If you haven't watched the video of me opening my mission call, go ahead and watch it, because it'll make this whole blog post make a lot more sense. (^ that is a hyperlink. I'm not tech savvy.)
I dreamed about opening my mission call from the very moment I decided to serve a mission. For some reason, I was extremely concerned about where I got called. There was one specific place I wanted to go, and people said that was a bad thing. Well, I didn't get called there and I still don't think it's a bad thing. But here is my experience of anticipating my mission call, because I think it is a unique one. And if not, then I guess it's good to know that I wasn't the only one who went through that anxiety mess.
My birthday is in July, meaning that it was going to take approximately forever for me to even be able to turn in my papers, and then leave. I'm like the most impatient person I know, so somewhere in the process of waiting for my call I decided that stuff like this is supposed to teach me how to be an extremely patient person. But that didn't change the fact that waiting for my call was PAINFUL.
So I really cared about where I got called. That was my number one concern.
Then I really cared about WHEN I should report. I wanted to leave as soon as possible so I could get home as soon as possible. There are...a few reasons for that. But, yeah, that's worth a whole other blog post, I think. Anyways, I'm working on it.
Finally, I was even picky about which MTC I went to!! I work at the Provo MTC now, and live about 10 minutes away. I also volunteer there about 1-2 times a week. So going there would have been really weird for me.
Picky, picky, picky. That is what everyone told me, and they were right!! I'm super picky. But here's the thing: People will say to you, "you probably won't get called where you want to go. If you say you want something in your mission, you'll jinx it and you won't get it."
That, my friends, is a LIE. A lie that I totally used to believe. People, Heavenly Father doesn't want you to suffer. He definitely wants you to learn, but He also doesn't want you to hate your mission. He knew that I would have hated it if I was tracting in -34 degree weather in Ulan Baatar, Mongolia. He knew that there is no way I could ever learn how to speak Finnish or Cambodian. Perhaps if I had gotten called to Russia it would mean that Heavenly Father wants me to learn how to cope with the cold, or if I got called to speak Hungarian He knew I was capable of learning one of the hardest languages in the world.
The point here is that if you are afraid of things like this, it's okay!! That's so human! So don't even worry about it. We all have our fears. Let's put it this way. I really don't think Heavenly Father intends for a mission to be like Fear Factor. I'm not saying He intends our missions to be easy, either, and there are definitely people who have to face some of their biggest fears on their missions, but His purpose in calling us to our specific areas isn't to make us suffer.
So then there's the flip side. There are things we really DON'T want, and things we really DO want. Well, it works the same way. And in each situation, you need faith. Faith to accept God's will, and faith that God isn't going to send you somewhere that is impossible for you.
Along with the places I really DIDN'T want to go, like I said there was one place I specifically wanted to go, but for a combination of reasons. I wanted to go somewhere hot, because I'm like a lizard and 100 degrees is balmy to me. I wanted to learn a language, specifically Spanish or Portuguese because I took Spanish classes and I think Portuguese is a sexy language. (It totally is though, am I right?) And I wanted to go somewhere where I could preach with the Book of Mormon, and where people would listen to me
Just like Heavenly Father isn't going to send you somewhere that you hate, He also takes into consideration your desires. FOR SURE. Why wouldn't He?
The second I opened my mission call, even though I didn't get the specific place I wanted, I knew with certainty that God knows me better than I do. Everyone, God knows you better than you know yourself. I promise!!
People tend to wonder how is the best way to look at receiving a mission call. There are some people who say "I would be happy going anywhere" and mean it, and people like me who say "I'm afraid I'm going to get called somewhere where they don't have toilets." So here is the perspective I took:
I will go wherever I get called, because I really trust God. Even if I get called to Antartica where I have to preach to the penguins in Cambodian, I'll still go because I trust that God will help me do my best. There are also some things I really really want, so I'm going to have faith that maybe I'll get these things and if I don't, it means that my will wasn't aligned with God's, so I'll repent and try again.
