Wednesday, April 3, 2013

The Day That Changed My Life

October 6, 2012. The day that changed my life and the lives of so many others.

That beautiful Saturday morning I sat down to watch the semi-annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I had written down a few questions hoping to hear an answer in one of the sessions. Among these questions was should I serve a mission? It was written as an after thought. I mean, I couldn't even go until I was 21 and that was 3 years away! Then this happened.

I was so excited that I was laughing and crying at the same time and my roommates surely thought I had lost it. For some, this announcement alone was their answer. I'm a little more stubborn. I knew that I wanted to go, but I needed to know that I was supposed to.

And so it began. I fasted and prayed, I studied the scriptures, I started going to the temple more often. I read every talk about missionary work known to man, and watched every mission-related video on the internet (this is where the addiction to mission call videos started). I even signed up for mission prep! But no matter how hard I tried, I just didn't feel like I was getting an answer.

After 3 months I decided to talk to my bishop. He gave me a copy of Preach My Gospel and a Missionary Handbook and advised me to continue doing all of the things I was already doing. He told me that I was choosing between 2 good things: education and a mission. Heavenly Father wasn't going to tell me what to do. I had to make a decision and ask Him if it was right. Maybe both of them were right and it was going to be up to me. I can't say I loved that idea at the time. I was also given a priesthood blessing in which I was promised that if I studied it out and made a decision and then fasted about it, I would receive a sure answer, and here's the life-changing advice, I was told that once I had made the decision and received an answer, I should stick to it and not look back, just keep going.

I left that meeting confident that I would receive my answer and that it would be something that I could not deny. I think I was expecting something like a vision or a pillar of fire or maybe a nice email from God himself telling me whether I should or should not serve a mission. Unfortunately, none of those things happened. Rather the answer came piece by piece, through some advice from a friend, inspired words in sacrament meeting, a perfect scripture every now and then, the death of a loved one who never had the gospel, and feeling the love of God in any number of instances in my life.

I still wasn't completely sure it was right when I finally started my papers almost 2 months after talking to my bishop, but as I've been preparing to serve I have truly come to know that this is what I am supposed to do. I don't think that Heavenly Father would have minded if I stayed at the University, but He definitely doesn't mind if I go out and teach the gospel to some of his children either. I want everyone to feel the joy and the peace that I feel. I want them to know that they have a loving Father in Heaven and a Savior who atoned for their sins and who knows exactly what they're going through. I want them to know what I know. I have had my doubts, believe me. But every time I think that I might be going down the wrong path I hear the words of my bishop, "Stick to it and don't look back. Just keep going." And so I do.

P.S. My papers will hopefully go in this Sunday! YAY!!!


  1. Shalee Jo, I love you!

  2. You are amazing young woman. Keep be the amazing you!!!

  3. That's awesome, Shalee!!! I'm so happy for you!!! If you have desires to serve God, ye are called to the work! D&C 4 You'll be great, darling!