Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The moment we've all been waiting for...

This morning at about 11am I went to check the mail and found a big, white envelope addressed to Sister Amie Brillaine Morey... MY MISSION CALL! I could hardly believe I was holding it in my hands! But with surprising calm I walked back to my apartment and put it on my bed to wait till I could open it later with my family and friends. My roommates thought I was crazy to be able to handle the temptation to open it right then and there! Honestly, it wasn't that hard. I've waited for years... I could wait for a few more hours. :)

I waited patiently the rest of the day until I got out of class at 6:30 and made the fateful walk home. Soon I would be opening my call. As I walked slowly I said a silent prayer pleading with Heavenly Father that I would be satisfied with wherever I was called and that I would know that that was where He needed me. In that moment I felt so vulnerable--my future for the next 18 months would be governed by whatever was in that letter--but at the same time I felt so much peace and calm. I was completely in the Lord's hands. After all I've been through to get to this point I knew He wouldn't blow it now. I felt a quiet reassurance that I would not be disappointed.

When I got home I found out that my roommate, Janey, had picked up some finger food and treats to celebrate the monumental occasion. It made me so happy that my roommates were just excited as I was and wanted to make it a special occasion. We had fun making cookies, preparing the food and cleaning the apartment in preparation for all the guests to arrive.

At about 7:45 people started to show up and my excitement quickly escalated. Once everyone had arrived I made assignments for people to call other family and friends who couldn't be there but wanted to hear it live. I have to admit, it was pretty funny to see so many cell phones everywhere (there were 9 people on the phone!). It was amazing to think that people all over the globe were anticipating this moment and wanted to participate, even if it was just over the phone. I couldn't help but feel so loved as many of the people I love most were gathered both in my apartment and elsewhere, just to be there for this important event.

Finally, it was time to open my mission call... the moment I had been working towards and anticipating for so many years. My mom captured the moment perfectly in this movie...

TAIWAN TAICHUNG MISSION speaking MANDARIN!!! I can't even describe all the thoughts and feelings that were rushing through my head! But in the midst of all the excitement and commotion, I felt a distinct and overwhelming feeling that Heavenly Father knows and loves me perfectly. My mission call was indeed a manifestation of that, just as I believed it would be.

As I grew up in Asia, I grew to love the Chinese people. That love instilled in me a desire to learn Mandarin so I could one day teach the Gospel to them in their own language. The Gospel has brought such incredible happiness into my life, I just wanted to share it so badly with the people I love so much! Heavenly Father knew that, and has blessed me with the opportunity to have that desire and dream fulfilled. Now I can see He has been preparing and guiding me all along. I know it wasn't chance that my childhood was spent moving all over Asia (mostly to Chinese countries). I know it was divine intervention at times when I had impressions to continue learning Mandarin, even when it made no sense in my schooling and I wanted to give up because it was so difficult. I know the quiet whispers to my heart that I would someday be able to share my testimony with and serve the Chinese people weren't just my own thoughts and wishes. When I read my mission call, all the pieces of the puzzle started to fit together so perfectly and everything felt so right. It was almost as if I had known it all along.

I am so humbled by this call to serve as a missionary. I cannot express the gratitude I have for the blessings I've received through the Gospel and for the chance I now have to share that with others over the next 18 months, and the throughout the rest of my life. I will serve with all my heart, might, mind and strength and teach my brothers and sisters the happiness that comes from living the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

"The Divine Call of a Missionary"

Today my Bishop notified me that my call has been issued and will be arriving this week!! Even though I knew it was coming soon, when I found out that it really would be here this week an extreme feeling of excitement and anticipation washed over me. I could hardly contain myself during the rest of Sunday School as I thought about the reality of it all. I've been working and waiting for this moment for so long and now it's finally happening, for REAL!

As you can imagine, I've been thinking a lot lately about where I could be going to serve the Lord for the next 18 months. It's kind of unnerving to think that I could be going anywhere in the entire world, that I have no control, and that my assignment is decided by someone who doesn't even know me or my situation. At least it's easy to think of it that way. But as I've been reflecting on the divine nature of a missionary call I've found a lot of peace in knowing that each missionary call is in fact inspired of the Lord. Wherever a particular missionary is sent is where the Lord needs them the most and where they will be able to touch the most people through their personality, talents, and spiritual gifts. It's humbling to think that the Lord makes these calls so personal and has a special need for each individual.

Last week as I was looking for a talk to read from the most recent General Conference, the talk entitled "The Divine Call of a Missionary" by Elder Rasband caught my attention. In the talk he relates an experience he had in watching an Apostle of the Lord make these divine assignments:

"I joined Elder Eyring early one morning in a room where several large computer screens had been prepared for the session. There was also a staff member from the Missionary Department who had been assigned to assist us that day.

