It stayed that way until I decided to pick up a shift at Cougar Creations where I worked on a Tuesday morning. I intended to go to the devotional at 11:00 as I always did, but work was pretty busy and we didn't finish helping all our customers in time for me to make it over to the Marriott Center. Just in case you're wondering, pretty much everything at BYU shuts down around the time of the devotional so people can attend instead of working. We just had a lot of people who still needed to finish printing after we closed the doors. I decided to watch the devotional online and discovered that it wasn't broadcasted since it was a forum.
I still wanted to find a devotional to watch though, so when I got home that night I went to the BYU speeches website and discovered a devotional given at BYU-Idaho given a few days prior titled "Living with Purpose: The Importance of 'Real Intent' ". This talk is phenomenal! It is absolutely pack with good stuff. I felt like everything applied perfectly to me. One section in particular really had an impact on me. It's titled "The Parable of the Oranges". It was while I was listening to this part that I started thinking maybe serving a mission wouldn't be so bad after all. I wanted to become like the employee who received the promotion. I thought about how I would have plenty of time to focus on improving myself if I served a mission. Obviously my motivation at this point was entirely selfish, but my heart was softened so much as I watched that devotional. I can't tell you how grateful I am for the Spirit touching my heart that day and for things working out perfectly so I would end up watching that particular devotional.
I'm amused at how I didn't remember hearing Brother Ridd talk about mission stuff at the beginning. I'm sure I noticed it, but I probably brushed it off, thinking that it wasn't for me. But ever since I finished listening to the devotional, serving a mission seemed like a good idea and I felt like it was what I was supposed to do. As I thought about it more that night, I realized that things would work out super well if I decided to go: my brother Jacob would get my car and my parents wouldn't need to find one for him, I wouldn't need to worry about finding an apartment after winter semester (honestly that was stressing me out a ton), and some other things I can't remember at the moment.
After that, time flew by--I met with my bishop that week and started on my mission papers and was able to submit them less than a month later. I received my mission call on March 13 and let me tell you I did not understand what Las Vegas would be like. I thought we would be on the strip handing pamphlets out to the tourists or knocking on hotel doors to find someone to share the gospel with. I guess that's what happens when your only exposure to Vegas is from being at the airport when you were 10 years old.
I finished my semester at BYU and went home to work for a couple of months before I reported to the MTC. All this time before my mission I had no idea what serving a mission is really like. People offered tons of unsolicited advice (which is not that helpful, by the way) and I remained in the mindset that I was going because I wanted to become better.
Thankfully that all changed the moment I walked into the MTC and a sweet older lady put my nametag on. The change in my mindset was literally instantaneous. Suddenly I realized the joy that I could help introduce people to through the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I realized I would only be able to do that if I was completely obedient and if I forgot myself and went to work, as President Hinckley's father had said. I am so grateful my heart was softened yet again so that I would serve with all my heart. There is no way I would have had the incredible experiences on my mission if I wasn't trying to do exactly what my Savior would. I know that the best way to serve is with all your heart, might, mind, and strength.
Missions are awesome! There is a noticeable difference between "going on a mission" and "serving a mission". I believe that a mission is what you make of it. If you go into it with the mindset that it's going to be hard, you're probably going to miss out on a lot of the amazing things happening around you because you're focused on things you don't like. It makes me sad when people say missions are hard. I would describe missions as challenging, demanding, and absolutely worth it...but not hard. Hard makes it seem like it's not enjoyable. You definitely learn a lot about the Law of Consecration while serving, but that is one thing I appreciate most about my mission.
If you didn't click on the link to the devotional that changed my life, here it is again! I promise it is worth your time :)
I guess what I'm trying to say in this post is that I am indebted to Heavenly Father for helping me change my perspective and focus on serving other people instead of worrying about myself. I love him with all my heart and I look forward to the day I can stand in his presence. I am so grateful for his perfect plan that enables each of us to have joy. I am grateful that Jesus Christ made that possible for each of us and I know that he gave his atoning sacrifice for all men.