In The Eyes Of A Future Missionary
Every summer, the Cincinnati Ohio Stake holds an annual youth conference. This is where the youth come together from the stake and either do a service project, or some sort of activity in the space of three days. This year, July 2011, we had the opportunity to have our Youth Conference in Palmyra, New York. At first, the leaders simply knew that we just didn't have the money to go to New York. We were going to just go to Kirtland, Ohio again. Through faith and prayer, our stake
was able to go to Palmyra. Our director, Sister Derenthal knew that that is where the Lord wanted us to go.
When I first heard we were going to Palmyra, New York for conference, I wasn't jumping for joy. I just recently graduated high school and I was done with stake activities. I have been to four conferences already. I had no desire to go. Something changed my decision. Some of the young women heard that I didn't want to go and weren't thrilled. They somehow managed to change my mind. Changing my decision and deciding to go would forever change my life. So I
turned my papers in and was ready for conference!
Once we arrived in New York, we settled in our dorms and unpacked our bags. I kept telling myself that I would rather be at home watching football or sleeping. I was not in the right mindset once things got rolling. I just had this complete
negative attitude about the whole trip. I heard we were going on some tours to see historical church sites, and I was not excited. With this, I decided to stop and contemplate. The only thing I could think of was my brother David. He would not of been very proud of my actions. I couldn't do this to not only him, but to myself. So I kneeled down in prayer. I prayed for a whole new attitude and a chance to make a change. After the prayer, I felt a sense of relief and smiled. I was ready for whatever was ahead of me that day.
After getting a tour of the Visitors' Center, my group (the stake was divided into groups of 25) was taken into the chapel. When I walked through the doors of the chapel, I saw my first sister missionary. My heart dropped. I said to myself: "Oh great, a sister missionary. Let's see what she's made of." Once she spoke about the chapel and gave her testimony, I was speechless. She blew me away. All I could do at that point was listen. Flashbacks were running through my mind about how as a child all I wanted to be was a sister missionary. This sister missionary just reminded me of why sister missionaries are important and amazing. My mood just hit a 360, and I couldn't help but to smile. Afterwards, my friend Sarah Biery and I had the opportunity to take a picture with her. I later learned that her name was Sister Thomas.
As time went on, sister missionaries just kept coming. They were all over the place! There were so many! I was even tempted to look in a garbage can to see if one would pop out. Each sister missionary was unique and loving. They all gave wonderful testimonies and you could see that they were true representatives of the Lord. I can't thank them enough for their examples and reminding me of why going on a mission really is an amazing opportunity. They are strong and righteous women that are being blessed by the Lord through teaching His gospel.
At the pageant, it was a whole new ball game. There were thousands of people all around me. It was a good thing that my whole group wore our blue conference shirts because I wouldn't of been able to find anyone. Once we arrived, I immediately went around to find the sister missionaries. First I had to get a drink, because I was thirtsy. When walking toward the concession stand, we saw Sister Thomas! Again, first one I met, first one we saw at the pageant. Pretty awesome. Afterwards, we decided to find another sister missionary named Sister Crook. She was nowhere to be found. We looked all over the place for about an hour. I was getting restless. We started chanting her name:"Sister Crook! Sister Crook!" People looked at us crazy. At the very last moment, Sarah yelled:"There she is!" We ran like crazy toward her. I was angry and relieved at the same time. Then it was time to watch the pageant. The pageant was unbelievable. The Book Of Mormon stories came to life. I got goosebumps watching. The spirit was so strong. The effects were beyond amazing and so detailed. Everything was on point and accurate. I couldn't of asked for a better show. The hard work and time payed off. Leaving the pageant, I felt renewed and energized. I had a different outlook on the Book of Mormon and gained a stronger testimony of the Book of Mormon. It is the word of God and can change your life if you read it and ponder it.
If I chose not to go to Palmyra, New York, I would of never of met the sister missionaries. After the conference, I became more humble than ever before. I had a new look on life. Saying I have been changed is an understatement. I have been transformed into something greater, This experience will be one that I will remember forever. I am preparing now physically, mentally, and most of all, spiritually for my mission. Once I hit the MTC, my whole world will change. I will have the opportunity to participate in the Lord's work. There's not a day that goes by that I don't think about when I first stepped into the chapel and met Sister Thomas.