"First, we knelt together in prayer. I remember Elder Eyring using very sincere words, asking the Lord to bless him to know “perfectly” where the missionaries should be assigned. The word “perfectly” said much about the faith that Elder Eyring exhibited that day.

"As the process began, a picture of the missionary to be assigned would come up on one of the computer screens. As each picture appeared, to me it was as if the missionary were in the room with us. Elder Eyring would then greet the missionary with his kind and endearing voice: 'Good morning, Elder Reier or Sister Yang. How are you today?'

"He told me that in his own mind he liked to think of where the missionaries would conclude their mission. This would aid him to know where they were to be assigned. Elder Eyring would then study the comments from the bishops and stake presidents, medical notes, and other issues relating to each missionary.

"He then referred to another screen which displayed areas and missions across the world. Finally, as he was prompted by the Spirit, he would assign the missionary to his or her field of labor.

"From others of the Twelve, I have learned that this general method is typical each week as Apostles of the Lord assign scores of missionaries to serve throughout the world. ...

"After assigning a few missionaries, Elder Eyring turned to me as he pondered one particular missionary and said, 'So, Brother Rasband, where do you think this missionary should go?' I was startled! I quietly suggested to Elder Eyring that I did not know and that I did not know I could know! He looked at me directly and simply said, 'Brother Rasband, pay closer attention and you too can know!' With that, I pulled my chair a little closer to Elder Eyring and the computer screen, and I did pay much closer attention!

"A couple of other times as the process moved along, Elder Eyring would turn to me and say, 'Well, Brother Rasband, where do you feel this missionary should go?' I would name a particular mission, and Elder Eyring would look at me thoughtfully and say, 'No, that’s not it!' He would then continue to assign the missionaries where he had felt prompted.

"As we were nearing the completion of that assignment meeting, a picture of a certain missionary appeared on the screen. I had the strongest prompting, the strongest of the morning, that the missionary we had before us was to be assigned to Japan. I did not know that Elder Eyring was going to ask me on this one, but amazingly he did. I rather tentatively and humbly said to him, 'Japan?' Elder Eyring responded immediately, 'Yes, let’s go there.' And up on the computer screen the missions of Japan appeared. I instantly knew that the missionary was to go to the Japan Sapporo Mission.

"Elder Eyring did not ask me the exact name of the mission, but he did assign that missionary to the Japan Sapporo Mission.

"Privately in my heart I was deeply touched and sincerely grateful to the Lord for allowing me to experience the prompting to know where that missionary should go.

"At the end of the meeting Elder Eyring bore his witness to me of the love of the Savior, which He has for each missionary assigned to go out into the world and preach the restored gospel. He said that it is by the great love of the Savior that His servants know where these wonderful young men and women, senior missionaries, and senior couple missionaries are to serve. I had a further witness that morning that every missionary called in this Church, and assigned or reassigned to a particular mission, is called by revelation from the Lord God Almighty through one of these, His servants."

That story was so powerful to me and I was filled with a spirit of peace and comfort in knowing that my missionary call will not be some random act of chance. In fact, I believe that where I get called to serve my mission will be a manifestation of just how well the Lord knows me and the desires of my heart. I know that wherever He sends me is where He needs my testimony, talents, and abilities to reach certain individuals. No matter where I'm called, I will give my all and love the people I will be privileged to serve.

I encourage you to read Elder Rasband's talk. I promise that as you read this talk you, too, will be able to feel of the truly divine nature of missionary calls. I know the Lord is the one who makes these calls because of the love he has for his children, both the missionary and those they are called to teach. I am so excited to find out where I will be serving the Lord and His children for the next 18 months!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Gospel in My Life

Welcome to The Life of a Sister Missionary! I am SO excited to share this important time of my life with you as I prepare to serve a full-time mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. My purpose in creating this blog is to let you in on what it's like to be a missionary, but even more than that, to share what it's like to simply live the Gospel every day.

My life has been impacted in so many ways by living the Gospel that it's hard to imagine life without it. It's given me so much comfort, peace, strength, direction, and joy in a world where things can be so stressful, confusing, misleading, dark, and depressing. I've leared how to escape all these things by relying on the Savior, Jesus Christ, and by living the way He has instructed. I've found that the closer and closer I live the teachings of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the happier, more productive, and more meaningful life becomes. That doesn't mean it's always easy, but it's definitely worth it because the blessings far outweigh the sacrifices. THAT is the reason why I want to serve a mission--to help others feel the joy, peace, and happiness that comes from living the Gospel, and to help them feel the Savior's lifting, loving arms around them.

I've had more experiences than I can count that have taught me that the Savior is watching out for me, that He's always there and is eager to help. I hope that in relating my every-day experiences, you will be able to recognize the Lord's hand in your life, too, because He's there--if you look for Him. Welcome to my life, the life of an ordinary 20-year-old girl simply trying to be a disciple of Christ.