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Sunday, August 10, 2014

A Life-Changing Decision...

It was a long road for me to decide to go on a mission. When I heard President Thomas S. Monson announce the age change for recommendation for missionary service, my first thought was "I am so going on a mission when I turn 19!"

All my friends were ecstatic, and several left on their missions over the next year, leaving me with hardly any friends in my ward. This made me even more desperate to get on a mission so I wouldn't be missing out.

Around September of 2013 I decided that I should at least put off my mission and focus on my schooling. Well, after one of my closest friends left on her mission to Utah, I went through a really hard time with school and work. I won't go into too much detail, but I was taking 16 credits at my community college and working at a daycare program. My boss tended to bully me, which caused great anxiety in me throughout the day. It didn't take long for me to feel torn down in everything. I was attending the young single adult branch in my stake, which was fun, but I longed for something familiar. I felt thrown into everything, drowning in my numerous responsibilities.

Throughout the fall semester of 2013 I had been preparing to audition for the Young Performing Missionaries in Nauvoo, Illinois. Ever since I was a child, I had watched the YPMs perform fiddling, dancing, and acting on stage in a form of missionary work. When I was 9, I began taking violin/fiddle lessons because I wanted to play "Orange Blossom Special" like the YPMs.

Well, now was the time for me to audition! I prepared amidst my crazy schedule and sent in my audition video. I began making plans to take exams early for when I reported to Nauvoo on May 2, 2014. (Remember that date!)

Two weeks later was finals at school. I felt confident in most of them, but my biology lab seemed really hard and I felt that I didn't do well. After the final, I couldn't find my keys. I was already in a bad mood from work and my final, so I was in a pretty foul mood. I get home and check my email to find an email that says "YPM auditions." Excited, I open it.

I didn't make it in.

That was the last straw. I cried. I cried hard. The next few weeks were really rocky in terms of my testimony. There were a couple of weeks where I literally had to drag myself to church. One week I actually went for a drive in the mountains instead of going to church.

The next Sunday, January 5, 2014, I was thinking about skipping again. My church didn't start until 1pm so I was just sitting around the house while my family went to the homeward. I was listening to my iPod when the song "O Give Me Back My Prophet Dear" by Rob Gardner came on. I had listened to that song several times before, but for some reason it reawakened the Spirit inside of me that I thought I had lost. I went to church, and during sacrament meeting I was praying to Heavenly Father, asking him what I could do to become a strong Daughter of God. Three words entered my mind almost instantly.

Serve a mission.

I was surprised, but I felt a peace about it. I didn't say anything to my friends or family, but that night I went on to YouTube and watched a video of Sisters and Elders opening their mission calls to various places in the world. It got me excited! Before I knew what I was doing I was on my online missionary recommendation, which luckily my bishop had set up a few months before when I was still wanting to serve. I filled out most of my information that I could do by myself, running up to my mom's room to ask (very nonchalantly) where my grandfather served. She gave me a strange look but answered.

The next day I couldn't keep it in any longer! I texted my mom this: (And yes, I use my mom's first name in my phone.)
So we went through with everything, with very minor difficulties with medical information. My stake president sent my application to Salt Lake around the middle of April. I was so anxious over the next couple of weeks, waiting to know where I would be spending 18 months of my life.  
The last week of April my dad told me that he talked to the stake president and that my call had been assigned. It would be here within the next week!
Monday came. Nothing. Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday... Nothing. On Friday I came home from school and had the feeling that it was going to come that day. I told myself that it was probably just my wishful thinking, but the words, "No! It's coming today!" came into my mind immediately.
I told my mom, but she only said, "It might!"
So I sat by the window, reading Jacob 5 (The chapter about the olive tree). About 30 minutes before I had to leave for work, the mailman came up the road... S O   S L O W L Y!
I saw a large envelope go into our mailbox, and I screamed "MOM! IT'S HERE!" And I ran outside. Mom was freaking out almost as much I me, and waited on the porch while I pulled it out.
Surely enough, the envelope said, "Sister Krislee Nicole Twiner." I literally danced back to the house and immediately texted, called and facebooked everyone I could think of. We decided to open it that night.

Work had NEVER gone so slowly before, even though I only worked for 2 hours that day. The longest part was waiting the remaining 2 hours for everyone to come. Mom had hidden the envelope so I wouldn't peek. (I was kind of worried that she would have a peek herself!)

Over 20 people came and I had my aunt and grandparents on the phone. We had a fun time guessing where I was going... Most people either guessed the United Kingdom or Utah: somewhere where I would "fit in" with my blonde hair a fair skin.

We went into the back yard and I opened it...

Dear Sister Twiner,
You are hereby called to serve as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. You are assigned to labor in the
Everyone, including myself, was completely shocked! Me... Serving a mission in the Caribbean... Is there a misprint?  I'm supposed to be going to England or Salt Lake! The mission that I had really wanted to go to was the Scotland-Ireland mission, and I was preparing myself to be disappointed, but as soon I read the Dominican Republic, I KNEW that that was where I needed to be. I was going to learn Spanish. I was going to be in the hot sun year round, constantly layering sunscreen on myself.
But I knew that there was no other place for me to serve the Lord.
I'm not going to be serving a place, I'm going to be serving children of our Heavenly Father. It doesn't matter if I'm serving in Iowa, Utah, England, Japan, or the Dominican Republic. We are called to proclaim the restored gospel to ALL his children, no matter their race or background.
Remember that date that I asked you to remember? (May 2, 2014) That was the day that the YPMs were meeting in Nauvoo. Well, that door was closed and another one opened. I got my mission call on May 2, 2014. I simply wasn't meant to serve in Nauvoo that summer. I was called to something different.
Now it is August 10, 2014 and I leave for my mission in exactly 1 month! I am beyond excited, scared, nervous, blessed... the list goes on! I have never had so many emotions whirling inside me at one time! But I still know that this is what Heavenly Father wants me to do, even though Satan has definitely upped his game. I know that it will be hard, but I am also so excited to discover what there is to be learned in serving the Lord in this capacity.

1 comment:

  1. So excited to hear of your adventures. We are so proud of you, and can't wait to support you on this important mission. We love you Krislee!!