The other day I was asked a very simple question but it really make me stop and think. "Sister Miller, why did you decide to serve a mission?" Instantly a million things went running through my head. I remembered my first EFY camp when I was 14 years old where I bore my testimony and said with a surety, "I will go on a mission when I grow up!" I remembered seeing all the sister missionaries in the Kaw River ward and wanting to be just like them someday. I remembered thinking how amazing it would be to help people learn of this Gospel and the blessings that come from it. But as I grew up, the thought of a mission slowly slipped my mind. I will admit that as I went off to college, I thought that if I waited until I was 21 to serve a mission that would mean that I wouldn't get back until I was 22 or 23 and by that time all the cute guys would DEFINITELY be married!! :) Little by little, I started to lose the passion I once had to serve a mission.
Then came October 6, 2012, when President Thomas S. Monson lowered the age of service for full-time sister missionaries from 21 to 19. At this exciting moment I was...... asleep in bed! My roommate and I had both slept through our alarms to wake up for the Saturday morning session of General Conference but there was no way for us to sleep through the screaming that was going on out in the hall of our dorm. I remembered waking up to shrieks and girls yelling, "Did you hear?" and "Can you believe it?" I thought a natural disaster had hit or Jimmer Fredette was back in town! Soon I was out of bed and informed of the age change. That was the moment that changed everything. I know a lot of girls who instantly started filling out their mission papers without a second thought. For me, it took more time. That morning I received about 100 texts from my family, friends, and church leaders, all wanting to know what I was going to do. All of a sudden, I was being asked to make a decision I thought I had years to figure out. I remember sitting there, watching the announcement on my laptop, and crying. I didn't know in that moment if I was going to serve a mission but I knew right then that if I did serve a mission, I didn't want it to be because of pressure from other people. If I was going to serve, I needed to know it was what I wanted and what my Heavenly Father wanted.
So I didn't start my papers instantly. I didn't tell people what I was going to do instantly. I started taking the steps for me to know again without any doubt that this was Heavenly Father's plan for me. I started going to the temple weekly. I prayed constantly. I took a mission prep class. It was time to go home for the summer and I still wasn't sure what I was going to do. I remember wanting to get a big revelation, an un-doubtable affirmative response. I wanted a sign. It never came. I thought maybe that meant I wasn't suppose to serve a mission. Maybe it wasn't the right thing for me after all. I decided to give it one last shot. I went to the temple and just sat inside, thinking. I knew that if there was one place where I would get an answer, the temple was it. So there I was, pondering, praying, waiting. Then it came to me. Not a sign, not a miracle, but a little thought. As I sat there I remembered Heavenly Father had already given me a sign. He already helped me make up my mind. I had been preparing to go on a mission since I was 14 years old. Every decision I made, every trial I went through, built me up in preparation to serve the Lord. Why, in the moment to make the decision, was I doubting? My decision was already made. I knew I was meant to put on that black name tag and devote all my time and attention to serving my Father in Heaven.
Looking back on the whole experience makes me think that no matter what happens out here in the 'Peens, no matter how hot it is, or how many people reject us, I know that this is what I'm suppose to be doing. Sometimes I don't know why I was called to serve here but, like Joseph Smith said, "I made this my rule: when the Lord commands, do it!" I know that this is a personal commandment from the Lord so I'm doing my best to fulfill His expectations of me everyday! I love you all and am so thankful for your support! Love, Sister Miller