Sunday, October 30, 2011

In the MTC

On Wednesday, October 26, 12:40pm we dropped Jessica off at the MTC. As a father, I think it was a little harder for me to drop off a daughter than it was to drop off a son (that protective instinct), but Jessica is well prepared and will be a great missionary. We received a letter in the mail that she wrote Wednesday not long after we dropped her off. Her are some excerpts.

"Wow. WOW! I'm in the MTC. WOW! It still kind of doesn't feel real! I do feel like I can echo Derek's words though. I've learned so much Spanish! :) Really though, just being around Spanish is so helpful. I have 2 companions - Hermana Hunter and Hermana Mierow. Hermana Hunter is from St. George and Hermana Mierow is from Texas.

There's so much -- I don't know what to say! Sorry you didn't get an email from me. Apparently not all of us get to email the day we enter, but I do get to write you a handwritten letter. So, I'm safe, I'm overwhelmed but happy, and I know I'm supposed to be here. The Spirit really is very strong here, and even though it was hard to say goodbye, I feel comforted. But, just so you know, my P-days are on Thursday. (But not this Thursday, so look for an email next Thursday).

So, I have to tell you about the tender mercies I've experienced so far. Right as I (tearfully) walked away from the car, I saw Holly! She was there to get some things from her classroom. Then, about 10 seconds later, the sister missionary who took my bags for me ended up being Hermana Howard, a girl from my freshman ward and my misison prep class! And then at our first meeting with the MTC presidency, Sister Daye, from Hillcrest, going to Taiwan, was sitting in my row. And during the meeting, Elder McCowan, a kid who I was a TA for, spoke for a few minutes and said hi to me. So that's several people within the first 2 hours of me getting here that I know! Totally a tender mercy. I think the Lord knows that the hardest thing for me is feeling alone, so He allowed a bunch of people I know to be here for me.

I only have a couple minutes left, so I'll stop here...."

Man... this is crazy.

Soooooo crazy.

But so great.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Today's the day

So.  Today I'll be set apart as a full-time missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  After 8:30 tonight, when i will be set apart, my life will be a lot different.  There's a part of me that feels like this is totally surreal--that I'm not actually going to be entering the MTC in less than 24 hours, that I'm not going to be starting a completely new chapter of my life, that I'm not really going to be Hermana Croft instead of Jessica for 18 months.  However, there's another part of me that feels that this is all normal--that of course this is the next step for me, that it's natural that I'll be on the Lord's errand for a year and a half, and that I can't think of anything else I should do instead.  It's a strange combination of emotions.

People keep asking me what's going through my mind right now, and I keep telling them that I feel like my brain has turned off because my heart is in overdrive.  It's been a very emotional few weeks as I've prepared to leave. My heart is bursting with a lot of things--gratitude for the charity and support that my friends, family, and ward members have shown me; nervousness and excitement about all of the things that I'm about to experience; loneliness because of the people I'm leaving behind; and also an immense love for many people, both the people in my life right now and the people I'm about to encounter in the MTC and in California.  While my heart is very full, and even a little chaotic, my mind is calm (at least in comparison).  For the past few weeks, my mind has been a mess, but today, as I'm very near to departure, my mind is more clear.  I'm realizing that I really only have one thing to think about--my commitment to doing the will of my Heavenly Father.  I don't have to freak out about Spanish or whether or not I have enough clothes, or whether or not my companions will like me.  I don't need to stress about graduate school, or my bank account, or who will be married and gone by the time I get back.  I only have to think about being committed to doing my best to do what I've been called to do, which is to bring others to Jesus Christ.  I'm confident that as long as I am committed, the other things will come naturally.  I'll have the desire and the ability to study, to care for others, to work hard, and to push through the loneliness and let-downs.  What's more, I know that God does bless us for serving Him by serving others.

While I do feel inadequate for what I'm about to do, and while I am quite scared for what lies ahead, I'm also ready to start this.  The biggest thing that's driving me forward right now is the tie I already feel with the people I'm about to meet.  I've never felt like this before--so connected with people that I don't even know yet.  It's very humbling, and very motivating for me, because I want these individuals to be able to hear the message that has brought so much into my life--that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world, and that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is His church.  I can't think of any other message I'd rather share.