I found this questionnaire on another blog I was reading. It was interesting to read her responses so I wanted to give it a go:
Did the age change affect you? If yes, how long did it take you to decide to go?
So I was going to school at BYU-Idaho when the missionary age change happened. All of my friends and roommates decided to go to Salt Lake City to watch General Conference. I was going to go, but I felt like school was taking over my life, so instead I decided to stay home to study, and watch conference on TV. A few girls in my ward didn't want anyone to be alone during conference so they invited me over to watch it with them, which was very sweet. When President Monson made the mission age change announcement, it literally changed my life and all of my plans. As soon as the announcement was made I gasped and burst into tears, and couldnt stop crying. There I was, a blubbering mess, in the middle of a room full of girls I didn't even know, probably all thinking, what is her problem? Immediately my phone started buzzing nonstop from the text messages and Facebook messages that filled my inbox. so many people were congratulating me and telling me I was the first person they thought about who would be effected by the age change. This was something I had been looking forward to my whole life, everyone knew I wanted to serve a mission. Paying attention to general conference that day was next to impossible. I was 19 turning 20 the next month, so the age change really only nocked a year of waiting off for me, but still, I didn't even have to wait to turn 20, I could start my mission papers asap, NO MORE WAITING. I honestly couldn't believe it. It was such a blessing and an answer to prayer. The week before I told Heavenly Father in prayer that I was feeling like the chance for me to serve a mission seemed so far away. Friends were getting married, having babies, and I felt like I was in limbo just waiting to serve a mission before I could get on with my life. I was feeling the desire to be married, and wondered if I would ever make it on a mission. After I prayed I instantly felt peace. it was a feeling of don't worry Malia, just keep on going, everything will work out how it is supposed to. It was like my pre-answer to the mission age change. It was comfort that I would get an answer.
As far as how long it took me to decide to go, I decided immediately, but then as I realized how many girls were jumping on the band wagon with this missionary thing, I felt like maybe I was doing the same, and maybe I wasn't prepared. I also knew that If I were to serve a mission right away it would change my plans for then next year. I was planning on having 2 years of school under my belt before I went, and this announcement nocked off a whole year. So I decided to fast about it. I fasted to know whether I should stick with my original plan which was to wait until I was 21, or to get started on my mission papers right away. I got my answer, I needed to get going on a mission.
Did you always want to serve a mission? Why/why not?
YES, since I was 8 years old. I remember sitting on the couch in the foyer of our chapel after I got baptized, feeling so happy and warm. Even though I really didn't know the full gravity of what it meant to be baptized, I knew what I was feeling inside, and I wanted everyone to have that feeling too. I wanted to share it with everyone. I knew that day that I was going to serve a mission. I don't know how long it took me to tell my parents, but honestly almost my whole life I knew that serving a mission was part of the Lords great plan for me here on earth. Most people told me that I would probably be married by 19, but I have happily proven them all wrong.
Where did you want to be called? Why?
For years, I wanted to serve spanish speaking. I wanted to learn spanish SO bad. I have tons of family member who speak spanish and who have lived in Mexico. For a long time I was focused on serving a mission for the aspect of learning a new language. Then things began to change. As time got closer to being old enough I realized that anywhere in the world would be amazing, including North America. Then once I got my papers in, I decided I knew exactly where I was going. I DID NOT want to serve an asian mission. The idea of having to learn an Asian language scared me to death. So I concluded that it was exactly where the Lord was going to send me. Somewhere in Asia. But because I became so convinced it allowed me to fully accept that possibility too, and I even became excited for it. I knew that no matter what It would be the right thing, and I knew I would love it more than anything. I even imagined myself serving the people and coming to absolutely love them. I wasn't afraid anymore. But, as I really thought about it, and prayed about it, I realized that the true desire of my heart was to serve in English, and if there be any possibility at all, to serve the Native American people, or Aboriginal people of North America. I realized that I didn't want to have to fumble with learning a new language, I just wanted to get right to work, I felt like a language would just be a barrier between me and the message I would be trying to share, so deep down inside I really just wanted to serve English.
Being a quarter Aboriginal, and my dad being half I feel such a love for Native American people. I love teaching them, and I feel like the Book of Mormon is so specific to them. I love them so much, and feel so connected to them, and couldn't think of anything greater than to teach them the Gospel. Well I'm not sure how it will all work out, but turns out I am going English speaking (YAY) and that California has the most tribal nations in it than all of the United States. Not sure how accurate that is, and if I will even get a chance to teach any Aboriginals, but I thought that was pretty neat. I am so glad that the Lord took my heart into consideration.
Was your call surprising? How do you feel about it?
Nope, it was perfect. Everything about it was perfect. The place, the language, the date, everything. I felt so at peace about it all. It couldn't have felt more right.
Share an interesting missionary experience or story.
There are so many, and I don't feel like going into specifics, but let me just say, missionary work brings so much happiness. There is nothing greater than bringing souls unto Christ.
Why are you serving?
I am serving because I love the Lord so much. Jesus Christ is everything to me. He is my source of hope, peace, love, joy, forgiveness, healing, salvation, and eternal life. I would be so lost without Him. I love Him with all of my heart, and want to serve him. Christ said "if ye love me, feed my sheep" and that is exactly what I want to do. I love Him, so I will serve His people. I Love Him because He loves me. He made made the impossible of returning back to my Father in Heaven possible. He is my Savior, my comforter, and friend. That is why I am serving a mission, because I want to share with people my greatest source of happiness, and help others to find it for themselves too.
Any advice for future sisters or girls still deciding?
Ask yourself why you really want to go. What are your reasons? What are your intentions? Go because you want to to serve people. Go because you love them. Go because you love the Lord. Serving a mission should not be about receiving glory for yourself, but rather the glory of the gospel. Though there are great lessons to be learned, memories to be made, and challenges to be met, don't go on a mission because you want all of those things for yourself, go because the gospel brings you so much joy you can't bear to keep it from anyone. Include the Lord in your decision making. Get a confirmation from the Lord through sincere prayer, Fast about it if you need to. You will get an answer, and when you do, no matter what it is, have the courage to follow through with it. If you feel like maybe the Lord has other pans for you, realize that it takes just as much courage to NOT go. Follow the Lord's will for you and have faith in what ever that may be. If your answer is to go, then GO. The Lord NEEDS more missionaries. Don't be afraid, the Lord qualifies who he calls. The only regret you will ever have is NOT going if opportunity permits. It will bless your life, and countless others. If you are sincere in your desire, the Lord will pave a path and make it possible for you to go no matter your circumstance, just have faith.
Any other thoughts?
The church is true, the book is blue.