Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Where in the World Will Tess Go?

For those who do not know, when you send in the required forms to become a missionary, you have no idea where you are going. Literally. There are 400+ missions all over the world. That is why the time between submitting the papers and receiving a mission call is so stressful! I personally wanted to go somewhere foreign where I would be able to experience a different culture and maybe even learn a new language. However, I promised myself I wouldn't be terribly disappointed if I ended up going somewhere in the United States (where I was born and raised) speaking English. With those thoughts distracting me every second of every day, which is slightly problematic when you are trying to get through midterms, I submitted my papers and the wait started.

Finally, on October 6th, 2016, my call arrived! Some people wait and open their calls over the phone, or in front of a group of friends or family. Not me. I went to my room, closed the door, and positively mutilated the envelope trying to find out where I was going. It took a huge effort on my part not to just skip to the part of the page where I knew my assigned location would be listed (I have seen many, many mission calls over the past few years). Eventually, I got to the long-awaited sentence. It read:

"You are hereby called to serve as a missionary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. You are assigned to labor in the Georgia Atlanta North Mission."

Those are pretty powerful words, especially when you consider that they were sent by God's modern prophet. At first, I was a little bit disappointed that I'm not going anywhere too exotic and exciting, I'm not going to lie. Over the next few hours, however, as I told family and friends where I was going, I started to feel relieved and even excited! Mail will be able to get to me, I don't have to worry about messing up what I'm trying to say because I don't know the language, and I will still be in a very different culture than what I grew up in (the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains in California and northern Georgia are two very different places in so many ways). Plus, I didn't have to worry about getting ready while finishing up the semester of school I was in because I wasn't assigned to leave until February 1st, giving me all of January to get ready. Did I mention that Georgia is famous for my favorite fruit? Yes, peaches are a major plus in my mind.

As you can guess, I am now halfway through that month of preparation in anticipation of heading to the Missionary Training Center in 14 days! I am beyond excited and look forward to the experiences I will be having in Georgia while sharing the gospel I love with them!

While I am gone, my dear mother will be posting the letters and pictures I send her here for all the world to see! I hope you enjoy them!

- Soon-to-be Sister Houghton