Three and a half months ago I was called to serve in the Montreal Canada Mission. I was called to report September 30th to the Provo MTC. For the past months this date has been ingrained into my mental calendar. I have planned everything with this date as my boundary. Pre-MTC and post-MTC. But this morning I was greeted by a call from the Stake President that changed that expectation. Apparently I scored well enough on my French language placement test and the MTC wants me to go on the fast track. I was given two options. Leave on September 9th or leave at the end of October. This would allow for me to arrive at my mission with a group of incoming missionaries rather than alone. Three weeks early or three weeks late. One and a half weeks from now or seven and a half weeks.
What a decision to have thrown at you before it's even 9 a.m. I was faced with the decision: do I wait around another two months, or do I put away everything I've been planning for this coming month and just leave? I've had this mentality of counting down, of planning my final weeks and weekends wisely so as to spend lots of time with family and friends. But at the same time I've been dying to get out the door and go to work. September 30th has seemed so far away. When the opportunity is handed to me to leave sooner, why shouldn't I take it up and begin my service?
It was quite a battle in my mind. I honestly did not know what to do. The idea of leaving in just 11 days feels terrifying. But it almost felt worse to imagine waiting nearly two months. There were pros and cons to either choice. My younger siblings begged me to wait until October. I knew I should choose what felt best. Honestly both choices seemed a bit scary. Keep waiting or throw myself into things? I felt so overwhelmed as I contemplated this decision. I prayed. I read scriptures. Finally I decided we should call our bishop and just see if tomorrow was even a possibility for my farewell. I was really leaning towards the September date. But I also didn't want to disrupt family plans so I could eave sooner, or stress my family out. Bishop said he'd let me do my farewell even if I told him the morning of. We continued to talk. The more we talked about this September departure date, the better it felt. I did feel apprehension about leaving so soon, but an even greater feeling of eagerness to get to work as a missionary. It felt right. So I told my bishop to schedule me in. I told him to plan for my farewell to be tomorrow. I told my stake President to plan for my departure date to be the 9th of September.
Four and a half weeks went to one and a half weeks in just a few short hours. Now here I am. Eleven days away from being a missionary. It's honestly kind of unsettling. I'm not sure what to think of it. There's been no gradual buildup of nerves or emotion. Instead they've just been dumped on me in one day. There have been tears as I've told family of my decision. Bitter remarks from Nakita that I'm leaving her. It's actually pretty painful. Like ripping off a band aid before you could even realize it was there. Suddenly I feel the nervousness and worry of leaving, the craze of preparing in just a week, and the need to spend every moment with my loved ones. It's a strange feeling to go from so relaxed, to feel like I have so much time to suddenly feeling like I have so much to do.
It's been just a few hours since I made my choice. Now that I'm suddenly so close to leaving, I can feel Satan trying harder than ever to keep me back. Friends have talked about the push you feel not to leave when the time gets closer. I haven't really understood until now. But now that I've made the decision to go I can feel him trying to hold me back. It's hard to make such a hard decision without doubting what you decide. I can feel those thoughts trying to creep in. Can you really do this? Are you really strong enough? Can you really leave your family? Maybe you should wait a while longer. But I know the feeling I felt when I made the decision. As soon as I said that this is what I want to do, I felt so light. I felt so happy. I felt ready. Whatever Satan throws my way in the coming week, I do believe this is the decision I was inspired to make. For whatever reason. I have been called to serve as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I am so eager to be a missionary. I just can't put that off :)
So here's to a week of crazy intense mission preparation. A week of tears, hugs, and laughter I'm sure. I just have to remember that this is what I have been called to do. This is what the Lord expects of me. This is my call, and I'm going to fulfill it to the best of my ability. :)