In hindsight, everything until the moment I started my mission papers lead me to this decision. The most influential moments being, first, listening to a few sisters in my ward speak about their missions. Second, a seemingly random but inspired comment in a sacrament meeting. And last, a question written to be answered in the October 2012 session of General Conference.
1. For a mutual activity, women from the ward spoke to us about their missions. These are women I hope I can emulate in even the smallest degree. As a 16 year old, listening to their experiences and looking at how those experiences have shaped their current lives, I knew I wanted that. It was, since that moment, always a desire of mine.
2. August 2012 I had just moved back to Boise to begin another year at Boise State University. The first sacrament meeting I attended there that year, was shockingly about the everlasting covenant of marriage. Welcome back to singles ward! During one of the talks, a young man told us he felt impressed to say something, then he proceeded to testify of sisters going on missions. Encouraging those thinking about missions to go! As I sat in the congregation, I thought, "gee, I wonder who here needed to hear that and will be serving a mission." After looking around at the girls in the congregation, I realized it was for me. I started bawling I mean BAWLING and I knew in that moment without a doubt I would serve a mission. After sacrament ended, I called my mom and said, "mom, I'm going on a mission!" to which she replied, "I knew you would." That next week I started applying to other schools and met with my advisor to see what taking a year and a half to serve a mission would do to my education.
3. With letters of acceptance to multiple schools and my skewed education timeline adding stress to my life, I wrote a question. General Conference was that coming weekend and I needed reassurance. I wrote:
"10/2/12 Am I to go on a mission? Or rather, is my decision to go on a mission what I should be doing?" Needless to say my question was answered. I was to serve a mission and I was to serve it sooner rather than later.
The gospel of Jesus Christ is true, isn't it? It has been restored on the earth today, hasn't it? Isn't that reason enough? The gospel brings knowledge and with that knowledge comes power, meaning, and happiness because it is true and complete and real. I want to share that power and meaning and happiness. 2 Nephi 25:26 I want people to know what source they can look to for a remission of their sins! I want to help others know The Lord and know their worth, divine nature and potential.
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland said,
"I promise that because of your faithful response to the call to spread the gospel, He will bind up your broken hearts, dry your tears, and set your families free. That is my missionary promise to you and your missionary message to the world."
So, yes, I am serving for me. For the blessings to come to me, for the skills I will lean, for the knowledge I will gain, for the bettering of my relationship with my Savior and my Heavenly Father and the Holy Ghost and for the pains and heartaches and disappointments that will strengthen me. I am doing it for me.
And, most of all, I am serving a mission for my family. Elder Holland promises my family will be set free! I know, as I serve, The Lord will take special care of my family because I have asked Him to. I know He loves each of them because He has granted to me just a portion of that love, a portion so consuming I cannot even imagine it comes in greater capacity. My family, past, present, and future, deserves the Lord's Chelsea, not some fleeting creation of my own power and ideas, but the broken, beat up, burned Chelsea. The Chelsea that through reliance on Jesus Christ, by serving Him and His children is refined, is mentally, socially, spiritually healthier, is more confident and stronger, is whole! They deserve that Chelsea. I owe them this. My little brother Cole has been sent to go save us seats in heaven and I serve that our reunion will be sweet. I am serving that my family beyond the grave, my family here on earth, and my family to come will all live together forever through the redeeming power of the Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. HE LIVES, HE LOVES US, HE KNOWS US, AND HE HAS PROVIDED A WAY FOR US ALL TO RETURN TO LIVE WITH HIM AGAIN and I serve that all may know this!