I have been thinking a lot about Robert these past few weeks. He is really having a trying time right now on his mission. I remember telling him that every missionary has that one companion, sometimes more than one, that is a trial. One that you need to work at to love. I know that I had one....more than one in fact. And I know that the Lord is proud of him and what he is doing right now. I am sure that I feel for him what only a mother can feel. I love that boy and pray for him daily!
It has made me think a lot about the reasons that I went on a mission and how all of it came to be. What a ride it was to get to that point.
I had been dating this guy for a while, but a one point we stopped going out, and a few months later he ended up getting engaged to this other girl and then they got married. I remember at that point thinking...what am I doing with my life? I was working in my moms store and had done some college, but I just felt lost and without a path.
I began reading my patriarchal blessing and praying a lot to know what I needed to do with my life, short term and long term. As I was praying one day the thought came to my mind in a very clear voice saying "You need to go on a mission." I thought...uh, no thank you, not for me. That went on for a week or so....then I started asking questions like..."what, are you telling me I need to go on a mission?", and the answer was always the same...yes, you do need to go. After a while, several months actually, I just quit asking what to do, because I didn't like the answer I was getting. In August on 1987 I started praying again about what I should do, and the voice was so clear and there was no misunderstanding..."Judi, you need to serve a mission. Don't argue anymore...just do it!"...I was terrified of that answer, but knew where it had come from and what I needed to do.
That next week I spoke with my bishop, he gave me the papers to fill out (back then it was on paper, not online). I made my doctor appointments and with in about a month everything was done. I sent in my papers the end of September and received my call in October, while my parents were on a cruise. They were actually passing right by Catania Italy on the cruise ship as I told them that was where I had been called to. It really was amazing.
When I got into the MTC and we had our first meeting with our Branch President he asked us each to introduce ourselves and to tell why we were on a mission. I remember saying that I wasn't really sure why I was there, only that I knew it was where the Lord wanted me to be.
The MTC was hard for me. I had never been pushed so much or stretched so far. But I grew so much while I was there. And the spirit bore testimony more than once as to the truthfulness of the gospel. I felt so thankful for those 9 weeks in there. It prepared me for what I needed to do once I got to Italy.
The language was hard for me. I really struggled. But I did the best that I could, and the Lord blessed me! As time went by I became more confident in my abilities, also because I saw what the Lord was able to do. I was so thankful for the blessings that I received. Blessings that to this day have changed my life.
However, myself like many other missionaries, I had to find out why I was really there. What was my reasoning for serving a mission. It took a while for me to figure it out. But in the end I realized that I was there because I had/have a testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ and wanted to help other to feel the happiness and peace that I felt in my life. Once I got to that point, my mission had more meaning to me and I felt a great sense of urgency to bear my testimony and bring others to Christ.
It seems that Robert has found that vision. And it has become even clearer to him in the past few months. He wrote in his last letter, that he realized that what he is doing isn't "crazy", but that it brings families together and to Christ. I am so thankful that he has caught that vision. I have seen such a change in him this past year, but to read his words. I feel his spirit and I am so thankful for him, and for the example that he sets for me.
My prayer no is that his companion can feel that same way. He only has a few months left, and it seems that his light is slowly dimming...I hope that it can be rekindled and burn bright! I also hope that Robert will be patient with him, and love him and serve him.
I remember the missionary song that all kids in primary sing:
"I hope they call me on a mission when I have grown a foot or two"
I am thankful for my mission...and for Robert's mission!