Let’s get personal for a minute, guys.
Yesterday, I received a call from my brother Cooper who has been waiting for nearly a year for his discharge papers from the military. They had finally come. After literally, years of waiting, Cooper can finally turn in his mission papers. #itsahugedeal
Well today is his 22nd birthday. (Happy birthday, kid!)
In honor of that, I decided to post 22 things I wish I would have known before my mission. This one’s for you, Elder Buchanan.
- It’s true. All of it. Everything we believe is really, actually, 100 percent real. I knew the Church was true, and I had always known the Gospel of Jesus Christ was true, but somewhere in the disconnect of my mind and reality it had seemed like one big great idea. Far from it, guys. It’s real. This knowledge came in really helpful as a missionary.
- Mission calls are inspired. This is coming from the girl that prayed to God and told him he made a mistake after she got her call. False. God doesn’t make mistakes. He sends YOU to the place where YOU are needed. If you are feeling hesitant about your call, let’s be friends.
- D & C 100:5-6. Trust me.
- Be brave. All those times I didn’t talk to someone on the street because they looked busy or disinterested? Yeah, I wish I would have talked to them. All those times it seemed uncomfortable and I didn’t want to ruin my chances? Yeah, I should have contacted them. Talk to everyone.
- Serve your companion. Like, all the time.
- Don’t buy new scriptures. For the love of everything. Don’t buy new ones.
- Your stomach will stretch. I promise you, if you don’t think you can take another bite of food during your third dinner of the night, you absolutely can. Courage, brethren, and on, on to victory.
- You’ll forget. All those moments you think “I’ll never forget this experience, I don’t need to write it in my journal.” Write it down. You’ll forget.
- You’re normal. One thing I learned is that every missionary that has ever tracted the face of this earth had already felt what I was feeling. I wasn’t an anomaly because sometimes I wasn’t motivated after District Meetings on Tuesdays. I wasn’t crazy because I worried about being worthy enough to be an effective vessel of the spirit. Everything I was feeling was normal. And everything you will feel will be normal. Enjoy the ride.
- Equality. Everyone, and I mean everyone. Is a child of God. Never in your life will you have more reason to wonder, as you see some of the most bizzare or heartbreaking things, but trust me on this. We are all children of God. And he loves us dearly. Brace yourself to feel that love for the people you serve. Totally blindsided me. Totally.
- The end does come. I promise. The end of the transfer will ALWAYS come. Six weeks isn’t eternity. Yeah, it absolutely feels like it at times. But you can do it. It’s all about love.
- Introspection. If I ever had a problem with someone on my mission whether it was a companion, another missionary, a ward member or an investigator, it was me that had to do the changing. Every time.
- Prayers. You will pray as you never have before, and 97 percent of it will not be for yourself. It’s great.
- You’re going to gain weight. It’s fine. It magically comes off when you get home. Promise.
- Be obedient. In everything. Always. 100 percent.
- Lose yourself. I had always heard that sweet little story of “you have to lose yourself in order to find yourself.” Testimonial: it totally works, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised with what you find.
- Get over yourself. Maybe you were a big deal on the football field. Maybe you were the best writer on your newspaper staff. Maybe you were the most beautiful and popular girl at your school. Maybe you gave the funniest talks in sacrament meeting. Cool. But you’re a missionary now, and none of that stuff really matters. What does matter is that you are doing what you can to fulfill your purpose. Because guess what? It’s so not about you. And it’s FANTASTIC.
- Love everyone. I’m serious.
- Study, study, study, study. You have two hours each morning. Make them count, and miracles happen. For reals.
- Never ignore a prompting. I once had one to drive over 14 miles into what was essentially a field. Some of the greatest moments of my mission happened because of that. NEVER ignore a prompting.
- Lock your heart. Boys are dumb. Girls are dumb. Even when they are missionaries.
- You are enough. God has never, nor will he ever call a missonary to fail. He knows you, he knows your investigators, and YOU are enough to be His hands as you labor in His vineyard.
Congratulations to Elder Buchanan and the countless others who will soon be entering the mission field. You will change lives, including your own.