Even though everyone told me I was overthinking it, even though everyone told me that I shouldn't even worry where I got called, that was the mentality I had. And it definitely worked. The thing to really remember is to make sure you are praying for the right thing, and then praying in faith.
Man, and now I'm only on part two. There may be many people who are reading this who have never experienced a Kaela blog before. I regret to inform you that they are loooooooong because I am completely incapable of being concise. Preaching in another language is going to be great for me because I won't actually be physically capable of saying more than a few words at a time.
I really want to talk about the week between submitting your papers and opening your call. One week if you are lucky, that is. I wouldn't count on one week. I think it's anywhere between 9 and 14 days. But I am here to tell you, and perhaps I'm only speaking for myself here, but it will PROBABLY BE ONE OF THE HARDEST WEEKS OF YOUR LIFE.
I'm serious!! I was absolutely shocked. But the thing is, you know you are supposed to be doing something when Satan is trying to get you to not do it. And Satan doesn't want you to go on a mission, therefore, he's going to try everything he can to keep you away from it. I talked to a lot of sisters in the MTC and they all agreed that the week between submitting their papers and opening their calls, and the week before they went through the temple were abnormally hard. It's nuts. I had like, 7 emotional breakdowns. He went and exploited every fear I had about serving a mission and it was super duper lame.
How did I cope with it? I simply kept doing what I was supposed to be doing. You're going to not want to pray, you're going to not want to read your scriptures, but you have to. Not only that, but you have to try extra hard at all of those things. Seek for spiritual strength. Go to the temple. Pray. A lot. The more I prayed, the easier it was to be able to get through that week. But, the second you open your call, it is all soooooooooo worth it.
My mission call opening experience was pretty unusual. Unlike almost everybody I know, I didn't open it the day it came. I waited until Saturday so that my mom could be there. Everybody asked me how I was even surviving, because having my mission call just sitting there unopened must have been impossible. But somehow, it really wasn't as hard as I had expected it to be. Probably because I prayed, a lot. Also, I really wanted all of my family and friends to be there, and it was PHENOMENAL to have so many people there to support me. Seriously though, there were actually quite a few people and it was super overwhelming.
The day of, I had a nightmare that I opened my call and was furious. I was just livid, and disappointed, and so a good portion of my morning was spent stressing about how I was afraid that I would be disappointed when I opened my mission call. So I decided to spend the day fasting, so that I could not be super anxious, and that when I opened my call, I would be happy and know it was where I was supposed to go.
When at last the moment came, well, you can see in the video, I was freaking out. And crying. My voice got really high for some reason. There's the moment when you say, "You have hereby been called as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints" and you think, "Oh my goodness, I'm a missionary!!" and then when you read, "Ecuador Quito," and it doesn't matter that it isn't exactly where you wanted to go because for some reason, you can see yourself in this country that you know nothing about. It makes so much sense that you were called to this country you forgot even existed. You don't even want to go to the other place anymore because you suddenly feel so much love for the little country of Ecuador. The relief that you FINALLY know where you are going is a sweet, sweet feeling.
So, my fellow missionaries, I just want to say that I know that each and every call is divinely inspired revelation. Everything about the way the process works is inspired. If you want to know a little more about it, read this great talk. (<-- hyperlink) If you are waiting for your call, I promise, it will come, and every second you wait will be so worth it.
I was called to the Ecuador Quito mission. Originally, I wanted to go to Brazil. But the more I learn about Ecuador, the more I realize that Ecuador has Kaela written all over it. The more I learn about it, I realize that it really was matching everything I prayed for, it just wasn't specifically where I thought I would end up, which is not a bad thing at all!!! I know that I will LOVE it there, and I am even more grateful that my prayers were totally answered. I even get to go to a foreign MTC, which was another sweet answer to my prayers.
Heavenly Father hears our prayers, I promise. He loves us, and He loves our willingness to serve. And, He knows you so much better than you even know yourself.
"Behold, the field is white already to harvest; therefore, whoso desireth to reap let him thrust in his sickle with his might, and reap while the day lasts, that he may treasure up for his soul everlasting salvation in the kingdom of God." D&C 11:3
Sister Kaela Carter