Monday, August 3, 2015

The Struggle is Real

      I wish I could say that this summer of preparing to serve has been the best and happiest time of my life and that it has been full of excitement and anticipation. However, if I were to say that, I would be lying. I have felt every single kind of emotion that you could ever imagine. Mainly though, I have been feeling a lot of doubt. "What if I am making the wrong choice?".... "What if I get there and I hate it?"..."What if I am bad at it?" and the "what if's" just came tumbling out. Unfortunately, I think a lot of my worry has made me feel more secluded and lonely than I need to be. I have pushing away the people that I love because of how anxious I have been feeling. Everything from clothes to learning Spanish has been stressing me out and making me cranky. I have felt so confused and frustrated! Why wasn't I happy? What was I doing wrong? Tonight a prayer of mine has been answered. I have been yearning for someone, anyone to tell me that they had felt the same way. I just needed someone to tell me that I am not crazy for feeling this way! That it was normal. Well, just like I wrote about in a previous post. God. does. answer. prayers.
       Tonight a sister who used to serve in our ward, named Sister Dodds came back to visit my family and I. Honestly, I expected a low key evening not an answered prayer. As we were busy making food, she simply asked "So are you nervous?". I took a deep breath and thought, should I respond honestly or should I just say that I am so excited?. Within an instant I heard myself say, "Ya I am really nervous." Did I just admit to that? Yes, the answer is yes I did. She then asked, "What are you most nervous about?" to which I replied, "I am so scared that I am making the wrong choice. I mean I got my answer and I felt strongly that I needed to go but what if I am wrong? What if I am messing up my whole life by going?". The advice that she gave me will probably stick with me for the entirety of my mission.
      The first thing that she pointed out was that Satan knows which one of us he needs to work on. He knows who is going to change the most on a mission and who is going to change people's lives the most. The fact that I am feeling down in the dumps and very discouraged is because he knows that I am supposed to be there and that I am going to do great things. That fact makes him so angry and so he is working as hard and as fast as he can to change my mind and give up! I can't give him the satisfaction of throwing in the towel! She then went  through some statistics at me which go as follows: the earth has about 7 billion people on it, members of the church are a small 15 million percent. About half of the membership is active, meaning they attend at least two sacrament meetings a month. Out of the half a million, 10% pay a full tithe and therefore 10% are worthy to enter the temple. Out of the ten percent about 8,000 are missionaries. About half of those are consecrated and are focused on their mission. She then said, you are part of that small percentage and that makes Satan worried. He doesn't want you to be successful, he wants you to quit. This hit me SO hard! I wasn't weird to have worries about serving, that is simply Satan holding tightly onto me and trying to drag me down! The relief that I felt was so incredibly strong. I was on the right path. God had heard my unsung prayer. To end what she was saying Sister Dodds said that in the pre-earth life we were each handed a mission call, so to speak, for life.  There were some of us who were so happy to receive on that said we were going to be in a family that belonged to the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Others, however, wept as they read that they were going to grow up without the gospel and struggle without knowledge. As they kept reading they came across the name of a person who would bring to them the gospel. They ran to the missionary and pleaded for them to stay faithful and to listen to the spirit and to find them. We promised that we would do those things. We have to stay true to that promise. We have to find those who need us and who are yearning for our love.
        I know that I am supposed to serve and that as we put faith before fear miracles happen. I know that God does care. He wants us to be happy. I know that happiness is found through service to others. I want to find my brothers and sisters that I promised to find and I want to offer to them the truthfulness of the gospel. I love them. Please remember, God does hear your hearts pleas and he will comfort them.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

