things that, if we follow the help God has given us, will make us change the world in the ways we were meant to and in ways we have never even dreamed. I also believe (I am frantically searching for a quote about it, but I CANNOT find it. Later post.) that I have been preparing for this my whole life and have not known it. That every Primary class I have gone to, every mumbled talk, every experience has helped build me into a person to teach certain Spirits and to remind them why they are here.
But WHERE are they?
I was guessing Wisconsin. Dead serious. And there is no irony in my voice.The people in Wisconsin need the Gospel just as much as the people in Germany, or Fiji, or South Africa.
(And, if I may interject, it really bugs me when people make jokes or value mission calls inside the United States less. A mission is not a tourist trip, or even a trip for that matter.
You don't go to tour.
You don't go to take pictures.
You don't even go to learn a language.
It is for you to meet people. Certain people that you need to meet. And whether those people happened to be born in Idaho or South Korea isn't any fault of theirs, and one people should not be valued any higher than the other.)
Rant over. I know people don't think that deeply about serving stateside, and I am not trying to lecture. It is just a mentality that has developed that I wish never had.
SO, I had this mentality while holding that unopened call. I was fine with Stateside. I was fine foreign. I just wanted to know!!!
I invited some people over to my house. I wanted to invite everyone who had been a positive influence on me as I struggled through life. And, in retrospect, I missed A LOT of people. A LOT. So, I am guilt tripping.
Sitting there in the chair, when everyone I remembered to invite was there, surrealism set in, and my heart was going crazy. I turned to my friends Hillary and Stacey, and I mouthed, "I'm not ready." (I still don't entirely understand the meaning of this phrase- I was physically and emotionally ready, and spiritually worthy,. I guess, if I could put it into words, I still didn't feel...like the really cool missionary I felt I would be when I opened my call. I was a little insecure.)
Which is why the next thing came as a shock.
I apparently, "Destroyed the envelope" (thanks Mom) and ripped the paper out. contrary to popular belief, I did not skip ahead. I covered the lines with the mostly-intact envelope and slowly went down. So the video recorded of me are my word by word reactions.
I thought I read the first line super slow. It felt like it. I apparently did not, and I apologize to everyone on the Internet. I was wrong (see my last post if confused.)
"Dear SisterMolen, you are herebycalledtoserveas aMissionaryfortheChurchofJesueChristofLaterdaySaints. You are assigned to labor in-"
"The Japan, Tokyo South Mission."
Once a guy asked, "When a missionary opens their call, does it feel perfect on the get-go?"
And I can confidently answer, "I don't know."
My boss asked if I was angry or upset that I was sent to Japan after watching the video. And I most certainly was not. I just- did not expect it.
The only word to describe it was overwhelmed.
The Lord has a lot of trust in little ol' me to
1.Learn a language
2.Learn a culture and
3.Learn how to use chopsticks (a distinct task separate from #2)
I did not have that much trust in myself when I opened the call, I felt insecure and absolutley scared.
I did not believe I can do this. I still do not.
But the Lord does.
Heavenly Father trusts me enough to be able to do all of this, otherwise I would not have received this Divinely Appointed call. Because of this, I know the Lord wants me there and He can make me into a person who can handle all of this.
That is why all those negative words a paragraph above have turned into "humbled."
And keep in mind, my purpose is to meet certain people and be an avenue for them to feel the Spirit. It's neither of our faults that we don't speak the same language.
That is a lie. I had an opportunity to take Japanese in High School, and I took French instead because I thought it would be more "useful".
I need a time machine.
It said in the packet accompanying my call that, if I am tall, I should buy all my clothes before I come over.
I now measure at 5'9''.
I hate being the shortest in my house, so I hope I keep on growing.
I also need a Japanese rainsuit. That is basically a windbreaker. That covers your whole body. Okay...
I am learning Japanese now, and try to rely on God on every opportunity. Because, I suppose the Negative Nellie in me was right: I cannot do all of this.
I cannot do it alone. I testify that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is true. And that the leaders in it are worthy men Jesus Christ has called to be avenues for His work through the Holy Ghost. And that, because I am called from these men, and in proxy from Jesus Christ, that I am meant to be in Japan.
And God does not ask His children to do something and then fling them into it. He didn't tell Nephi in the Book of Mormon to build a boat, and then followed it up with, "Okay, well...good luck! I will see you in the Promised Land." (see 1 Nephi 17: https://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/1-ne/17?lang=eng )
God also didn't build the boat for Nephi. I think about that a lot. If the boat was built for Nephi, or someone "happened" to leave one there, or an airplane was waiting, what would Nephi have learned.
Better question: What would he have become?
I respect Nephi a lot.
Luke 1:37- "For with God, all things are possible."
I am meant to be there. And with God, through Him, and By Him, I will become a person who can do this.
That is why "Japan?" after a very bewildered night, has turned into "Japan!"
All my photos were done by Andrew Boyack (coolest Senior
Seminary teacher ever!) in Fountain Valley.