I sat in the temple waiting to do baptisms for the dead, and I prayed. I was 20 years old, and I wanted to know: Should I serve a full-time mission? I had a feeling the answer was no, but I wanted to ask once and for all.
Suddenly I shivered all over, as if a bucket of cold water had been poured over me. No was the impression I felt. No mission for me.
Although I knew the expectation for young women to go on missions is not the same as for young men, I was confused. Why did the Spirit encourage me not to serve? Wouldn’t I be good at spreading the gospel?
As some of my friends received mission calls, I sometimes wondered what my future would hold. My 21st birthday was approaching, and I couldn’t help thinking, “There’s still time to be interviewed and submit my mission papers.”
I was studying in England when my parents called me. I could hear my mother crying as she told me the devastating news: She had been diagnosed with cancer.
A month later when I came home to the United States for the summer, chemotherapy was making Mom weak. I started helping around the house, learning to manage chores and meals. I also spent hours talking to Mom, fearful that I might lose her. I learned that managing a household is complicated, time-consuming work, and I gained a new appreciation for Mom’s efforts over the years. I barely managed to put decent dinners on the table.
Fortunately, ward members and others in the community helped us.
Mom’s treatment went on, and meanwhile our family grew closer. Mom told us stories about her youth, and we played lots of board games. We talked about the scriptures. My dad shared his fears with me as well as his testimony.
During that summer, I learned eternal lessons. I knew my place for now was at home with my family. My testimony grew as I felt Heavenly Father’s love all summer long. I became better friends with the ward members I had known all my life. My family grew closer, comforted by the knowledge that our family ties would last beyond death. I thanked the Lord for answering my question about serving a mission, guiding me to serve my family.
Editor’s note: Since her treatments, the author’s mother has recovered her health.