I want to share with any who read this how this adventure came to be. Just 6 months ago today, minutes after the closing session of General Conference, the Spirit let me know I was to go on a mission. I immediately rejected the idea: I'm living a good life, serving in the Temple and at the Humanitarian Room, and I don't need to do that, I said to myself. The family was coming for dinner and, as I finished preparations, the phone rang. A counselor in the Bishopric, Ken Peck, asked if I would speak in sacrament meeting in two weeks. I asked what the subject would be and he said, "Isaiah 40:31, with an emphasis on 'waiting on the Lord'." The Spirit then confirmed that I was to go on a mission.
I didn't tell anyone until the next Friday, when I was visiting in California. I told my sisters and my Dad. But the days prior to that, I battled with myself. "I thought, no one knows that I am to do this so I don't have to do it." And then, "but the Lord knows and I know." I had wonderful experiences as I studied that single verse in Isaiah. And Dad and my sisters were supportive.
I met with my Bishop the Sunday following my talk in sacrament meeting and he told me he would get the necessary information to me so that I could apply, since the application process is done online now.
I discovered a inguinal hernia the first of July, as I was preparing to go to McCall for a family reunion. That resulted in my having surgery to correct it on July 17. I had indicated I would be available for my mission on July 1 so that had to be changed.
I healed well and quickly from the surgery and then the waiting game to receive my call. The letter arrived on Thursday, August 28--my sister Judy's 70th birthday! And I was leaving for California the next afternoon, after my Temple shift. So, it was a wild night.
My local family gathered at my home for pizza and "the opening." Scott and Julie joined us via telephone. The first response as I read that my call was to the Baltic Mission was: "Where's that?" Julie looked it up on the computer and I found the map included with my call packet. Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania were not countries I had ever thought of visiting. But I felt excited about my call.
It was late when everyone left the house and then I realized I had to send in my acceptance letter, and it had to be signed by the bishop. Fortunately, Bishop Tilley lives right across the street.
I talked with my grandson, Jake and his new bride, Amy, and they consented to live in my home and care for it while I'm gone. That will be a great blessing for me.
I have been thankful for the two months plus that I've had to prepare. I try to do a few things each day to prepare. There is so much to do.
I have now had 3 lessons in the Latvian language. I travel to the MTC and meet with my instructor, Sister Howden. She is a young married woman from Latvia. She is so patient and kind with me. I don't expect to be fluent, even after living there 18 months, but the Lord is blessing me to understand and learn.
I have now received e-mails from Sister Dance, the wife of my mission president, and Sister Gubler who, with her husband, are the mission couple. And this week, my companion, Sister Harper, has been writing with such helpful information.
Through all of this, as in all of my life, I see the Hand of the Lord in my life. I know, nothing doubting, that this is what the Lord wants me to do at this time in my life. I love the Lord and that is the reason I am going to serve this mission.