When it comes to the story of how I decided to serve my mission, I usually tend to just skip over the age change which occurred in the Saturday morning session of the October 2012 General Conference. I know, it seems a little odd when it is that very day that has allowed me to go at the ripe old age of 19. Like most girls, I would assume, a mission at 21 was up in the air for me. I mean being a girl (and at BYU) it's hard to plan for something like that. But when the age change hit my decision was still up in the air. Whenever anybody asked me if I was going I would always say, "Oh I don't know, I haven't decided," and smile politely, all the while thinking "If I could be guaranteed to go out of the country and speak a different language, then you better believe I'd be the first one out there on a mission when I turn 19." I mean being bilingual and traveling the world were/are my two greatest dreams in life...aside from getting married and having kids, of course. ;) I know what you're thinking, that's gotta be one of the worst reasons to possibly go. And I knew that. Which is exactly why I wasn't planning on going. I knew that if that's the reason I wanted to go on a mission then I absolutely couldn't go. I would just end up disappointed most likely, and I wouldn't be a very good missionary since I wasn't out there for the right reasons.
Fast forward to the beginning of my freshman year in college (September 2013). I was at my dream school (BYU) and I was absolutely loving it. It was so much fun. Although I was living off campus with many older roommates, my actual room roommate was 18. We clicked immediately and would stay up late many nights just talking. Well this roommate of mine was going on a mission and we talked about missions. A lot. Cue endless thoughts about missions. All. The. Time.
If that wasn't enough, I met a girl who wasn't a member of the LDS church who lived on the floor above me. A non-member at BYU who chose to go strictly because of the standards? I know, not something you see everyday. So basically we became super close, and I honestly had never felt such an intense desire for someone to join the church. Ever. Not even with my other non-member friends I had in high school.
As I said before, I had endless thoughts about missions. Every time I was walking around on campus, or whenever my mind started wandering in class, or while eating dinner or lying in bed trying to go to sleep, my thoughts were filled with the idea of going on a mission. I began to notice something in my life. I realized I was so happy. My life was a happy life. Sure I have had some major ups and downs, but overall I was happy with life and everything in it. And I realized, it wasn't because I was living some sort of life of leisure, or didn't have a care in the world, it was because I had the Gospel of Jesus Christ in my life. My best friend was my Savior and I knew what He did for me and the love He has for me. That simple. And that's what the Gospel does. It brings joy, peace, and love into the lives of those it touches.
So with all these grateful, loving, happy thoughts in my head I had yet ANOTHER realization. I had the ticket to lasting joy in my life and I felt my Heavenly Father's and Savior's love for me all the time. But Heavenly Father and the Savior love EVERYONE...not just me. And there are so many people in this world who don't feel or even know of that pure, unconditional love. I realized, everyone on this earth deserves to know someone loves them perfectly. They deserve to know that they don't need to feel alone. They deserve to know what their Savior did for them in the Garden of Gethsemane and on the Cross. They deserve to know of that great sacrifice. They deserve to know of the Plan of Salvation. They deserve to have the happiness the Gospel brings. The list could go on and on of what everyone in the world needs and deserves to know. All the things I know. And if I know it, how can I not share it?
From that point on I knew I was going on a mission. I wanted nothing more than to share this beautiful gospel with anyone and everyone. When I came to this point, gone were my "demands" to go foreign and/or speaking a different language. I wanted to go where ever the Lord wanted me to go, whether that was Iowa, Germany, California, Slovakia, and so on. It didn't matter to me anymore. All that mattered was sharing the news, because Heavenly Father doesn't love His Children anymore in Iowa then He does in Slovakia. EVERYONE needs to hear the gospel. No matter where they may be.