I can still remember what was going on when President Monson made the announcement that men would be able to serve missions at 18, and Sisters at 19. My sister and I had just started painting our bedrooms, and she had about five boys in her room helping her to tape up the floorboards. As a general rule, 16-year old boys are loud, and always talking over each other. But when the announcement was made, my sister's room got dead quiet. I swear, I had never heard those boys be that quiet before the announcement, and I haven't heard it since!
I instantly realized this meant that I had less than a year until I could go. Unfortunately, I can't say I was one of the girls who instantly decided that I would go when I was 19. Instead, I waited for a few days, reasoning out in my mind that I could still go when I was 21, but I couldn't quite shake the feeling that I needed to go on a mission. So, I met with my bishop, started mission prep, and began preparing to turn in my papers in May.
I still remember one day in mission prep, I had the feeling that I would go to Sweden. Until that point, I was secretly hoping for England, but the more I thought about Sweden in my mind, the more I liked the idea, and I very quickly gave up on England.
However, I'm a diabetic. Diabetics don't serve missions outside the US. It's unheard of! So I tried to make myself give up on Sweden too. But then, in April, my endocrinologist had to go and tell me that a few diabetics had been called out of the states. I was so excited that I texted my best friend on the way out of the doctor's office to tell him I might go on a foreign mission. And the secret hope that I would go to Sweden lived on.
I had convinced all my friends and leaders that I wanted to go to the East Coast- because that was as far out of Utah as I thought I'd get! I only briefly mentioned it to my stake president and one of the counselors in my ward bishopric that I thought it would be amazing to go to Sweden.
There was nothing normal or expected about the manner in which my call came, or where I would be headed. I was out with a friend the Monday after my call had been assigned when my dad called to say my call had arrived. I thought he was joking, but I rushed home anyways. Living in Utah, it's pretty predictable that mission calls come the Wednesday or Thursday after they've been assigned, and maybe later than that, but never on the Monday after it's been assigned!
I'm glad my dad wasn't just trying to tease me; if it hadn't really been there I might have smacked someone. The rest of that day, I couldn't get Sweden out of my mind. I remember several prayers that no matter where I was called, I would feel it was right, and where I was meant to go.
The is no real way to express the shock and/or joy I felt when I opened my call and it said that I would be going to the Sweden Stockholm Mission. I had no problem in being excited for where I was going. In the past few weeks since my call has arrived, it has proved to be such a special blessing in my life. This truly is a remarkable time in the world's history. The Lord is preparing the way for His work to come forth, and I'm grateful for the privilege I have of being able to serve and progress the work. I am going where the Lord wants and needs me, and while I don't know what struggles I will face in the next few months and years, I can hardly wait through the next 90 days to enter the MTC and begin my mission!