Saturday, June 20, 2015

All Set Apart and Nowhere to Go

I was set apart Sunday, June 7 but wasn't assigned to report until Wednesday, June 10. So early Monday morning, I said my goodbyes to my family and flew out to Utah to stay with one of my favorite people, who I hadn't seen in seven weeks! It felt like a long time apart until I remembered that it'll be about ten times that until I see her again. But we have had the best time.

I cannot get over how beautiful Utah is! The weather has been perfect, the mountains are beautiful, and there is something to be said for dry heat, coming from the ever-humid South. Temple Square is one of the most glorious places on Earth, I've decided. Pictures don't do it justice. There are flowers everywhere, the buildings are breathtaking, and the spirit there is absolutely wonderful. 

The highlight of the adventure, as beautiful as the flowers are, was seeing family members after years and years. It was so fun to reconnect with aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents I hadn't even planned to see. Emily and I were blessed to play a concert at the retirement home where my 99-year-old great-grandmother lives. Her life is a true legacy, as she has over 100 descendants, many of whom have served missions and served in other ways to touch and change lives. She is a golden example of what it means to be faithful, and coming up on 100 years! I told her she doesn't look a day over 90 - and she is just as mentally strong as ever.

This is Emily, and I will finish this post before the weekly letters start coming in from Sister Jorgensen! On Wednesday morning before heading to the MTC, Sister Jorgensen and I stopped at the Pleasant Grove cemetery where, with the help of Sister Jorgensen's Grandfather, we found her late Grandmother's grave. It took a lot of searching, so it was especially exciting when we finally found it. 
Finally, Wednesday afternoon at 1:10, we pulled up to the MTC and a cute sister missionary took our picture before Sister Jorgensen went into the MTC. She will be sorely missed, but there is nowhere better for our Janette to be! She's already doing great things. More updates to come. God speed!

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Pre-Mission Thoughts

An excerpt from my journal on February 1, 2015...

I submitted my mission papers on January 14, 2015. My assignment was made January 21, 2015. I received my call in the mail yesterday, January 31, 2015, after ten days of increasingly impatient waiting...I have been called to the Japan Fukuoka Mission! As in, I'm learning (and teaching the gospel in) Japanese! Japan was truly the last place I expected to go. My sister guessed it yesterday right before I opened it, and I straight-up laughed. I felt like I'd considered everywhere in the world...I can't believe it. I'm going to Japan.

I am learning what it means to rely on the Lord. You can't think too much about it or you'll overthink it. Take a prompting from the Spirit and run with it, never looking back. That's what I'm doing. I submitted my papers without analyzing every possible outcome. If I had, I would have scared myself out of it. I just DID it. And now [in four days] I'm going to the MTC, hoping that the language sticks and just go DO it.

I know that the Lord will help me. As Grandpa told me many times, I will touch lives not only by being able to speak the language, but also by showing love to others and sharing my talents.

...I don't know the first thing about Japan.

Serving a mission has always been a desire of mine, especially after seeing how missions have blessed the lives of my family and friends. I have been blessed with opportunities to grow in my faith through service, study, and observing and interacting with others. While the mission will be a time of incredible growth for me individually, that is not my primary motivation to serve. I am serving a mission because I want others to experience the joy and peace that comes from living the gospel.

Eighteen months is a relatively long time for a college student. I will not receive any academic credit or be compensated by any other means for my time. I will return to school with six more semesters to go in the spring of 2017. I will communicate through letters and emails, skyping my family on Christmas and Mother's Day. I will learn to eat suspicious foods with chopsticks. Ride a bike in all-too-familiar heat and humidity. Wear a skirt always. Speak a new language. Teach in a new language. Love strangers. Study the scriptures with more purpose and fulfillment. Increase my love for and testimony of my Savior Jesus Christ as I share the gospel with a few of His "other sheep."

The gospel is true: it was truly restored by the power of God through a prophet, Joseph Smith, in these the latter days, and the principles and ordinances within are equally inspired and true. The Book of Mormon is the "most correct of any book on the earth," detailing history of God's people in the Americas and prophesying of things which have and will come to pass. I don't take anyone's word for it, I believe it independently. And because of that, I happily put my life on hold to help bring that message to another corner of the world.