Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Sister Missionary Feature- Sister Watch

Sister Megan Wach

Did the age change affect you?
Yes, it did. I’m 20 now, but I was 19 when the age for sisters to serve was changed. Because of this I will now leave 4 months earlier than I could have even started my papers!

If yes, how long did it take you to decide to go?
When the announcement was made about the age being changed I was at work, so I didn’t hear the announcement, but my mom called me crying while President Monson was still speaking. It was the busiest day of the whole year at my work. Let’s just say that after that my mind was checked out and I announced to everyone that I saw that I was going on a mission! I bounced around like a crazy person for the last 8 hours of my shift because they wouldn’t let me go home. I even had my appointment with the bishop to start my papers made before the session was even over. So let’s just say, that I knew right away that I was supposed to go, and I’ve never been so excited! 

Things from before that had also been leading up to a mission and I just didn’t realize it. I’d spent the previous semester abroad in China, teaching English. I already had my passport plus all my shots and an experience with another culture, not to mention that I now have the ability to eat anything placed in front of me. Panda Express is not Chinese food (sea cucumber anyone?). Things after I started my papers worked out so well also. I scheduled my dentist and doctor’s appointments on the same day each within a few hours of each other. When I got to the dentist, little did I know I had three cavities (stinkin’ delicious Chinese candy that I ate by the pound, I blame you!) and he didn’t have the time to fill them until next week. Of course, I’m impatient; I wanted my papers in ASAP. As we were discussing this, the nurse walked in to say that the next appointment was canceled. Guess who got their cavities filled that day?! This girl! The next problem was money. I didn’t have any. I had been working to pay for college without taking in any debt and so I had absolutely nothing saved and nothing in my bank account. But I knew that I was supposed to go, and that was all that mattered. The next thing I knew, I had several different people pledging what totaled up to be more than the needed four hundred dollars per months. Though I didn’t know that I wanted to serve a mission until that moment, my whole life I had unknowingly been preparing to serve a mission.

Did you always want to serve a mission?
No, I didn’t always want to serve a mission.

Why/Why not?
I always thought that I would be married before I turned 21 and I’d never really had the inclination to go. I considered it a time or two and figured I would just make it one of those “if I don’t get married by then” options. Before the announcement was made I had been writing a missionary in Brazil for his whole mission (he’d been out a year by the announcement), and while I was doing so I was always a little jealous, what he was doing inspired me so much and it just made me so excited about missionary work! I even discussed serving when I was 21 with the missionary, needless to say, he wasn’t very enthused with the idea;). 

Where did you want to be called? Why?
I wanted to be called to Brazil. My dad had served there and so my family has a love for Brazil because of that. Brazil it our house isn’t called “Brazil,” it’s called “Paradise.” He always talked about how much he loved Brazil and all of the work that he did there. My mom even says that if he could he would drop our family and go back to Brazil as a missionary he would, and sometimes I’m not sure she is kidding;). I have also always thought that Portuguese was the most beautiful language in the world. Plus, I LOVE Brazilian food! 
Where were you called? Was this surprising? How did you feel about it?
Before I say where I was called, I need to say that I absolutely thought I would be called to Brazil. I was even naughty and I told Heavenly Father that I didn’t want to go anywhere else; I begged to be allowed to serve in Brazil. I told him that if he didn’t send me there I would be very grumpy and that there was no way I could ever go anywhere else. I am stubborn, what can I say?

The night that I opened my call, my family was all in Disney World without me (“You’re an adult now, you have to pay for yourself… blahblahblah”) and it was Halloween (probably the worst day to open my call considering that people had to risk getting their houses egged and drag their children away from trick-or-treating just because I wasn’t patient enough to wait even 24 hours to open my call [props to you girls who waited!]), so it was just a little interesting. I opened it with some of my friends and extended family with my immediate family over Skype. I was a little surprised to see this:

Dear Sister Wach:
You are hereby called to serve as a missionary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. You are assigned to labor in the Portugal Lisbon Mission. It is anticipated that you will serve for a period of 18 months.
You should report to the Missionary Training Center on Wednesday, April 3, 2013. You will prepare to preach the gospel in the Portuguese language…

Even though I had said that I would not want to serve anywhere else, in fact I thought that I would cry in despair if I was called anywhere but Brazil, I immediately knew that Portugal was where I was meant to be called to. I was filled with a deep sense of calm. I just knew it was right. The Lord loves me; he knows where I need to be even if it wasn’t where I wanted to go, the same goes for all others who receive mission calls. Not to mention that I still get to speak Portuguese! 

