Some of you ladies might be trying to decide whether or not to serve a mission. In the end, it is between you and God, but hopefully this will give you some things to think about.
For starters, sit down and think about why you are considering serving a mission. Be honest with yourself. Please make sure it’s not for any of the following reasons:
- because your boyfriend’s going, and it will help the time go by faster
- because now that they switched the age to 19, you kind of feel like you’re expected to
- because you’re not dating anyone
- because you have a strong testimony and love the gospel*
- because you’re not quite sure what to do with your life right this minute
- because people keep telling you, “You’d make such a good missionary!”
- because you want to learn the gospel/scriptures better
- because you feel ANY sort of pressure, from ANYONE, for ANY reason
When it comes down to it, none of those are good reasons. You should serve a mission if, and only if you have a strong desire to, you are mentally and physically able to, and you really feel like it’s the right thing for you to do at that point in your life. Pretty simple, yet it’s amazing how often people (both guys and girls) go for the wrong reasons. I can’t tell you how many girls (and guys) end up going home early from their missions because they weren’t there for the right reasons. Save yourself the (unwarranted) shame and embarrassment – make sure you REALLY want to go.
Let me make one thing very clear: Missions are hard!! Yes, I’m sure you’ve heard people say (ad nauseum), “It was the hardest 2 years (1.5) of my life, but it was the best 2 years of my life.” That phrase is a personal pet peeve of mine. It’s almost as if the second half attempts to erase the first half. Missions are hard, no bones about it. I can’t adequately describe how hard a mission is, but check out “Day to Day” in the FAQ’s for a basic idea. Serving a mission is extremely grueling, both physically and mentally, and you don’t get a break for the entire year and a half. Not everybody is cut out for a schedule like that, and that’s okay! You can still be a strong member, and a great wife and mother, without having served a mission.
If you do decide to go, for the right reasons, you will be blessed. You will have wonderful experiences. You will grow as a human being. But don’t expect it to be a spiritual high, 24/7. You will be sorely disappointed. For most people, the good outweighs the bad/hard. I know that doesn’t sound very cheerful/optimistic, but that’s not what this website is here for. This website is intended to provide an honest look at serving a mission, and sometimes the truth isn’t pretty. Most RM’s refuse to say anything negative about their mission, aside from my favorite quote. It’s as if they think that talking about the sucky parts makes them a bad person, or means that they didn’t serve an honorable mission. Sadly, this leaves most potential missionaries with a very skewed idea of what a mission is like. In my opinion, if somebody is going to sacrifice a year and a half of their life, they should at least understand (somewhat) what they’re getting into.
*Don’t get me wrong – this is definitely a prerequisite. But not everybody who has a strong testimony and loves the gospel needs to serve a mission.