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.