Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Mission Acceptance Letter

I have kind of been avoiding writing my acceptance letter for the past few days. This is almost completely due to the fact that I haven't really known what to say. Saying "yes, I accept" seems to plain and simple, but saying "yes" and listing all the things on your mind seems like overkill. But I also can't get my information from my mission president until I accept the call, so that's what I worked on tonight.

It was a bit challenging for me because I wasn't sure what kind of testimony to include. I could talk about my testimony of temples, family history, the Word of Wisdom, church attendance, prayer, etc. But none of those seemed to fit.

When I finally just started writing, the words began to flow. It honestly seemed like Heavenly Father was giving me the words to say. The words were my testimony based on personal experience, but He helped me understand what made this call to Georgia so perfect.

Before writing, though, I read in my journal from the night I received my call. One of my favorite thoughts I wrote down was, "Despite all the conflicting avenues, I still feel complete peace and love throughout it all. Finally, my prayers were answered. And in an exponentially better way than I ever imagined."

Although I did not exactly include it in my acceptance letter, I realized that one of the biggest things I learned from my mission call experience is that God knows what He is doing. And while you think you have it all figured out, waiting patiently (another post to come about that subject) on Him will bring you unthinkable blessings that will far outweigh your dinky little plan for your life.

Trust in Him. Remember, "Ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith (Ether 12:27)."

Here is my acceptance letter:

Dear Brethren,
From the bottom of my heart, I thank both you and Heavenly Father for this wonderful call I have received to serve in the Georgia Atlanta North Mission. I knew as soon as I read the call that there was not a more perfect place for me to serve. After weeks of confusion and doubt, I now have an overwhelming confirmation that this call was directly from Heavenly Father and this is a place where I can best exercise my talents and abilities on His behalf.

I am incredibly excited to have the opportunity to teach in the Spanish language. I have been studying Spanish my whole life, and I have truly fallen in love with both the language and the many Hispanic cultures. I believe my education and the love I already have for these people will provide me with a way to more efficiently invite others to come unto Christ and provide a way for Heavenly Father's children to feel His love for them. Through the Spirit, I pray to be able to be a light to those among whom I serve.

Again, I thank you so much for this opportunity, and I gratefully and enthusiastically accept this call to serve my Father in Heaven.


Sister Madeline Abram

Friday, November 21, 2014

November 20th, 2014

Oh man, this day was filled with more excitement than I can begin to describe. This process of receiving my mission call was one of the most testing, trying, and teachable experiences of my life.

First, you have to know that I have always wanted to serve a mission. "Mission" was probably one of my first words, and I was always positive it was something I wanted to do. Yet when it came time for me to finally make it happen, I had so many doubts.

In September (the time when I would be able to submit my mission application), I realized that I had never had a true confirmation or feeling from God that serving a mission was the right thing to do. I had always just assumed it was, but I had never asked. The weeks went on and I never got that "fuzzy warm" feeling that made it clear that this was something I should do. However, I decided to continue with my mission papers and wait for Heavenly Father to answer me on His own time.

The weeks went on and life got more confusing. I was presented with several different paths, all of which were very great paths to take. Some of my options included a great job, continuing my education, being able to apply to my program for August 2015, and continuing to be a full part of the lives of my friends and family. Weeks went by and as I prayed, I still didn't receive an answer. I finally made the decision to stay. I registered for classes, I maintained, and was offered, two very great jobs. I even was able to find a way to keep my contract so I could live with my close friends.

On Thursday, November 20th, 2014, I went to the Provo, Utah temple with one of roommates. There, I prayed that I would have direction. I pointed out to Heavenly Father that I had done everything I could do with the knowledge that I had. But I left without an answer. Again.

That morning, the mail lady (bless her soul), called me on my cell phone to let me know she would be delivering my mission call that day. When I got home, it was there, much to my surprise. I was so nervous that when I opened it, the answer would be no.

When I was finally able to open my mission call, I could not believe the amount of peace and joy I felt as I read the words, "You are assigned to labor in the Georgia Atlanta North Mission." But what really got me was the line, "You will prepare to preach the gospel in the Spanish language."

I have fallen in love with the Spanish language throughout my life, and I have put years and years of dedication and study into learning as much as I could about how to speak, read, write the words and years of dedication into learning cultures and customs.

Sometimes in the LDS church, we tend to have this grand expectation that a mission call to Switzerland, South Africa, or Russia and such are the only worthwhile calls. Most, if not all, RM's will tell you that no matter where you go, it is 100% worthwhile. Yet until you are reading that call and until you receive that wonderful confirmation from Heavenly Father, it's hard to fully understand.

Yet as I read that call over and over again later that night, I began to see how perfectly my Heavenly Father knows and loves me. Just this semester I decided to take a Spanish class that was only offered at night. I wanted to brush up on my knowledge since I had lost a lot of it since being out of high school. I had to give up clubs that I was passionate about, a social life, "free time", and so on. Yet once I realized that I would be preaching the gospel that I treasure so dearly in a language that I treasure so dearly, I realized there was no way this was a coincidence. Let's not forget that I have always dreamed of moving to Georgia. I love the humidity (call me crazy), I love the south, I love the people, and I love the food.

This experience taught me patience, it taught me faith, it taught me trust, it taught me that God knows and loves me. He provided me with countless tender mercies along the way, just so I would know that He was listening.

Giving up 18 months of my life is the scariest thing I have ever done. I will leave behind my family, my friends, my education, my job, my freedom (I will be with another person literally 24/7 for a year and a half), and my comfort. Yet with the fear comes incredible excitement and love. I already love these people because I can already feel the love that God has for them.

I am so thrilled to have the blessed opportunity to preach the gospel to those who have room in their hearts to receive the message of God's love and eternal plan of happiness for them.

In the meantime, I will constantly have Georgia on my mind.

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