Christine’s answers to some questions for the youth of Elk Hollow ward (January 12 and 19 of 2015):
1.) How and when did you make the decision to serve a mission?
One morning, I woke up feeling a part of me very empty! I felt like there was a whole lot of happiness that Heavenly Father wanted to give me that I hadn’t received yet. I didn’t know exactly what would help me to feel FULL, but I began to pray. Sincere, heartfelt prayers had been lacking in my life in that time as well! During my prayer, I felt the distinct impression to make a choice about serving a mission or not. Doctrine and Covenants 9:8 came to mind, and I knew I had to decide to serve, or not to serve, and rather than waiting for a manifestation from the Heavens, I knew that by following the Lord’s counsel in that scripture I would know in my heart whether or not my decision was right. I chose to serve and immediately called the Bishop and my parents to tell them. I never received a confirmation in any ¨marvelous¨ way, nor was I even sure that it was the Lord´s will the day I left for Guatemala, but I have received countless small confirmations since the time I decided to serve. NOW I KNOW with a surety that it has always been a part of the Lord´s plan for me. I know that there were and are people here in Guatemala that need me, and more than anything, I know that my Savior wanted to let me be a part of His work so I could receive that fulness of joy and peace that I yearned to have.
2.) What was something you did prior to your mission that has made an impact in your service?
Develop a love for my Savior. That love has motivated me to be obedient from the first day of my mission, work as hard as I can, and learn to search for and do HIS will instead of my own.
3.) What was the biggest adjustment to life as a missionary and do you suggest anything for making the transition easier in this area?
My adjustment from normal life to life as a missionary was HUGE, but much of it came from being in a different country, speaking a different language, living with somebody I didn’t know, and feeling very ¨uncomfortable¨ and stretched. I think what helps most with this change is simply being so willing to submit your will to the Lord. And understanding that a certain kind of discomfort is GOOD for us and that the Lord stretches us so we will grow.
4.) What is a difficult experience you have had and how do you work to overcome it? (i.e. rejection, people not keeping commitments, issues with companionships, etc.)
Something that has been hard for me on my mission is seeing the people we meet and teach not accept the answers to their prayers about our message because they are too strongly tied to the world or because of fear to change. We work daily to strengthen our own personal testimonies and knowledge and always have the spirit with us so that when we testify, the spirit can work in their hearts to give them courage and peace. We have also had many prayers answered to know what to teach in lessons, sometimes even during the lesson, so that the Lord can teach our investigators what will help them increase their faith.
5.) What is a favorite experience and/or conversion story from your mission?
My companion and I were having a very, very hard day this past week. We had gone to contact a few references only to find empty houses and turned-off phones. Every single one of our lessons fell, and none of our back up plans were home. We had been walking all day long without having taught much. We had been knocking doors and contacting in the street without much success. We had even been told by one woman that she hoped we could ¨one day come to the knowledge of the truth.¨ We held prayers in our hearts as the day was coming to a close that Heavenly Father would let us feel just one tender mercy before returning back to the house. We were walking down the street with one of our recent converts and a woman passed by with her daughter on a motorscooter and began to talk to him. He motioned for us to come over and meet the woman and her daughter and told us SHE was one of the references we had been trying to contact earlier that day! We began talking and found out she was a member, that she had served a mission, that her father is the patriarch of the neighboring stake, and that after marrying a nonmember, she had not been to church in more years than she could remember. All three of us were in tears and she told us that her three children had been begging her to take them to church but she has felt hesitant. We set a date to visit her in her house and begin teaching her and her children and we are praying that the Lord will soften the heart of her husband so he will also accept our message. I know that the Lord puts us in the path of people who need to feel His spirit, and I know that the Lord lets us feel tender mercies when we do not abandon our purpose or our hope.