Why wouldn’t I want to serve the Lord? What was stopping me from praying about serving a mission? FEAR. Thoughts of, “I will miss my family a lot. My niece will be three when I get back. What about my dog? I will have to wait to write my third book,” occupied my mind until one day I realized something. There was a lot of me, me, me going on and not a whole lot of “Thy will be done.” I remembered that “God hath not given us the Spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind” (2 Tim 1:7). I got down on my knees and I prayed humbly and earnestly to know His will. I fasted, and as a result, the fear left and I received my answer loud and clear: to serve as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
My papers have been in for five weeks now and I've come to understand that the term “waiting for my call” is perhaps incorrect because I’m not waiting for my call - I’m preparing for it. I’m serving now. I’m teaching now. I’m a disciple of Christ, whether a missionary or not. Everything I do and say is a reflection of my commitment to the Lord. So, while I wait for my call, I prepare – preparation is one of the keys to overcoming fear. I study the missionary materials, I never cease studying my scriptures and getting down on my knees in humble prayer. I speak to returned missionaries, I speak to missionaries – learning of and from their experiences.
In all aspects of the gospel we keep growing through our efforts, and so it is for a mission. We only stop growing if we stop studying, so I keep studying, and in return I get to have the greatest companion, the Holy Ghost, to guide me. And I really need the Holy Ghost because once I decided to serve and started working on my mission papers, temptation increased in many different ways.
I've felt it in the temptation to be idle: 'I don't need to prepare right now. Why not watch a movie or spend a little more time on my phone?' Why not? Because that's exactly what Satan wants! I'm not saying I can't watch a movie or chat to my friends on the phone, but now that I have committed to serving my Saviour Jesus Christ by teaching His people, I don’t want to waste a moment allowing those things to take preference over preparing and studying for my mission. Once I even found myself thinking, 'I can prepare and be diligent while on mission'.
I feel that the person I am, leading up to my mission for the LDS Church, makes it easier to be the missionary I want be. That's not to say a person can't change; that's exactly why we have the atonement. But learning to be diligent now, in this preparing stage, will set me right for my mission. It really comes down to a choice: who I put first in my life - the Lord or the world?
I choose the Lord as I prepare for my call. I choose to do His will. I choose to work each day to overcome my weaknesses. I choose to serve the Lord with all I have and can give. So, there's no waiting for my call - there's only preparing. And I’m extremely grateful for this preparing stage.
Since writing this article, Tarryn has received her mission call to serve in the Pocatello, Idaho Mission in the USA.