Teaching English in Wuhan, China, was an amazing experience. I had always wanted to go somewhere and do something service oriented, and this was the perfect opportunity. I was part of a volunteer program organized by a college professor. I found that I loved teaching. Even more, I loved getting to know the students, the Chinese teachers, and the other volunteers. But one thing was tough for me.
We signed contracts as we joined the program stating that we couldn’t say anything about religion. If we did we would be sent home. I spent a lot of time thinking about that. I cared a lot about these people. They were my friends now, and they didn’t have the gospel. But I kept my promise.
When I returned to Brigham Young University, however, I found myself thinking that although I had given service, I still had more I wanted to give. I kept thinking how much I would like to teach people the gospel so they could know what I know. I spent a whole semester thinking about applying to serve a full-time mission. I have always wanted to serve, but I needed to know that’s what the Lord wanted me to do.
I received good advice from my brother and my two brothers-in-law, just by speaking with them about their own mission experiences that were so life-changing. And I talked with my dad, because not only is he my dad, but he’s also my home-ward bishop. No one ever made me feel pressured or pushed. They just encouraged me to listen to the Spirit and do what was right.
I fasted. I prayed. I searched my soul. And I listened to general conference. When I heard Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles give his address, “Now Is the Time to Serve a Mission!” it seemed that the Lord was speaking directly to me through him. (See Ensign, May 2006, 87.)
I made the decision to submit my application. I was excited, but I was also a little scared. I think much of the anxiety came from not knowing where I was going to go. My father called me several times up at school, giving me words of encouragement. I think my experience was bringing back memories of his mission, and he had a lot of neat experiences to share.
Even though I was at school, I asked for my call to be sent to my parents’ home in Tempe, Arizona. When the envelope arrived, my dad set up a conference call, so there was my family in Tempe, Tucson, and Mesa. We all sang the hymn “I’ll Go Where You Want Me to Go,” and I was definitely wondering where that would be. But as soon as my mom read I was going to Asunción, Paraguay, I felt an overwhelming peace and comfort. I haven’t had a moment’s worry since. I know that’s where the Lord wants me to go, 100 percent. And this time as I go to serve, I don’t have to worry—I can talk about the gospel with everyone I meet.
“With reference to young sister missionaries, there has been some misunderstanding of earlier counsel regarding single sisters serving as missionaries. We need some young women. They perform a remarkable work. They can get in homes where the elders cannot. But it should be kept in mind that young sisters are not under obligation to go on missions. They should not feel that they have a duty comparable to that of young men, but some will wish to go. If so, they should counsel with their bishop as well as their parents.”
President Gordon B. Hinckley, “To the Bishops of the Church,” Worldwide Leadership Training Meeting, June 2004, 27.