Last September 11, 2016, after four months of waiting, I finally received my mission call. I read it inside my room, in front of my mother, with my one-year-old nephew watching a YouTube video in the background. As simple as that. Nothing fancy.
I read the letter, line upon line. When I finally came to the part that told me where I had been assigned, I broke into tears. After all these years of struggling, trying to keep up the faith, showing faith, and making it work, I had been called to serve in the Korea Seoul South Mission.
WHEN IT ALL STARTED
My journey in becoming a missionary was anything but easy. I have expressed my desire to serve a mission since I was a youth. My enthusiasm for the Lord’s work was really high back then, and I used to work with the full-time sister missionaries in our ward every Sunday. I was 100% sure that I was going to serve a mission when “I had grown a foot or two.” However, everything changed when I entered college.
My poor choices and my persistent anxiety to measure up and create a name for myself put a lot of burden on me. My faith suffered a lot. I still attended church and magnified my callings, but I cannot say I was missionary material. In fact, during that time, I think I was very far from it.
I felt I performed poorly in academics. My original course was to get a B.S. in Computer Science, but it was beyond my capacity and ability, and I was lost for a time.
Then, I found out the requirements for a B.A. in Psychology. It appealed to me, and I really wanted it as my undergraduate course, but my wish was not granted. I didn’t know what career to pursue anymore. Finally, in a bout of desperation, I went to my professor and asked for his counsel. He told me to apply for a B.A. in Linguistics, which I did. I finished a degree in Linguistics last June 27, 2015.
I thought that my not-so-perfect college experience was a failure. Aside from my time in college being extended by two years, I even missed getting a Latin honors by a hair’s breadth—only 0.005. Everything seemed to not work in my favor. Little did I know that the Lord had always been in control of my life. He was steering me toward the path He wanted me to take and was encouraging me to be the person He wanted me to become.
Because I did not graduate with honors, I worked twice as hard. I was already employed full-time when I received the inspiration to start my own online business. The money I earned from these endeavors helped me immensely in providing for my family’s needs.
I worked day and night, weekdays and weekends, and even during holidays. Being the bread winner of the family, I was always thinking of ways to earn money. It seemed I only existed to work. My responsibilities to my family became so overwhelming that I thought I was never going to serve a mission.
THE INSPIRED PROMPTING
One Sunday in May 2016, my bishop invited me to attend a Temple Preparation class. It was the turning point of my life. After church services that day, I felt prompted to talk to my bishop. I expressed again my desire to serve a full-time mission. I told him that this time I was serious, and that I wanted to make it work.
MISSION PAPERS IN
The next Sunday, I submitted my missionary application forms to my bishop. When my Stake President found out about my decision to serve a mission, he immediately invited me for an interview, and my mission papers were endorsed to the Church Area Office not long after.
Then, in August, I found out that my application had been returned to the Stake because of a mistake on my financial form. I fixed it, and sent my mission papers in again, praying that they would finally go through. And this time, they did!
THE WILL OF GOD
All of these experiences and circumstances led up to that fateful night of September 11, 2016, when I finally got hold of my mission call from the Lord. Looking back, I was amazed at how God had handled my life so perfectly.
The Lord’s Plan #1
First, he inspired my professor to advise me to take up Linguistics. As a result, I learned valuable knowledge and skills that prepared me to learn a new language. I am better equipped to serve a mission because I studied the Korean language long before my mission.
The Lord’s Plan # 2
Second, I am thankful that it was not the Lord’s will that I graduate from college with flying colors. Because of this experience, I learned to humble myself. I went out of my comfort zone and pushed myself harder in order to grow.
The Lord’s Plan # 3
Third, He guided me in choosing a career. I am grateful that He inspired me to pursue a career in writing, something that I really hated during college. This decision helped me to increase my capabilities and become more self-reliant. It also made me realize the value of work.
The Lord’s Plan # 4
Lastly, the Lord gave me inspired leaders. I know that leaders are called of God. Imagine if my bishop had not been in tune with the spirit, he would not have felt prompted to invite me to attend the Temple Preparation class! Then, I would not have applied to go on a mission this year. I might have focused on temporal things. I would have regretted not serving a mission.
I know that God sometimes uses other people to answer our prayers and to help us to the right path.
AFTER RECEIVING THE MISSION CALL
I know that getting my mission call is not the end of my journey in becoming the Lord’s full-time missionary. It is just the beginning.
I am now preparing and doing what I can to be the best missionary that I can be. I want to dedicate my 18 months to the Lord’s service and exhaust all my faculties to hasten His work.
This article has been written by Sarah Eve R. Perlawan of Novaliches Ward, Novaliches Philippines Stake.