Mission Memories

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Today... ah, today.

Today is November 30th. Exactly six years ago, I was on a plane leaving Arizona, heading for Utah (not far, I know...) to train and serve as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

From Nov. 30, 2005 to June 27, 2007 I was one of thousands of young people who voluntarily take time out of our lives to serve.

A missionary's purpose is stated clearly in the first chapter of Preach My Gospel (a guide put out by the Church to help train missionaries and members alike to speak to non-members about our beliefs).

In a training, arm wrestling with my MTC companion.
She's from Nigeria.
Invite others to come unto Christ by helping them to receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end.

And that's essentially what I did for nineteen months.

I was blessed to be able to serve on Temple Square, in Salt Lake City, Utah. When I first opened my call, I was angry.... There's kind of an expectation that when you go on a mission you serve somewhere different from where you grew up.

Utah really isn't that different from Arizona... aside from the snow of course...

Temple Square is a major historical site for our Church. Many buildings that were built by out ancestors still stand (though most have been renovated and reinforced). Nearby is also the main headquarters of the Church, where our volunteer leaders conduct their business.

Here ---->
is a picture of me in front of the Salt Lake City Temple. It's a beautiful building that took the Mormon Pioneers forty years to build, from 1853 to 1893.

Nearby is the famous Mormon Tabernacle, which is the home of the *amazing* Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Next to that is the Assembly Hall - kind of a smaller version of the Tabernacle where regular Sunday Services were held; like a chapel.

There are also two modern buildings dedicated to answering visitors' questions, one on the north side of the Square, and one on the south.

Outside the actual Square, but not far, is a place called The Beehive House, where Brigham Young lived. He was the second modern prophet in this era. Known to some as a "Modern Moses," he was the leader who led the Saints across the plains from Illinois and Missouri, to the Salt Lake Valley.

Because of the historic (and free of charge) nature of these things, people come from all over the world to see them... and I do mean ALL over the world. Thus, as a missionary I and the other sisters were official representatives who could answer questions and tell them about the history and meaning behind the buildings.

I got to meet and form friendships with sisters from many countries. My trainer (pictured here <--) is from the Philippines, as was the sister I trained. I also had companions from South Korea, Hong Kong, Iran (in a roundabout way), and Italy, not to mention lots of States... Arizona, California, Kentucky, Illinois, etc.... I was roommates with sisters from Laos, Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, England, etc... and simply became friends with sisters from Bulgaria, Lithuania, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Algeria, Zambia, Switzerland, Sweden, Norway, Finland, France, Spain, Germany, Ukrain, Russia, Guatemala, Chile, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Honduras, Japan, Macao, Haiti, Puerto Rico, Mongolia, various Pacific Islands, South Africa, Gahna, and... Canada.

(I may have missed some, my apologies to any sisters whose countries - or states - I forgot...)

It was an amazing time. I learned so much, and grew every day. I'm so grateful I decided to go. I could blog about my mission and the amazing miracles I saw all day long. Perhaps I'll tell you more about it in the future, but for now I think this is good.

Six years... wow. Time sure does fly. I remember being a missionary and wondering if it would ever end... Then it got closer to the end, and I wanted it to go on forever. Even now, I sometimes have dreams of going back and doing it all over again - and I believe I would in a heartbeat. I was so blessed from the experience... and it's bizarre to think it's been so long! Now I'm married, have a kid, and am writing three novels! God works in mysterious ways, but I never question them - He knows what He's doing.

>> 143, sisters. <<

Your Multi-cultural Missionary,

Page Traveler

I should also mention that I served for four months (Sept 2006-Jan 2007) in the Portland, Oregon area... it's something special for Sisters who serve on the Square... or at least it used to be. They've changed a lot of policy in recent years, so I don't know if it's the same or not, but that's how it worked when I was there. I loved Oregon. I missed the sun sometimes, but I love the rain and clouds, so I had a blast.

Any questions? Post them here and I'll answer them!
There's also a website (Mormon.org) made by the Church specifically for answering questions if you want to check it out.

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