First of all, let me tell you why I am going to serve a mission:
I know that God lives. I know that He is my Heavenly Father. I have felt His love. I have seen miracles in my life that have come from His hands. He is Great. I love my Father with all of my heart. I want to share his life-changing love with the world because it is real and it is powerful.
I know that Jesus Christ is my Savior. He has healed me. He has comforted my soul, healed my heart, comforted me when I felt alone. He is my rock. I cannot tell you how deeply I love and am grateful for my Savior. He is real.
There is a true Church on this earth—The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I know that it has the Restored Gospel, restored through Joseph Smith with the help of Angels of God. I KNOW this. I know that this Church is true. I know that it blesses the world. I want to share it.
Now, onto receiving my call:
Today at work, while I was sitting at the computer at the AFROTC, I got a call from my beautiful roommate Kimberlie. She told me I had gotten a letter. J I knew exactly what she meant. My first reaction? Back up from the desk, bend over my legs, tear up, and laugh. “Oh my gosh!” I said, “I don’t want to know!!!” I did want to know, I was just so psyched out of my mind!!!
I drove home laughing and crying and praying. I was so overjoyed. I was so full of joy to go on a mission, no matter where to. So grateful to have this opportunity.
Growing up, I’d never particularly wanted to go on a mission. I just figured I’d figure out whether to go when I reached that age. No need to think about it beforehand. Approaching 21 I thought about it A LOT. Sometimes I REALLY REALLY REALLY wanted to go. The deeper I understood the Atonement and God’s love for me and His children, I felt a burning desire to go. But most of the time I just figured it wasn’t a part of my life’s plan. I couldn’t figure it out. I prayed about it a LOT. I thought about it a LOT. Sometimes I wanted to go with all my heart, other times I just wanted to stay in Provo and graduate without ever serving a mission. One day in February, I realized that I really really REALLY did want to go on a mission. I prayed about it, and Heavenly Father told me to wait. It wasn’t time. I figured I’d room with Maddie for another year, work at the ROTC some more, graduate from BYU, and then go on a mission. It’s a great plan, right?
In April I needed to sign up for housing in the fall. I was about to call the apartment complex number, when I got this really strong feeling not to. Like I was taking a wrong turn, or had forgotten something. It scared me, so I prayed. As I prayed, I realized that I needed to go on a mission this year, this fall. Leave work. Leave friends. Leave school. Leave family. Go on a mission. And get my papers in NOW! So, the next Wednesday, I went into the Bishop to start my papers. The next week was finals week. I took all of my finals, finished my projects and essays, got my physical, got my dental done, completed all of my forms, submitted my applications for my study program in China, and moved out of my apartment. It was a busy week. But the whole time I was full of peace because I knew I was doing what I needed to.
I had no idea where I was going to go. I’ve studied Chinese for about 7 years now, so maybe Mandarin speaking? My ancestors are from Europe, so maybe western Europe? I had absolutely no clue. I prayed very hard that Heavenly Father would send me somewhere that I could deeply love the people. I know I have a lot of love and a big heart to offer, and I prayed He would send me somewhere where I could just love people and share His love with them.
Getting in my papers was a bit of a hassle. I do not like those dumb physical forms. I’ve never had a health problem in my life, but getting those forms done was a beast. There was one day I was so frustrated, and mad that it was so difficult to do something I was supposed to do, wanted to do, and needed to do. My good friends in the ward gave me a blessing and that night I got a text from the Stake President---My papers were officially in!!!! It was a tender mercy and a little miracle. I will tell you right now, miracles happen every day.
Fast forward to today. I didn’t want to have an audience when I opened up my call, so I drove to a park with my envelope and sat under a shady tree to open it.
"Dear Sister Stenquist,
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 Bulgaria Sofia Mission. It is anticipated that you will serve for a period of 18 months.
You should report to the Provo Missionary Training Center on Wednesday, October 24, 2012. You will prepare to preach the Gospel in the Bulgarian language. Your assignment may be modified according to the needs of the mission president."
My first thought—AHHHHHH!!!!! My first reaction—laughing and crying. I laughed and cried for the next hour. I am so overjoyed! Bulgaria! Really? BULGARIA!!!
Here’s another little miracle to share with you. A few months ago for a Relief Society activity returned sister missionaries in the ward shared their mission experiences. One girl had served in Bulgaria Sofia. She said that her mission was so tailored to her—she has such a big heart to love people with, and the people in Bulgaria needed that because it’s a hard mission. I prayed that Heavenly Father would send me somewhere that I could outpour love on His children. And He did. He sent me to Bulgaria, so I can pour all of my heart and soul into serving those dear people.
I cannot tell you how happy I am.