Friday, May 17, 2013

Called to Serve

Being called to serve requires a lot of waiting. Waiting for the mail person. Waiting for your roommate to get home from work so you can drive home. Waiting for family and friends to get there so you can open it. And finally waiting for it to sink in.

Dear Sister Brown,
You are hereby called to serve as a missionary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. You are assigned to labor in the Philippines San Pablo Mission. It is anticipated that you will serve for a period of 18 months. You should report to the Provo Missionary Training Center on Wednesday, July 3, 2013. You will prepare to preach the gospel in the Tagalog language. Your assignment may be modified according to the needs of the mission president.

I was in shock. Let me tell you how it happened. I put the letter behind the booklet and other papers so I couldn't see where I was going to go. But then the paper on top was an application for a U.S. passport. What? I was sure I was going stateside! Then I started reading. After the first line I pulled it up just a little too far and saw San Pablo. It must be Spanish-speaking. Then I saw July 3rd. I changed my availability date from August 1st to July 1st because everyone was getting calls that were a month or 2 after their availability dates. I didn't actually think I'd leave that soon! Then my eyes, which clearly weren't reading this thing in order, went back to the Philippines. Whoa, really? The Philippines? Then I saw tagalog. Um, what? That's definitely not Spanish. This was all happening in a matter of seconds and somehow I managed to actually read it out loud and in order while my eyes and my mind were darting all over the page. There were audible manifestations of surprise and of course, cheers. But then there was this moment where I just stood there. Did that really just happen? Is this real life? The Philippines? Tagalog? And everyone else just sat there too. They were probably thinking the same thing. Finally my mom came and gave me a hug and life continued. We had brownies and ice cream and everyone started googling San Pablo.

Here are the first things I was told prior to opening my call:
"You're going to have to eat a balut (boiled fertilized duck embryo)."
"Mr. Dick went there. He got shot."
"You're probably going to get a parasite."
"The flight there is terrible!"

Comforting, right? And then there were the thoughts that went through my mind throughout the night:

"I don't even know where the Philippines are."
"How do you even say Tagalog?" 
"I've never even been on an airplane! I can't fly half way around the world!"
"Heavenly Father, are you sure you didn't mean to send me somewhere in the states?"
"So... I'm terrified."
"July 3rd is in 2 months. 2 MONTHS!! How am I possibly going to get everything done?"
"I hope there are monkeys there."
"What was I thinking?"
"Do I really have to eat a baby duck?"
"Breathe. It's going to be alright."

These thoughts continued for a couple of days but always I was comforted by the more important thoughts that were always there: "Heavenly Father called you to the Philippines for a reason. He needs you there and He is going to help you. This is right." I am so excited for the adventure that awaits me! I might be a little nervous, I may never have flown on an airplane, and I may know nothing about Tagalog, but I find comfort in the fact that this is a part of a plan that is much bigger than me and in the fact that my Savior is going to be by my side every step of the way. I am so thankful for the opportunity I have to serve our brothers and sisters in the Philippines and to teach them about the gospel of Jesus Christ. I can't wait to get out there and serve the Lord and the wonderful people of the Philippines!

Mahal Kita <3

1 comment:

  1. Hi, Shalee! I'm going to the Philippines San Pablo mission and I enter the MTC July 3rd too!