Following the announcement during General Conference of the age change for sister missionaries, my oldest daughter who is in college called me. She gave me permission to share the following:
She had been feeling strongly for a few months prior to General Conference that she needed to prepare to serve a mission. Given her age (barely 20) and place her education (just a few months into a program), she assumed that meant she should leave as soon as her program was complete - when she would be 21. In the temple the week just prior to General Conference (to do baptisms for the dead), she got an overwhelming impression that she should prepare to go “immediately”. She told me it was one of the strongest, clearest impressions she has had in her entire life. Again, she assumed that meant she needed to step up the preparation for when she would leave next year.
She was in tears when she told me she had contacted her Bishop that day and asked to start the process of leaving “immediately”. It was an amazing confirmation to all of us that He knows us individually.
That was approximately one-and-a-half months ago. It has been a blur. She opened the envelope containing her call a few hours ago, with my wife and our other daughters participating via Skype. Her older brothers are in college in Missouri, so they had to wait to hear about it via Facebook. (I love technology and social media!!)
She reports to the MTC on February 6th, 2013 - exactly 4 months after the announcement in General Conference - on her way to her mission in . . .
At the risk of embarrassing her (which she will expect, knowing me as she does):
She has a strong, personal, genuine testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, but she is a unique young lady. She has her father's wicked sense of humor and her mother's heart. She told me recently that she
was in a bad enough mood to punch someone in the face - and "not just
because I'm in Utah".
(That was following a conversation in which she told a friend she had
voted for President Obama and heard the response, "Are you serious?
I'm not sure if you really did or are just stirring the post, like you
like to do." lol) Her wardrobe is not risque or inappropriate in any
reasonable way, but she certainly is going to have to do some shopping
to leave for the MTC. She is a bit of a fashion hound. She also is going to
have to stop using some of her favorite expressions when upset - and even
when not upset. (She once told a male friend to "grow a pair" when he was hesitating to do something that needed to be done.)
will love the German people, and she is going to teach more than one
companion the need for tolerance, I'm sure, and the true meaning of unity. In the imagery of Elder Wirthlin (another reference that won't surprise her or anyone else who knows me), she plays the saxophone and
piano, but she can be a metaphorical kazoo at times. She certainly
will add her own unique sound to the orchestra in that area.
Congratulations, Sarah. I love you and am proud of you. You will be an excellent missionary. Be yourself - your best self, but yourself, nonetheless. You were called to that mission to reach someone, and only you (the real, full, authentic you) can reach that someone.