Share an interesting missionary experience story.
About a month after I received my call, I started to struggle with my decision to serve a mission. Satan really does work on those who are willing to serve missions. I had to decide between two good decisions, one of them being the mission. Shortly after I was alerted to the second decision, I received a blessing that told me that I would have to study the decision out and that it would not be an easy decision to make. For the next two months I read my scriptures, I fasted, I cried, I visited the temple weekly, and did everything I possibly could think of to help with no avail. I still didn’t know the answer, so I followed someone’s advice and I just picked one. The second option was the one I decided on, the one that wasn’t the mission. The whole time I was trying to decide, I felt sick, and that didn’t subside after I made the decision to go with the second choice. I didn’t know what to do, and I just kept flipping back and forth between choices even though I’d supposedly made my decision. Then one day, out of the blue, I changed my mind, without any kind of stimuli I knew that the mission was right. From then on I felt calm and excited again, and once again I knew it was what I was supposed to be doing.

After I received my mission call, I got a job working at the MTC. I absolutely loved it there. My job was to supervise the missionaries as they did service jobs that involved cleaning areas of the MTC. I worked in 17M, which when I first started working there was two floors of sisters and two floors of classrooms (shortly after I started construction was done to turn the classrooms into sister housing, and boy are construction workers messy! I hope you all appreciate your rooms in 17M on floors one and two because I did some serious work to get them into shape!), but I mainly worked with the sisters upstairs. We only see each group of missionaries one day a week, and I had yet to work with any elders. Then one day, the girls who ran the floors with the classrooms needed someone to substitute for them. The elders that I got to work with where headed to Canada. At the beginning of the service I had them introduce themselves (which involved them telling me their name, where they were from and where they were going and then I did the same for myself), one of the elders, was from Canada, and when I told him that I was going to Portugal he got so excited! It turned out that his father was not a member, and that he was currently living in Lisbon as a chiropractor. So he asked me to visit him. I have my first contact! Coolest thing ever! Who would have thought that four months before I would even leave for the mission that I would have my first contact?! Now I just have to try not to lose the paper and find a single man in a country filled with hundreds of thousands of people… it’s a good thing that with God anything is possible!

Why are you serving?
I’m serving because I know that it is what I am supposed to do. This gospel is the true gospel. I want all my brothers and sisters to know that. I want them to have what I have. I want them to know that they can be together with their loved ones forever, that this isn’t the end. I want them to know that they have a loving Father in Heaven that wants them to one day return to live with him. I want them to know that their God still loves them and that because of that we receive revelation through a prophet today. I want them to know that even if life seems hard that tomorrow is another day that someone loves them and is always with them even if they don’t know it. I want them to know that there is always someone they can turn to. I want them to have the happiness, comfort and reassurance that I get from having this knowledge. The Church is true! Everyone has a right to know that, and I want to go out and tell them, that is why I am serving a mission. 

Any advice for future sisters or girls still deciding.
Pray about it, don’t just jump right in; you need to know for sure that you are supposed to go so that you won’t doubt as I did. Also, where ever you are sent is where you are meant to be, the Lord loves all of his children and knows us each individually, he will send you where you will best flourish, whether that is Brazil, Portugal, or Antarctica (just for reference, there are not any missionaries currently serving in Antarctica that I know of;)). I also know that if you are meant to go then things will always work out, if you don’t have the money, the money will show up for you to be able to go, I’ve watched it happen time and time again not only with myself but with other sisters who hadn’t anticipated serving and so didn’t have the needed funds. Don’t second guess yourself either. Don’t let Satan get to you at night when you lay in your bed. He knows you and that that is your weakest time. When thoughts that you can’t do this or that it might not be right for you pop into your head, don’t listen, it isn’t true. You are strong, and you can do this if you believe in yourself and you have the Spirit with you. Don’t forget that the Spirit will not just be given to you to make you be an affective missionary without you doing any work. We must strive to be the best messengers that we can. Prepare the best that you can for the mission. There is a quote that I absolutely love, it goes like this:

“We love all of our missionaries who are serving the Lord full-time in the mission field. But there is a difference in missionaries. Some are better prepared to serve the Lord the first month in the mission field than some who are returning home after twenty-four months. We want young men [or women] entering the mission field who can enter the mission field “on the run” who have the faith, born of personal righteousness and clean living, that they can have a great and productive mission.”
-Ezra Taft Benson

Strive to be one of those missionaries. Study your Preach My Gospel. If you’re learning a new language, study that. Go on splits with your local missionaries. Do service. Follow the mission schedule beforehand. Be a missionary who can enter the mission field “on the run.” The more prepared we are, the more effective we are at the work of bringing the gospel to our brothers and sisters are looking for the truth. 
Anything else?

I just want to say that if the mission is what you are meant to do, then things will work out for you in every way. The Lord loves us and all the rest of his children, if you are a willing servant, things will work out, don’t think that you can’t serve just because of something you can’t fix. Our God is the creator of all things and with his help, anything can be made to go the way it needs to.

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