To many my mission call was a surprise. What they don’t know is that my decision to turn my mission papers was a surprise to me also. Here is my story.
A little background on LDS missions. The decision to serve as a full-time missionary is recommended for all worthy young men, and is optional for young women. Recently the prophet, President Thomas S. Monson was inspired to change the ages when young adults could serve missions: Boys’ age change from 19 to 18 y.o, and Girls’ age change from 21 to 19 y.o. Young men serve for 2 years, and young women serve for 18 months.
When I was about to turn 21 y.o (before they lowered the age requirement) I did not really have the desire to serve. However, due to some of my closest friends putting their papers in, I rethought my decision. I was in the middle of BYU’s Nursing Program, but I had a slight kindling of a desire to serve. I prayed about it, and felt neutral about the decision. As I continued to ponder and pray about serving a full-time mission, I finally received my answer. The answer was to finish school, which is what I did. Even though I felt that was the answer to my prayer, a mission was always in the back of my mind. I was not at peace with not serving a mission, even though I knew finishing school was what I needed to do. In April 2013, I graduated from BYU. I landed my dream job, the job I had wanted since the beginning of nursing school, on the Children’s Medical Unit at Primary Children’s Hospital. I knew Heavenly Father’s hand was in leading me to this job position, which I was so elated about! Working as a nurse soon consumed my time. Finishing the New Graduate RN Residency Program, and getting used to being a full-time Pediatric RN is what was on my mind. However, I felt like something was still missing. I tried to fill this void with hobbies, trips, and friends. Yet, nothing filled this emptiness. The idea of serving a mission started entering the stage of my mind once again. But, my life was going great: new friends, great job, fun trips. I knew I needed to make a decision for where my life needed to head, but I was scared to make any big decisions.
One night I was with one of my best friends who had just returned from serving a mission. We started talked about missions, and something she said struck a heart string, and I knew what I needed to do. I still fought the decision to put my mission papers due to fears for some weeks. I read a talk though which this friend had told me about. It was a devotional talk, which talked about making decisions even when the future is unknown, but going forth with faith. This was my answer! I made the decision to start my papers. I prayed to Heavenly Father to stop me if this was not the thing for me to seek at this time. Yet the correctness of my decision was quickly seen, as things quickly and miraculously played out. I called my parents telling them about my decision, which I was surprised how supportive they were about this new decision I made. With the help of my bishop, I was able to get my mission papers in about a week from the day I made my decision.
Now the waiting game began. Patience is a virtue I would love to have now, but that I need to work on. First week went by, with no call letter in the mail. Second week started, and finally that Wednesday the letter came!
That afternoon my mom, dad, and brother Cameron came to my apartment in Salt Lake City. I ripped that envelope open pretty quickly. Chile Santiago North Mission, as a Mission Nurse Specialist! But wait I leave in about 4 weeks directly to Chile on May 7th….and I get to learn Spanish, which is something I have wanted to learn for years!
I am humbled as I prepare to accept this call to serve. I know my call is from the prophet, Thomas S. Monson. I know Heavenly Father has a timetable for me, and this is what He would have me do at this time.
I’m so thankful for the support I have received from friends and family! I am going to give my all, as I interact and serve those in Chile! I know I can bring those in Chile a message of joy and peace: families can live together forever, Christ lives, the Book of Mormon is true and is evidence of God’s love for His children, and there is a living prophet today who receives modern day revelation.
My new name will be Hermana Duffy for the next 18 months, as I serve my brothers and sisters who live in the southern country of Chile!