I knew about the time the letter would be on its way so I decided to distract myself a bit and went on a little road trip with my friend, Carrie. I called my roommate on Saturday as we were leaving Boston to find out if I had reason to be anxious to get home and she said that the call had arrived on Friday. I decided that Sister Larsen was instrumental in me further considering a mission, that it would be nice if she was there for me to open it. I drove to their apartment and opened the letter there. It was quite exciting but at the same time somewhat surreal.
I remember feeling that weight come upon my shoulders when I read "You are hereby called to serve as a missionary..." and thinking of what all it meant to know that I would be representing the Savior for the next 18 months. I remember reading, "labor in the Virginia, Richmond mission" and wondering what all that would mean to me. I remember reading the second time through and seeing that I would be speaking Spanish and thinking "Oh jeez...all I remember is 'Vamos a la playa!'"
My parents were both pretty indifferent to it all. My mom seemed to be a bit more excited when she was able to sense the excitement in my voice. She said she hadn’t heard me sound that excited or passionate about something in a long, long time. My dad is grateful that he has an idea of what will be happening and when.
When I called Drake to tell him about my call, he sounded exhausted. He informed me that Sue had gone into labor the night before. The twins were born 3 months early. They were stable but were going to have quite a hospital stay before being able to come home.
I felt as though I was facing a lot of opposition at this time. My friend, Kim, recommended the talk Cast Not Away Therefore Thy Confidence by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland given at BYU on March 2, 1999. This statement helped me a lot through this time, (and many times since), “with any major decision there are cautions and considerations to make, but once there has been illumination, beware the temptation to retreat from a good thing. If it was right when you prayed about it and trusted it and lived for it, it is right now. Don’t give up when the pressure mounts. If God has told you something is right, if something is indeed true for you, He will provide the way for you to accomplish it.” (The entire talk is amazing, so please take a few minutes to read it. You can also find it on BYUtv if that floats your boat.) As I moved forward I felt the doors being opened for me in regards to my parents as well as figuring out the logistics of where to put my belongings, etc.
The weeks between receiving my call and going into the MTC were a bit hectic.
I flew to SLC on Feb. 9 to visit with friends and then go to St. George on the 13th to go to the temple. It was wonderful to see great friends during my time at the temple. My friend Kim came with as well as Annie, a missionary I knew in Rochester and also Spencer, who was one of the missionaries that taught me while I was in Chicago. I flew out from Vegas on the 18th. I went to Minnesota for about a week before going back to Rochester Feb. 27. After those adventures, I had about a week in Rochester to get everything organized before I left.
I was set apart on Sunday, March 7th by President VanDenBergh. (Interestingly, President VanDenBergh’s father was the Stake Patriarch who gave me my Patriarchal Blessing.) Those that attended, (as well as I can remember), were my friend, Kristina, Brother Molinari, President Dougherty and the two Sister Missionaries that were serving in the ward at the time, Sister McDonald and Sister DePriest. Kristina took notes one what was said. (Unfortunately, I have no idea where that sheet of paper is.)
I flew to Salt Lake March 8th. Drake and his daughter, Summer picked me up at the airport. Summer was going to act as my “companion” until I got to the MTC. We went up to Logan for 2 days. One of the twins had just come home from the hospital and the other would be home within a couple of days.
Wednesday, March 10th, Drake and Summer drove me down to Provo to enter the MTC. I got checked in and am nametag (with the little orange dot included). Then, we were ushered into a little room where we watched a video about missionary service. We then sang “Called to Serve” before giving hugs and saying our goodbyes. I was very excited to start learning and to get to know the other missionaries in my district.