In October of 2012, I was on a bus headed from the Utah Shakespeare Festival. Unfortunately this weekend was supposed to be the blessed weekend gathered around the living room with conference bingo and well loved notebooks. I had plans to watch the conference Saturday session when I returned. On that fateful afternoon my phone started to go off with increased frequency, something amazing had happened. An announcement that is now working in my life today. As so many of my faithful fellow sisters heard that day, the age for sisters leaving on a mission had been moved from the elusive age of twenty-one to nineteen.
This news however did not proclaim a new pathway for my life, showing me now that I should go on a mission. In fact, I Calee Gardner had already decided as a twelve year old that I would serve a mission. I would hold out against any alternating opportunity or pathway until I was twenty-one and serve. I felt somehow cheated out of my previous vigor to be bold in declaring His gospel no matter the age because this new age was so… convenient. I even considered waiting to go until I was twenty-one as to not appear to have “Jumped on the Band Wagon”. Luckily, I have grown spiritually and mentally from that younger woman receiving text messages on a bus filled with exuberant actors. I am so glad that the change has helped so many more women rise up and join the force, the mission is not for everyone, but I am glad that it was for me. I prayed to find out if serving a mission would be a good plan and path for me and luckily it proved true.
How, you may ask, did a twelve year old know that she would want to serve a mission? I was reading the Book of Mormon for the fourth or fifth time, and as I read it, it seemed that every passage, every story, every scripture, pointed to sharing the Gospel of Christ. Every testimony shared within it’s well marked, well loved pages pointed to a pursuit of sharing the life, love, and light of the gospel. I prayed when I finished reading it, and I felt an overwhelming warmth and confirmation that I should serve a mission. It was that confirmation that led me to participate faithfully in mission prep and scripture study to prepare myself and my testimony.
I received my call on October 8 2014 and drove down from my little apartment so I could open at my home with all my family. I was beyond overjoyed when I read that I would be serving in the Alpine-German Speaking mission. And burst into happy tears a second time when I read that I would go to the England MTC.
Everyone asks you where you would want to go before you open your call. They make a game of it, guessing on little slips of paper before the envelope is slit. I knew that I would be so glad to serve wherever the lord needed me, glad to go and teach whatever people the lord saw fit. All this was true, yet deep in my heart I hoped I would get to speak German, the tiny sliver that dared to hope. And my heart’s desire was brought to life, not only would I speak German, but I would get to teach a people who’s culture and lifestyle I had spent four years learning about. I could share in their daily struggles and triumphs. I will be serving in a part of the world I have always wanted to see. Literally living the lessons of my German class from Junior High and High School.
So now, here I am four months later and I will be leaving in nine days. This blog will serve as my means to communicate to family, friends, prospective missionaries, and anyone curious enough to take part in my story. I hope that I can inspire those who read this personal memoir and can be edified by my testimony. I should be posting once a week, as part of my weekly email home.
Thank you for reading and for your continued support, don’t forget to drop me a line and let me know how life is going, if you have questions, or if this little blog has touched you somehow. Veil Gluck und Danke!