Saturday, January 23, 2016

In the beginning

Most of this blog will be Angela's group emails.

However, I'm going to give a little history. Angela first really started thinking about serving an LDS mission when she was about 14 years old. It really wasn't until the age was changed in 2012 that it became more real. The age change for LDS missionaries affected us double fold in that my son chose to leave 9 months earlier than he would have before (for males, the age was changed from 19 to 18 as the minimum age requirement), and for my girls, this upped the possibility of them serving missions by two years! This was kind of hard for me thinking about my little family unit being changed forever a year sooner than I had anticipated, but it was also an answer to prayers.

Angela was very excited. She made a plan. She decided the year after she graduated she would work for the summer in Alaska to earn money, while getting a job in the mean time to also make money during school. She saved over half of each paycheck for her mission.

As she started into the application process for the job in Alaska, she realized if she went she would not be here when her brother returned home from his two year mission to Honduras. She wrestled with this for months, trying to decide whether to go or not. She was full of turmoil and anxiety. It was her senior year in high school, at a point where she is expected to make a lot of life changing decisions, so she was full of anxiety anyways, but this only added to it. After several months, we talked yet again and suggested that maybe she should fast and pray about NOT going to work in Alaska instead. This is when she finally felt some peace, but it was accompanied by great disappointment. This was her plan, one she very much looked forward to. One of her best friends did go, and she would write and call, telling Angela how much she would like it. After her brother came home, I think she some times wondered at her decision. I saw them rebuild their friendship and personally, am glad she was home so that our whole family could do some things together once

Picking Sean up at the airport

This is what I found when I woke up the first morning after he got home.
Our favorite spot up Blacksmith Fork Canyon

Hiking Richard's Hollow
The Blacksmith Fork Freedom Run

Have to get in a REAL game

After doing baptisms at the temple

The Pitcher Family Reunion

Awesome cabin with the Timothy's
Crimson Trail

General Conference
When the time came that she could start on her papers, she went into her interview with the bishop full of anticipation. She came out a little disheartened. He told her that he thought she should do a little more soul searching. Going on a mission is a good thing, a great thing, but he wanted her to be sure it was what she is supposed to do and not to do it just because it's a good thing. She was very worried in that she didn't feel like she had ever received any clear cut answers to things up to that point in her life. The whole thing with Alaska left her feeling unsure and she often wondered if she did the right thing. She had felt the spirit in knowing truth and when serving others, but when it came to making decisions in her life, she felt that often things were left up to her.

She began praying in earnest. She had decided years ago she would serve a mission if she was eligible when she became of age, but she didn't know for sure what the Lord's plan was for her. She decided to attend the temple to do baptisms and to fast. While she was sitting in the chapel in the temple, she picked up a triple combination to read. It opened right to Doctrine & Covenants section four.

"1 Now behold, a marvelous work is about to come forth among the children of men.
2 Therefore, O ye that embark in the service of God, see that ye serve him with all your heart, might, mind and strength, that ye may stand blameless before God at the last day.
3 Therefore, if ye have desires to serve God ye are called to the work;
4 For behold the field is white already to harvest; and lo, he that thrusteth in his sickle with his might, the same layeth up in store that he perisheth not, but bringeth salvation to his soul;
5 And faith, hope, charity and love, with an eye single to the glory of God, qualify him for the work.
6 Remember faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, brotherly kindness, godliness, charity, humility, diligence.
7 Ask, and ye shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. Amen.

She knew she was supposed to go on a mission. She came home with a glow of happiness and assurance, she knew this was God's plan for her. In hind sight, I know this was good for me too. I felt his reassurance and knew she would be taken care of.

As she started into the paperwork, she talked of how she would be happy wherever the Lord sent her, but she really wanted to speak a foreign language, and a foreign land would be a bonus. Especially if she learned Spanish so she could talk to her brother more without the rest of us understanding. Nice, I know.

Her papers were submitted August 18th. After three weeks and no call, she was getting anxious. She checked the mail everyday September 9-13. We told her that the holiday on the 7th may have thrown things off a little, but on the 14th she decided she was not going to check the mail. She didn't want to be disappointed again. She figured she'd wait until Wednesday since that's the "day" we were told they often arrive. But the 15th was my birthday, and while everyone was gone to school, I decided to go get the mail, ya know, just cuz. And guess what was sitting there all by itself! I may add that I checked it before the mail carrier had delivered for the day so it actually came the day before. AHHHHH!

Happy birthday to me. We spent the night with a ridiculous amount of people crammed into our front room (she has amazing friends and family) for her to read her call. And...she was called to the Alaska Anchorage Mission!

I felt immediate peace. I knew this is where she was supposed to serve and she was so excited! She didn't even care about the foreign language anymore. She was ready.

And we have felt it every day since. I know she is supposed to serve a mission. I know she will do amazing things. I know it will be hard, for her and for those of us missing her at home. And I know, Alaska is where God needs her at this time.

Hugging my baby good bye at the MTC was hard, I really didn't want to let her go. I had to mentally tell myself it was time. Time to let her go. Time for her to move forward. Time for her to be a part of this "marvelous work".

dropping off at the MTC

We love you Sister Angela Johnson!

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