From Nerves to Peace

     Sitting in the Marriott Center at Brigham Young University with my mom, I had only a small inkling of how important May 1st, 2015 would end up becoming to my life. This was the day that my mission call would arrive from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints Headquarters to my house. I had been waiting for what had felt like years but was actually only a matter of weeks for my official calling to come.
      Knowing that there was a large chance it would come the weekend of May 1st, we had to decide whether or not to act like it was just another weekend or stay home and wait by the mailbox. You see, attending Women's Conference has recently become a tradition for my mom and I to participate in and this year it was the same weekend we expected my call to come. We debated a lot as to whether we should go and risk waiting longer than necessary to open my call. After much deliberation, we came to the consensus that a spiritually charged weekend would be perfect preparation for the life changing mail looming over us. So we drove to Provo and with much anticipation we participated in the classes. The last morning of the conference my mom opened a text from a lady in our ward, who also is our mail lady, depicting the image of my mission call. We were both beside ourselves! I cannot even begin to fully explain the nerves that wracked my body. I have never felt more anxious in my life. I mean think about it, that envelope would determine what the next year and a half would hold for me!
      We tried and we tried to focus on what the teachers had prepared but after lunch we finally gave up and decided to drive home. We called my dad and had him round up the crew.
      After what felt like the longest drive of my life, we were finally home. My nerves had not silenced themselves. In fact, they felt as if they had magnified so much that I was about to explode at any moment...Don't worry, I didn't.
       My siblings excitedly ran into the garage, handing me my call. Just touching the smooth paper made me realize even more so how important this package was to my life. We walked in and began waiting for those who I asked to be there when I opened it to show up. I only wanted an intimate cluster of people so I invited those who mattered most to me. Among these were the Beards, Meyerhoeffers, my grandparents, Sydney Koyle, and any family that could FaceTime from their homes. Finally, everyone was ready and the time had come.
       As my hands shook I gently tore open the giant envelope and began to read... "Sister Hunsaker: 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 URUGUAY MONTEVIDEO WEST MISSION".
       When Uruguay left my mouth every single nerve dissipated much more quickly than they had built up. I had been expecting Europe or the East Coast and yet I was not disappointed in the least with South America. In fact, I was ecstatic! It was as if a blanket of peace was laid on me. I had no doubt about where I had been selected to serve my mission. It just felt so right. I KNOW that Uruguay is where I am meant to serve! There are people there who only I can touch and it is where God knows I will be most useful. I feel incredibly blessed to serve the Lord and to dedicate my life so wholly to His work. I am so incredibly happy that I have chosen to serve a mission.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

God ALWAYS Answers Prayers

     I still remember the moment when President Thomas S. Monson announced that the missionary age for girls was changed from twenty- one to nineteen in the October 2012 General Conference for the church of Jesus Christ of Latter- Day Saints. How could I not, it was a moment that has changed me forever! When I heard those words come out of the prophet's mouth I KNEW that I was supposed to serve a mission. For the next few years I never doubted that I would one day be a full time missionary. Before I knew it there was just a few simple months before I could turn in my papers....that, my friends is when the doubt set in. I was scared out of my mind to be away from my family and the comforts that I have grown accustomed to here in Idaho. Shallow and frivolous worries came into my mind. Where was I going to get makeup, how about my eyebrows, and my hair? What if I gained a bunch of weight? These thoughts were constantly running in my mind. I had to know if my original feelings of serving had been accurate.  I prayed and I prayed and I fasted and I fasted. Eventually, I came to terms that I would just have to go on a mission regardless of God's apparent silence. Don't worry, that's not the end of the story! For those of you who don't know, God always, always, always answers prayers. One weekend in March I was able to participate in many spiritual experiences which included going on splits with the missionaries and a fireside. Looking back I can't exactly pinpoint the moment or even the place I was at when I had the thought that answered my prayers but I remember the feelings that I received more clearly than any experience I have ever had.  The thought that occurred to me was, "this is not about you, this is about those you will serve". How had I not thought about that! There were thousands of people in the world that don't know that they do matter and that they are important and I was worried about my makeup! This seemingly small piece of common knowledge completely rocked me. It truly was a message sent from God. I knew that I had to go for those who were living through the pains of life without the knowledge of how much Christ loves them. I know without a shadow of a doubt that I am supposed to serve the Lord in this capacity. I know that while I will probably struggle and experience rough moments that God will guide me through them and hold me every step of the way because he loves me. The greatest and most remarkable thing is that in the near future I will help others have that same confidence in Christ's love. I cannot wait to be a servant who is wholly devoted to the Lord.