Saturday, March 15, 2014

Pre-mission post: "If it wasn't for the last minute, nothing would get done."

Oh boy! I can't believe the day is here...well the actual day is four days away, but we're leaving tomorrow.

Have you ever felt like there are not enough hours in the day to get everything you want to get done accomplished? Well, that's how I've felt this every day, this entire week! I have been swamped with breakfast, lunch, and dinner dates with friends, on top of trying to pack, what will be my life for eighteen months. It's been crazy!
Here are just  a few pointers to future missionaries out there:


Yeah, that book right up there is helpful. I mistakenly thought that skimming it would suffice, it wasn't until lately (like two days ago lately) that I actually read the words on the pages and found out that I wouldn't be so unprepared if I had just read it in the beginning. Don't just skim it, because it has really important information in it that you should know about. 

So the "really important information," mentioned above, is fifty percent medical (in my opinion). Luckily, I was not born with any disabilities or diseases nor have I developed any in my life. I do not need glasses, or contacts, prescription medicine, or anything along those lines. I thank my Heavenly Father every day for the healthy body he has blessed me with. I do encourage anybody who is in need of anything similar to the items above to get them in and taken care of as soon as possible.

As a missionary, a physical needs to be performed, along with a dental check up and possible extraction of wisdom teeth. Well, I am lucky enough to know a few doctors, that were more than willing to help me out. President Hinkson performed my physical and he made it as quick and easy as possible. Just a little fun fact: President Hinkson's son-in-law served in the same mission as I am going to. President VanDam extracted all four of my wisdom teeth (that was not painful until I had an allergic reaction to the antibiotic--that's another story). And Brother Taylor did all my dentist work, which was surprisingly a lot.
Getting all of that out of the way was a relief in itself, and I made the foolish assumption that, that was it and that I was completely done with all the doctors visits. Let me stress something real quickly, if you wait to get anything done at the last minute (which I don't advise waiting for the last minute to do anything) make sure it's not your shots!
Get those done ASAP, because some of them are a series and they have to be spaced out between a set amount of days.

As much as we all dread going to the doctor, in the long run it will be worth it, especially if you'll be gone for eighteen months where you don't know what medical care will be available.

 Leave yourself at least five hours to shop for luggage

Okay, so my mom and I decided to go shopping for luggage last Saturday. I didn't think that it would take that long, I made the assumption that it would take about an hour or two. I knew, roughly, what brand and color I wanted and thought to myself, "this will be a piece of cake." Not so much. To make a long story short, we shopped at a couple of stores, at a local strip mall, that were recommended by other missonary-parents, but didn't find anything. We then went to the mall and hit up places like JC Penny's, Herbergers, and Sears. Of course, all three of those stores are at total opposite sides of the mall (it is safe to say we got an adequate amount of exercise in that day). JC Penny's luggage selection is very limited. I didn't look very hard, I did what I do best (skimmed the selection) and quickly made my way out of there. Meanwhile, my mom was at Herbergers so I met her there. I didn't find anything that struck my fancy so we decided to check Sears. Well Sears had a very vast selection of luggage. There was a Samsonite set that I fell in love with. The color and design were perfect and Samsonite was one of the brands that I was particularly looking for. The only problem was that the carry on for this set, exceeded the dimensional inches allowed (forty-two) on the plane. I was super bummed!
Just for those who haven't had to pack for a mission, we are allowed two checked bags, which are not supposed to exceed sixty-two dimensional inches and has to be under fifty pounds, and we're also allowed a carry on which is not supposed to exceed forty-two dimensional inches. Those numbers may vary depending on which mission you go to, but seeing how I'm flying internationally, the rules are enforced. Anyways, I had to pass up the Samsonite set, because I need a good-sized carry on. After more looking we found a Swiss Army set. I love Swiss Army. I got a Swiss Army backpack my freshman year of high school and used it all the way up to my freshman year of college, and will continue to use it when I go back to college. The thing is so durable and it holds so much, putting little to no strain on my back. So I couldn't say no to this Swiss Army set. Although, there was one problem: They didn't have the twenty-five inch (medium) bag in stock. They told me they could order one in, but that it wouldn't get here until March sixteenth, the day I'm leaving. I was devastated, but had an idea. There are other places around town that sell luggage, obviously, so would if I get the big bag and the little bag here and then try to find the medium bag somewhere around town. I thought that was good logic. My mom and I drove all around town to try to find the medium bag, but to no avail. Finally, we went back to sears and told them to order in the medium bag, luckily they were able to expedite (speed up- none of the Sears employees knew what this word meant--I thought it was kind of humorous) the shipping, and it got here within a matter of days.
TaDa! Here it is, and it only took five hours to get all three of bags picked out/ordered!

Like I said, I made the long story "short," so it might not have seemed like all of that took five hours, but it did and by the time it was all done and over with, I vowed that I will never shop for luggage again, or if I do, I'm going to start a month in advance.

Now that I've got my luggage I can start packing!
I found a very nice packing list, posted on Facebook, that helped me immensely while I was trying to remember everything I needed. Thank you Bryce Capener!
The final result is:
An almost-empty closet! There are just a few athletic shirts in there and the dresses that my mom has to do modifications on, but other than that I managed to stuff a majority of my wardrobe into three suitcases. 

Of course, last but not least-- pray and reading your scriptures.

For this is where the real strength comes from. Read your scriptures, for they were written for us in these days of turmoil. Guidance, answers, and blessings can come by simply opening up the scriptures and diligently studying them.  I have seen this is my own life more than a number of times.  I can say from experience that since I've gotten my call, I have been tempted like no other time in my life. Satan wants to do everything in his power to stop me from being able to go on my mission. I have felt this these last five months and sometimes it seems like his power is unbearable, but in times of need I've knelt down and prayed to my Father in Heaven and asked for strength to overcome temptation. I have prayed for comfort as I'm about to leave my family for eighteen months and I've prayed for the power of the Holy Ghost to help me accomplish want He wants me to do on my mission. I can honestly say there is no feeling more gratifying than talking to your Heavenly Father. He knows each and every one of us on a personal basis and wants us to talk to Him about anything and everything. 
I could go on and on about preparing for a mission. A mission is not an easy thing. There are hardships and trials, just like in every day life, but with faith in the Lord you can do all things. 

 “It must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things. … The Lord God gave unto man that he should act for himself. Wherefore, man could not act for himself save it should be that he was enticed by the one or the other” 2 Nephi 2: 11,16. 
And so it is with faith. It can be enticing to choose doubt and disbelief over faith, but if you have faith you can overcome anything.

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