Wednesday, January 28, 2015

I'm Actually Going!!

Well, my MTC date is coming week before I go!  I'm nervous, but I survived the scared stiff stage.  A couple weeks ago I was really struggling and having a hard time...I was stressed and nervous and honestly just plain terrified.  I was so anxious and stressed about everything I kind of had a mental shutdown, and didn't have the motivation to get any of the things done that I needed to.  So, after I told to my mom how scared I was, she looked me in the eye and said "Then don't go!"

Harsh, right?  Well, it was actually very wise of her, and exactly what I needed to hear.  It reminded me that I made the decision to serve, and that I am agreeing to this.  I haven't been forced into it, and I am perfectly capable of turning down the call and saying that I don't want to go anymore.  But you want to know the main reason I didn't agree with her?  I'm just too darn stubborn.  As soon as she said that to me I got irritated (like, really irritated) and told myself that I had committed to this and nothing was going to make me back down.  So, here I am finalizing shopping and packing and all that last minute stressful stuff.

I've been through the temple a couple of times (which was awesome), had my farewell (which was terrifying--I despise public speaking), and said goodbye to a couple of people I won't get to see again before I leave (which was really sad, but at least they'll be here when I get back).  I have most of my sister missionary outfits bought (and they're adorable), a really heavy-duty scripture bag (emphasis on the heavy), and enough mosquito repellent to (hopefully) protect me from all the crazy bug diseases in the Philippines.  I told my best-friend-basically-sister that she and her husband are not allowed to start their family until I get back (and I mean it, Bekah and Tyler!!).

I took a great mission prep class at BYU last semester, I have a strong testimony of the Book of Mormon and its power to bring joy and comfort.  I love my Savior, and that I have the opportunity to learn and teach His gospel.  I am excited to share the joy it has brought to me with the Filipinos.  And I can tell you right now, I really don't know squat about them.  But I have already started to feel a love for the people that I will get to meet, and I am so genuinely excited!!

Every time I talk about my mission, I get crazy butterflies in my stomach.  It's kind of like the kind you get when your crush looks at you, but like 10x better :)  I am so grateful that I have this opportunity to serve, and that I get to experience something that is so different from what I'm used to.  Between the culture, the weather, the giant city, and the jungle, I will definitely be learning a lot.  And I just can't wait :)

Sister Payton Pectol

P.S.  And Mom, I'm really actually going ;)

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

My Mission Decision

Just in case you haven't guessed from the title of this blog, I am serving a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in the Philippines:)  Specifically, the Philippines Quezon City Mission.

For some people, the decision to serve a mission is an easy and automatic one.  However, for me personally, it was a very difficult decision.  Throughout my life, I have been promised over and over in Priesthood blessings that I would have the opportunity to serve a full time mission if I so chose, and that missionary work would be an important and huge part of my life.  However, up until the church lowered the age that sister missionaries could go, I had never really considered serving a mission.  When I heard the announcement that sisters could go at age 19, I decided a mission would be something I would aim for.  But it wasn't until I was leaving for this past semester at BYU, when it was time for me to submit my mission papers, that I realized that it was a much larger and more difficult decision than I had imagined.  I received a beautiful blessing in which I asked specifically for counsel on whether or not the decision to postpone my education and move forward with the mission decision was the right choice for me to make.  That wasn't the answer that I got though.  The guidance I received was that there wasn't a right or wrong choice for me to make.  Whether I decided to stay and continue in college, or postpone college and spend 18 months serving the Lord, I would be making a good choice.  WHICH WAS A COMPLETELY UNHELPFUL ANSWER.

So I moved up to BYU, and settled into my freshmen semester routine: working as a custodian in the morning, then attending classes throughout the day and studying and completing homework in the evening.  But a mission was still heavy on my mind, and I was trying to decide if I wanted to go.  After counseling with my mission prep teacher and my bishop, I decided to go ahead and submit my papers.  I experienced a lot of terror previous to submitting my papers, and it was almost enough to make me decide to not go.  But I figured it wouldn't hurt to work on the application with my bishop and get it ready, so that's what I did.  And a miracle happened.  As I went through the application process, the terror left and was replaced with excitement.  I was definitely still nervous, but definitely less than I had been before, and this time I was so excited I could barely sit still.

I put my mom's address in Enoch as the address to send the call to, and it's a good thing I did, because it came in the middle of finals week, the week before Christmas.  If it would have been in my dorm with me I wouldn't have been able to concentrate on my tests, but since it was out of sight I was able to keep it out of mind when I needed to.  I decided to open it Sunday once I was home.  My Grandma Hirschi let me open it at her house, which was awesome because then I could have people from both sides of the family there.

I knew that missionaries get called all the time to places they never even considered, so the night before I opened my packet I went through all the states and countries I could think of.  But, naturally, I didn't think of the Philippines, so when I read where I was going it was a complete shock.  Gotta love how those self fulfilling prophecies work, right? XD

I'm not gonna lie, I am scared to death to go to the Phillippines.  But, I am also so excited to be able to go and experience a mission there!

Sister Payton Pectol