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