Everything leading up to my call was preparation for it. I knew I was going to serve and couldn’t wait to labor in some far off place. After four years of anticipation, the moment arrived. The air buzzed as loved ones surrounded the world map to guess where I would go
“Where do you want to go?” Everyone asked.
I never knew how to answer this. It scared me to acknowledge it. What if I didn’t get called to some exotic, far-off place? What if I was disappointed?
Shrugging, I’d go to my standby answer. “Anywhere is a new experience,” I answered truthfully. “The only other place I’ve been to is California and a few short visits to other states.”
Weeks before that, our family had visited San Diego. My dad grew up in So Cal so it was habit to vacation there. This time felt different, though. The moment we crossed into California I felt a desire to live there. I received so much revelation and knew that God was close.
Coming home from that trip, however, brought a storm of fear. I knew God could call me anywhere. I knew there was a good chance I’d speak Spanish. (Bad experiences with high school Spanish classes made this the last thing I wanted.)
The concept of “I’ll go where you want me to go” not only terrified me, it infuriated me. My heart was not aligned with God’s will, nor did it trust Him.
In the midst of my sea of doubt, a seminary lesson on Jonah came to mind. He wasn’t super hyped to go where the Lord called him either. Running might have felt easy at the time, but imagine the horror he felt in the midst of the storm or the panic of literally being thrown into the sea. He still had to face whatever things scared him about Nineveh but through those hard experiences he was changed. Humbled, Jonah fulfilled the Lord’s call and helped one of the most wicked cities come unto Christ.
I knew I couldn’t run from my call anymore. I wanted to help people know the truth of Christ’s gospel more than I wanted to serve in a far away place.
"Dear Sister Flores, you are hereby called to serve as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. You are hereby assigned to labor in the California Redlands mission.”
Just as predicted, I would be teaching in Spanish.
The Spirit flooded me the moment I read my call. It still floods me every time I think about it. I could not deny that this was exactly where I was meant to go. My heart overflowed with love for people I hadn’t even met yet. That moment was my hug from Heaven letting me know I’d be okay.
There were still moments, even on my mission, when I’d succumb to my natural "woman" and be angry. Spanish was still super hard to learn. I’d compare to friends and be frustrated. If you’ve felt that in any degree, I want you to know that THERE’S A REASON YOU’RE CALLED TO YOUR MISSION!
If you let Him, Heavenly Father will lead you to the exact reason you’re there. He’ll help you fall in love with the place and the people.
So if you too are wondering if you really want to “Go where [He] wants [you] to go” I can testify that He really knows best. It’s all worth it for those moments you find your purpose. Everything up to my mission prepared me to serve and everything I experienced on my mission prepared me for my life now. God truly is the perfect planner.
Sister Flores served in the California Redlands Mission.