I started working on my papers, or my missionary application, back in October. I knew that there were a lot of doctor appointments and interviews that would take time, and I wanted to have it all ready by Christmas break.
The application was in some ways similar to a college application. Some interesting things that make it different are an area that asks about the places that we’ve lived and also where our close family have served missions. I thought this was brilliant because how strange would it be to be called to Indianapolis after going to school there for four years (not that the Lord would have done that, he’s pretty smart about these things). I was thankful for the second question because my grandparents alone have served several missions together, so having to make a list of all the missions served by my family was great fun! I kept the list and published it here under Heritage.
Another section of the application asked about our foreign language experience. It gives a scale of Very, Moderately, Somewhat, and Not Very on how interested we are in learning a language and how successful we would feel in doing so. I thought really hard before circling Very for both because I wanted to make sure I was really, really willing to work hard for any language I might be assigned. At the same time, I believe that the Lord knows us better than we know ourselves, so regardless of the circle we fill, we are all sent to the right place.
During Christmas break, once I had my interviews completed and my doctors all visited (goodbye, wisdom teeth!), all I had to do was wait. My stake president sent in my papers at the end of January, exactly four months before I was available to serve. By the first weekend in February, I knew that my papers had been processed, and I’d been given a call. Another friend had gotten her call a few weeks before me, so I knew it would come on Thursday. It didn’t. I set aside all this time Thursday evening to make my phone calls and tell everyone, but it didn’t come. Instead it arrived the next day in a box of rain-drenched mail. I quickly set up a conference call with my parents in my only free time: the half an hour I had for lunch.
As I read, I covered the lines before I got to them because I didn’t want to peek. Once I got to “You have been called to serve…” my heart was pounding! Keep in mind, I was reading out loud to my parents, so when I paused at the actual mission name, they had to remind me to tell them. For some reason, I thought it said Oklahoma, but as I quickly reread the mission name and “Daejeon Korea Mission” settled in my brain, I was surprised! I could tell my parents were, too. Of all the places that people had guessed or that I had thought about serving, I never even considered an oriental mission. Isn’t that how it always goes, though?
The next few weeks were kind of crazy telling people where I would be serving or answering the ever famous “What are you doing after graduation?” question. It took awhile for even me to not be surprised every time I remembered, “Oh, yeah…Korea!” The more I learn about Korea and its people, the more excited I am about serving there, and I absolutely cannot wait!
But first thing’s first, I’ve got to learn the language!