Sunday, March 20, 2011

Called to Serve

I've been wanting to serve a mission for as far back as I can remember.

 In the LDS church, girls can submit papers (an application) when they turn 21. When I was 20 I started filling out my application so that I could leave as soon as I turned 21; but because of health reasons, I was told I shouldn't apply.  It was hard to be told that a dream of mine wouldn't become a reality because of issues beyond my control.  I was pretty upset.  Three years later in December of 2009 (I was 23), I decided to try and apply again. It took me a year to get the approval I needed (most take about three or four weeks), but I finally got it!
My family knew I was in the long process of seeing doctor after doctor and talking with my bishop and other church leaders but I didn't tell them when I finally got the approval. I wanted my mission call to be a surprise.  Instead of getting my call sent to my home address I got it sent to my best friend, Michael's address.
Here we are the day Michael got home from his mission sharing an awkward handshake

I submitted my full, final and approved application on November 30th. Then I waited three grueling weeks.  I avoided my parents questions of my approval status by saying, "I'm hoping I can get my call soon, but I don't know when." They were getting very antsy and frustrated for me.  Near the end they were wanting to make calls themselves to see if they could pull any strings to speed up the process.  But I held them at bay not wanting them to make a call and then find out that I actually had been approved.
FINALLY, on December 23rd, the big white envelope appeared in Michael's mailbox. I took it and drove to my church parking lot and opened it all by myself.  Then I called Michael and asked if he wanted to help me get the surprise ready for my family. He and his family all pitched in and within a couple hours I had was ready to give my family their "Christmas Presents that we have to open tonight because (you'll) want them before Christmas Eve". (That was the lame excuse I made up and told my family.)
Later that night, my family gathered around as I handed a present to every family member.  Each present had a number on it and I told them that they had to open the presents in numerical order.  The first present had the word "Sister".  The second had "Nelson". The third said "has"; and the fourth said "been".  Once the fifth was opened and the word "called" was read aloud, everyone had caught on and was scrambling to get their presents opened.
By the end the presents said, "Sister Nelson has been called to serve in the English Speaking Kentucky Louisville Mission leaving March 23rd."
That white thing I'm holding is my call

Also by the end, we were all screaming and crying.
It was a very, very special night.
They're all wearing tags that say "Future Missionary"

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