Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Turn In Papers, Get A Call

So to follow my other post I kinda just want to explain how you become a missionary for the Church Of Jesus Christ Of Latter Day Saints. Things that will qualify you for a mission is that 1) You're a member 2) You have a testimony 3) You have a desire to serve 4) At least 19 years old (21 for women) 5) You love the gospel. So first off, you have a meeting with your bishop. In this meeting the bishop asks you simple questions as far as your faith in the church, and in God, and worthiness. If the bishop sees you fit to be worthy to be an LDS missionary, he will give you your mission papers. In the old days you had to fill these papers out by hand, which took forever. These days, you can fill it out online, and it took me roughly two months. The papers are full of basic questions like health, ancestors, availability date, family history, medical papers (these have to be filled out by a doctor and dentist), language classes you may have had, and anything else that would influence where you would go. After these are filled out, you send them to your bishop. You once again have a meeting with the bishop with the same basic questions, and if he finds you worthy they are sent to the stake president. Your stake president than interviews you, and sends your papers into church headquarters in Salt Lake City.
Well, I had my papers done, filled out, and ready to go in July. After a few weeks of waiting (it takes roughly two to three weeks in Utah to get your call), I went up to my bishop asking if my papers had been sent in and if I should expect it on wednesday (everything in the mission field happens on wednesday, so does recieving your call for most.) He gave me unfortunate news. He told me my papers can't be sent in until the end of August, because the church won't accept papers that aren't within 100 days of your availability date. I was a little let down, but patience is a virtue! So I counted down until the 100th day of that countdown.
In between these times, my papers had been sent in my accident (a confusion with my parents and the stake president). So for five hours I tried to get a hold of my stake president to have him stop the papers and not send them in. He informed me that they would get sent back and he would change the availability date (he thought it was in October.) So anyways, the 100th day arrived, which so happened to be a sunday. I was excited to finally have them in and wait for only two more weeks. So I tried calling my stake president to see if he had sent them in yet...but he didn't answer. I waited a few days to call him again.
Well that wednesday, I had a horrible day at work. I was furious for whatever reason and didn't want to be around anything or anyone. But the beauty of God's grace is He has a different plan. I walked out to the mailbox that day, and I toyed around with the thought in my head that my call would be there. I didn't actually expect it though because in my knowledge, the papers were sent in three days ago, and SLC isn't that fast. Sure enough.. my call had come and it was sitting in the mail box waiting for me to read it. I ran down to my mom and showed her and asked if I should have this. She had a scared look on her face and thought I would be leaving in October. (financial reasons, I couldn't leave till December.) I tried calling my stake president but there was no answer. I was excited and didn't care when I go, as long as I had my call. So I called up all my family members and we met at my brothers to read my call. So we sat around in a circle and all made guesses of where I could go. We had a good idea that I would serve in the states because of my heart condition, which limited me from going too foreign. Before I guessed something told me that I was going to Hawaii, but I laughed and guessed Oregon (showed me!). I thought Hawaii isn't a mission, I've never heard anyone going there, that's a vacation and tourists spot, not a mission. Well...I read into my call which read, "Dear Elder Smith, we hereby call you as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints." and I saw just below the bottom line, it said Honolulu, and as I was reading out loud, my brain kept thinking where's Honolulu? Where's Honolulu? ohh...snap...I'm going to Hawaii!! My family saw my face get pretty big and they waited in anticipation for me to announce where I would serve for 2 years. I don't remember much after I read Honolulu, Hawaii, just my mind racing and wanting to go scream out to the world where I would be serving. Thankfully, my stake president got my date changed and stressed that I couldn't leave until my selected date, and I made sure to thank him. I remember when I told him though he sighed and said, "Some people just have it all." haha funny man.
This happened clear back in August, but it's still a story I'll remember forever. Honolulu might sound like a vacation to anyone reading this, but it's still a mission, still the Lord's work. It's still the same work being done in Hong Kong, Russia, United States, Brazil, anywhere. It's just more of a unique mission because of the history and scenery. I'm excited to leave, but I'm more excited to serve and tell the people of Hawaii (and any tourists I may talk to) about the message of the Gospel and that the Gospel has returned to the Earth.

1 comment:

  1. Travis, this is awesome! You're right IT IS A MISSION! I'm so proud of how you've been preparing yourself spiritually for this journey. I learned new things in this post too! XOXO Me