If you had asked me a year or so ago if I was going to serve a mission, I probably would have told you no. It's been interesting to listen to all of the people getting their calls and a lot of them have always known they would serve a mission. I didn't. I didn't think it was in my plan. I had a set plan in mind for myself and a mission, as a young adult, was not a part of that plan. I had thought about serving a mission later in life with my future spouse but that was a long time from now and I didn't need to worry about it. When I was growing up, boys served missions at 19 and girls could serve at 21. It has always been an option for girls to serve missions, but never a requirement and I thought that if I was nearing the age of 21 and I wasn't headed anywhere in life, then I would seriously consider a mission.
Then, in October 2012, President Thomas S. Monson made the mission age change announcement. I'll never forget sitting in my grandparent's kitchen and watching the Prophet announce to the whole world that worthy, able young men could now be recommended for missionary service beginning at age 18 and sisters at age 19. At this announcement, my grandmother, who was at that time preparing to serve a mission with my grandfather, pulled me into a hug and tearily exclaimed something to the effect of, "that means YOU!" I still get so emotional every time I watch the clip of the announcement. In 2012 I didn't think this change applied to me but now as I watch and re-watch this video, I know with all of my heart that this age change was inspired and even though it has affected and will continue to affect many people, it was meant for me.
I've heard a lot of people, girls especially, say they KNEW this announcement was for them and that a mission was what they were supposed to do NOW. Honestly, as I sat in the kitchen that day, all I could think was that I needed to get my life in order and start thinking about what I was going to do with my life. I didn't get a feeling that a mission was for me. I didn't know if this announcement would have any affect on my future. Looking back, I think the prompting was there. I was just pushing it away. As I look back at most of my life, I honestly see that I pushed away and ignored many feelings that were prompting me to go on a mission. I've taken that expression from a friend of mine who said the same thing in her farewell talk. I didn't know why at the time, but that statement of hers really touched me and I can see now that I, too, have been ignoring and resisting the promptings to serve a full-time mission.
But here I am. My papers have been submitted, I have been assigned to a Mission, and I leave in 63 short days. What made me change my mind? It was a lot of things and a lot of changing on my part. My heart was hardened against the idea of serving a mission and that was wrong. I have always been supposed to go and I know the Lord needs me in California. I don't know why but I do know there is a reason.