It is common knowledge among my acquaintances that I have served a full-time mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (aka the Mormons). What is not commonly known is why. Many assume that I was one of those girls who had planned on serving for as long as they could remember. That is not the case.

Mormon Missionaries BlackThe truth is, that where I honored and respected missionaries and the sacrifice they each make to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with our brothers and sisters throughout the world (who are just waiting to find it), I never thought to be one of them. At least I never thought to do so in my youth. I thought that if I ever did serve it would be someday far into my future with my husband after we had retired. Yes, I had my future all planned out.

However, God’s plans for my future were a bit different. I wouldn’t start to understand this until April Conference 2004. I had turned 21 (the requisite age for a young woman to serve a mission) the previous November. I was currently working to earn enough money to go back to school, though I was considering other options for the coming future.

I had prayed about all my many options every day, seeking direction. I felt as if there was something I needed to do, but I just didn’t know what. And so was the state of my life, when General Conference rolled around.

All of Saturday I listened and prayed for God to reveal to me His will. It wasn’t until Sunday morning that I received my answer. (I remember it as if it was yesterday) I shut myself in my bedroom and turned on the radio to listen to General Conference. I felt a need to be alone. It was Elder Dennis E. Simmons of the Quorum of the Seventy’s talk, entitled But if Not, that opened the door to the answer I sought.

“Faith is not bravado, not just a wish, not just a hope. True faith is faith in the Lord Jesus Christ—confidence and trust in Jesus Christ that leads a person to follow Him… Our scriptures and our history are replete with accounts of God’s great men and women who believed that He would deliver them, but if not, they demonstrated that they would trust and be true.

He has the power, but it’s our test.

What does the Lord expect of us with respect to our challenges? He expects us to do all we can do. He does the rest. Nephi said, “For we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.

We must have the same faith as Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego.

Our God will deliver us from ridicule and persecution, but if not. . . . Our God will deliver us from sickness and disease, but if not . . . . He will deliver us from loneliness, depression, or fear, but if not. . . . Our God will deliver us from threats, accusations, and insecurity, but if not. . . . He will deliver us from death or impairment of loved ones, but if not, . . . we will trust in the Lord.” But if Not, Elder Dennis E. Simmons, April 2004 General Conference.

As I heard these words, I knew that God had been trying to answer me for a long time, but that in my fear of what He was asking of me, I had blocked out the answer. My Faith was weak. Truly humbled, I knelt down and offered a most sincere prayer to the Lord. In the past, I had included a mission as an option for my future, but only because I was 21 and not married, not because I wanted, or was even willing to go. This time as I prayed I told the Lord that if He would reveal to me His will I would follow it, even it that meant serving a mission, no matter my fears. I would trust in Him.

Before my prayer was ended, I knew with every part of my soul, that my answer was to serve a mission. I knew that I had promised before I came to Earth that I would do so, that I had a work to do. I still had fear’s based on feelings of inadequacy that I wouldn’t be able to do a good job. However, my trust (Faith) in the Lord finally outweighed my personal fears.

It was just moments after coming to this realization that there was a knock on my door. My father came in, and the first thing out of his mouth was asking me if I had seriously considered serving a mission. I told him yes, and then shared what had just occurred. It was then that he told me that months ago in his concern for me he had prayed and received the impression that I was supposed to serve a mission. He hadn’t told me of this revelation for it was my choice. As he spoke, I felt a confirmation that it was right. I had my answer.

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