We went to our homeward and I cornered the Bishop that day. It was a month away from when we could start paperwork.
And the rest is history! What happened was... After I became a counselor at EFY, and worked all summer, I continued to feel good about it. When I got home and actually started my papers, things got a little crazier. One day it was yes, one day it was no, one day it was really no… but I kept going. I now really feel like this base-line of knowledge deep down knew that this was an incredible thing and that I wanted to go, and that the Lord deeply approved. But my emotions were like a ROLLER-COASTER. Luckily, I was carried through and my papers were finished… and then they were in. I was waiting for a mission call.
Waiting was crazy. That Wednesday it came, my mom texted me at school and asked if she could Google how to steam open the envelope she’d just gotten from the mailbox… needless to say, I was home pretty fast.
The family gathered at 6 pm. We sand one of my favorite songs, “Come Thou Fount.” I couldn’t even make it through the first verse without crying, it was so emotional. (The little girls whispered “Jeni’s crying!”) Twelve phones surrounded me with someone wonderful on the end of every line (I love you guys!) I bore a testimony about my Savior. I knew (and know!) that I never could have gotten to that day without Him, and my Heavenly Father’s love. I felt the strengthening and enabling power of the Atonement, and the cleansing power, so much in those months. I know that I was not alone.
Before I tell you where, I will tell you how mission calls work. Calls to missionaries are extended from the Lord through the apostles. You send in your information (common lingo is filling out “papers”), and then it will pop up on the day they are assigning calls. (This includes medical, logistics, personal etc; it is so cool that they take that minute to look over your information. This is awesome because revelation often nudges when we know where to look! There aren’t requests or places to put things like, “I really just want to go to Tahiti.” Missionaries go where they are called and this exhibits a lot of faith! It’s such a cool process.) So they have your picture, information, and inspiration. Then they assign the call to that specific person. It’s very personal and, we feel, led by the Lord. President Thomas S. Monson signs every call.
I opened that call and skimmed before I announced, and then I read it and gasped. Which made everyone else gasp. I started at the beginning. “Dear Sister Anderson: You are hereby called to serve as a missionary for TheChurch of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints…”
I thought that the language would immediately follow it, but it didn’t… it was further down. In the interim I said: “I guess I’m speaking Japanese??” My brother thought this was really funny.
This was not what I expected. I had preconceived notions and this was not it. But this also is where I am supposed to go, and the Lord has confirmed it to me with tender mercies almost every day since–and that is true. I am overwhelmed at my blessings. I cannot say enough of the Lord’s love, tender care, or individual ministration. I know that He is preparing people in Japan for the beauty of the Gospel, and I feel so privileged to have the chance to serve them! (A tender mercy from five years earlier is that… I have been to my mission! My brother lived there for a year, and I got to visit him. I loved Japan. I think I might have viewed the whole trip a little differently if I’d known what was coming in six years…)
The time when, as a missionary, you actually get that call is different from anything I’ve felt before. Life has a direct purpose. Those two words telling you where you will spend some of the most incredible months of your life will change your life forever. The feeling is immense and so different after you have the call. It’s almost like finding someone you want to spend the rest of your life with in the sense that you feel like he or she could be anywhere, and then all of a sudden–Bam. Things change. The field narrows and you have one path to walk on. That is like a mission call.
I cannot express to anyone serving how even the preparation has changed my life. I have learned so much about the Gospel, about Heavenly Father, and about myself. If anyone is reading this thinking of going on a mission, I would seriously consider putting some time in to ponder those thoughts. I know for me, this has been incredible. If it is weighing on you, perhaps it is worth thinking of. “Be strong and of good courage” (Josh. 1:9), even if it gets hard or you face some doubts. It’s part of life. Follow the Spirit’s counsel and you will not be led astray. Things will not be perfect, but you will truly be led to say: “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” (Phil. 4:13) Ladies, if you are thinking–think seriously. Men, don’t think twice. Go. It is such a privilege to be involved in this great work.
I love the Gospel of Jesus Christ! I cannot express in forty of these posts a semblance of what it means to me, for it is the sum of who I am and who I want to become. I loveJesus Christ, I know that through Him I have been cleansed, led, and sanctified. I love Heavenly Father, and I am so incredibly aware of His love and His awareness of us. Anyone reading this post, know that Heavenly Father loves you. My mission call taught me that.