The Call

A few pictures/thoughts about opening my call:

Hermana Lewis

I opened my mission call on Black Friday, 2012.

Surrounded by loving friends and family.

I waited 8 days, but it was worth it.

It didn’t go exactly as planned.

Technology problems and time miscommunications.

But those didn’t matter.

I had a dream the night before–I got called to Provo, Utah.

But I was still content with my call.

I woke up knowing I would be happy.

No matter where I served.

I knew this was a good thing.

So many people crammed in my living room.

Plus more on cell phones and laptops.

I am so loved.

Posters by the door filled with guesses, all over the globe.

The first time I held my call was seconds before I opened it.

My postage was $1.70.

My mom was shaking.

I opened my call quickly.

I read it line by line.

Dear Sister Lewis:

You are hereby called to serve as a missionary of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

You are assigned to labor in the Florida Tampa Mission.

It is anticipated that you will serve for a period of 18 months.

You should report to the Provo Missionary Training Center on Wednesday, March 6, 2013.

You will prepare to preach the gospel in the Spanish language.

The living room erupted with cheers after every sentence.

My grandpa guessed it right, down to the exact mission.

He stood up and fist pumped.

I smiled. I laughed. I felt so calm.

I’m going to Tampa, Florida.

I couldn’t be more excited.

Call me Hermana Lewis, ya’ll.

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The Beginning

I decided to start this blog with a little bit of background. So I’m including a couple posts from my other blog. This one was about how I decided that a mission was for me:

Just a Quick Life-Altering Announcement

I don’t think anyone really expected the message that came to us from our dear prophet Thomas Spencer Monson that October morning. I sure didn’t. In fact, I was still asleep when it happened. I woke up to my phone vibrating loudly on my windowsill. My eyes squinted open to see the sun peeking through the cracks and folds of my cheap plastic blinds. Still groggy, I lazily checked the time on my phone. It was around 10:20ish. Conference started at 10…SHOOT. I opened my Macbook (which I conveniently keep right by my pillow…not for late-night Netflix or anything…) and began to set up the General Conference broadcast. While my computer was loading, I checked my notifications. Both were texts from my Mom, which was typical. I was only expecting a routine check-in, a reminder to watch conference, or maybe a funny comment Madi had made lately.

–Cue mini heart attack–

“Did u just hear that about YW serving missions when they are 19! And YM when they are 18… effective immediately! Wow!”

“I’m in tears thinking that you could serve a mission now if you felt like it was right for you. Incredible! Love u honey!”

Umm. WHAT.

By the time General Conference finally started streaming, Quentin L. Cook was well into his talk. But who needs to watch the live event when you have social networks, right? I scrolled through Twitter on my phone to find tweet after tweet about the mission age change. Most were awed, inspired, and amazed. Some were resentful. And still others were just annoyed with everyone tweeting about the same thing. (PAUSE. These are the worst kind of people, by the way. Stop complaining about the things you read on your twitter feed, that’s something you control almost entirely. When in doubt, unfollow… RESUME.) So it was true, girls can now leave 2 years earlier. Well that’s awesome.

So why am I crying.

 I couldn’t focus one bit through the rest of conference. My mind just kept flashing through the What-Ifs that were quickly turning into legitimate possibilities for my future, coming up with reasons why I could be feeling this way: “I could go on a mission. Maybe that’s why I’ve had a hard time making friends. Maybe that’s why I can’t decide on a career path or even a major. Maybe I’ll get sent to GermanyArgentinaAfricaUtah(?!)JapanLondonSamoaVirginiaPhillipinesandohyeahWHERE IS THIS COMING FROM?!”

 The thing is, I’m not the kind of person who makes decisions until that decision is right in front of me, doing headstands and backflips until I attend to it. I thrive on deadlines. I cross the bridge only when I see it beneath my feet. Also known as deferred indecisiveness. Making decisions (even small ones) gives me serious anxiety, so I avoid them at all costs. Therefore, a mission was not even on my mind. And it wouldn’t cross my mind until I was 20 ¾ and single with no other previous plans or anything (anyone) to keep me home.

So, with my brain, emotions, and future plans in shambles, I did the only thing I could do. I called my dad. Sobbing. As it turns out, there are ZERO places to have private conversations when you live in dorms on campus. So I hid in some trees behind a building while I cry-talked my way through my thoughts with the person who knows me best. And it definitely helped. I had a confirmation that I really couldn’t make a bad decision in my situation, and a reminder that my parents love me no matter what I do. (How blessed am I?)

Soon after, my darling friend Lexi came to my rescue, pint of ice cream and caramel apple in hand. We ate ice cream (okay mostly me…) and conversed, as only best friends can, until our spoons scraped the bottom of the container.

The thing is, I am a very logical person, and I often don’t trust my feelings. My method is to rationally meditate on an idea until it consumes my every thought and I come to a conclusion. If the conclusion makes sense, that’s when I accept the idea. But only then. I think I turned to my Dad and Lex because they are both logical as well, and could help me think through the whole picture. But I still hadn’t made a decision.

The next couple weeks brought an absurd amount of chaos: midterms, birthday celebrations, visits from Dad, visits from Mom and the kiddies, prayer, fasting, support from some of my best friends, reading my patriarchal blessing (that was a big one), and talking about this new possibility constantly.

So many girls talked about wanting to go on a mission their whole life and that they were starting their papers the very day the announcement was made. You girls, I admire you.

I wish I could say for a surety that this is something I’ve always wanted to do. But it’s not.

I wish I could say I have prepared my whole life with the intent to teach others about the gospel. But I haven’t.

I wish I could say that I know that serving a mission is definitely what I need to do right now. But I still don’t.

There’s a lot of talk about girls going on a mission for the “wrong reasons”: to make the wait for their boyfriends easier or ‘just because they can.’ People argue that girls aren’t ready, and haven’t prepared the way the boys have. Can I just put a big fat BS stamp on that right now? Who are we to judge if someone is doing a good thing for the “wrong reasons”? Who are we to say someone ‘isn’t ready’? Who in the world is ready to change people’s lives at 18/19? Who is ready for that ever?? Nobody. But that’s why we have the Lord. I truly believe that anyone with a real desire to be a missionary will be a great missionary.

I’m not going to say I’ve had some huge, life-changing revelation and now I know that this is absolutely and unquestionably what I need to do right now. I don’t have that kind of certainty about anything. But I’m young, I’m ahead in school, I’m not tied down to anyone or anything, and I have a testimony that this church is true and a desire to share that with others. I can’t think of anything better to be doing with my time than to serve the Lord and his children. I think it’s time I took President Hinckley’s advice to “forget yourself and go to work.” So my papers are officially in and I’ll be opening my call over Thanksgiving Break. If any of you lovelies came, it would mean the world to me.

I, Morgan Ashley Lewis, will soon be a missionary for my Heavenly Father.

And I can’t wait.