Friday, March 1, 2013

Called to Serve!

Well the day that has been pretty heavily anticipated came and went last week! On Tuesday, February 19, I checked my mail box and inside lay (folded up and very crinkled--they clearly did not know what was in that envelope!) my mission call! Since my parents had just returned me to VCU, and I was going back home that weekend, it didn't make sense to go home and open it that night, so I waited until Saturday to open it with the family and some close friends. People all week were asking me how on Earth I could stand to wait that long, but I think I actually had a lot more anticipation before the call was in my box. Once I had it in my possession, I knew I would be opening it that weekend, and it was pretty easy to wait! I wanted to be there with the family! However, it definitely made for a longer week than usual!

Many, many more guesses were added to this board by the time I opened my call!

Best mail I have EVER gotten. 

It's here, It's here! I suppose you could say I was excited! :)
Basically everyone knows that I am leaving for eighteen months to serve a mission. Not everyone understands it completely, but everyone seems to be so excited for me. Everyone in nursing school and back here at home have been asking me where I am headed for a few weeks now, and every time I see them they ask if I've gotten the letter yet! I can't think of anyone who hasn't been supportive of me, and it's awesome. I truly am blessed and have tons of support!

The youth in my home-stake that are leaving to serve missions with our Stake President! SO exciting. I'm pretty sure we've all received our calls now.

The week passed by, and finally Saturday came. Thankfully, I had to work all morning Saturday and into the afternoon, so I wasn't sitting around anticipating the call all day--we planned to open it at 8pm. Kavya and I (she came home, too, of course!) fixed dinner for the family and made a few snacks, and then finally a few people started showing up over at the house around 7:30! Time was ticking down. Mom came home from work, my Aunt, her daughter, and Suzanne and Rachel came back into town from Virginia Beach, my Uncle came up, my Grandma drove SIX hours and SURPRISED us all by coming (so awesome!), and a few close families from church that have been so supportive and helpful in this whole mission process and growing up came over.

My mission call sitting so nicely on the entertainment center waiting to be opened! On Friday, the second, smaller envelope was sitting in my mailbox. It was from the Travel Division for the church, and because several of my other friends have received similar letters with their calls, I was pretty sure at this point that I was headed out of the country. 

The room filled up with many friends and family and just a few minutes after eight, I began opening my call. It was awesome. I could definitely feel the Spirit in the room, and was so excited as I read the beginning of my letter outloud. I covered it up, so that I didn't sneak a peek too much before everyone else. I read:

"Dear Sister Kemmey,

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 Chile Santiago West 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, June 5, 2013. You will prepare to preach the gospel in the Spanish language."

As soon as I said "Chile Santiago..." the room was filled with excitement and screaming. I was so happy and SO excited. I would go anywhere, but I am so excited about the place I was assigned! I can't wait to learn more about Chile, the gospel there, and to be able to serve the people in Santiago, Chile, for 18 months. I'm pretty sure this will be THE hardest thing I have ever done in my life.

Oh, and I took German for 5 years in middle and high school. How much Spanish did I take? Not an ounce. The extent of my Spanish language is "Hola" and "Por favor." I've got some work to do!        

 Room full of people waiting to hear where I was going!
 We even got the old man (Grandpa Gray) on Skype! Technology is so awesome!

 As I was opening the letter!

  I had just read that I was called to serve, and assigned to the Chile Santiago West Mission! The whole room errupted and I was so excited!

After the initial excitement died down, we started digging through the mission packet and we all sat around and talked about Chile and serving and everything! That night was awesome. We had a bunch of snacks and goodies, and my Aunt Amy made cute sugar cookie missionary tags. She is awesome.

 Dad and Bishop Phelps digging through the mission packet, learning a little bit more about where I am headed for the next 18 months! 

  Sugar cookies from Aunt Amy! 

 Bishop Phelps and Joy. Love these two people. Joy taught my seminary class in the mornings for four years. They are amazing examples to me. 

 My best friend in the world. She came home to support me and has been so excited for me through this whole process (since October!). She's taken it rough at times, too, but I am so glad she was there! She was a little bit upset when she heard I was going to be in CHILE for 18 months, but I will write plenty of letters! 

 Out of all of the guesses made, Lily Jones was the only one who nailed it! She guessed Chile! Keith and Brother Desmond were the next closest. 

 Sister Jones, the Sharpie Queen, hooked me up with some sharpies and journals to start me off with all of the studying I have been doing! She is awesome. Love all of it.

 Aunt Amy and I.

 The cutest two little girls I know! Such an awesome family.

 Dad was so ANXIOUS about where I was going to get called! He said there were 100 places that he didn't want me going, but I think we made out pretty well with Chile! Not too dangerous, but a new place and an exciting experience! 

 I have the best Grandparents. Darling Grandma drove SIX hours Friday to be there on Saturday, and didn't tell a soul. So awesome, and I loved seeing her. Grandpa braved the Skype world, and I know Grandma Gray was looking down on the us. Back in November when I told her I was going to serve a mission, she promised to write me as much as she could. She was really excited for me. But I know she's doing her own work now and has her own mission in the next life!
 Cute little Evan man! Pretty soon he will just know me as a picture :)

 The official mission call and assignment.

This week my Grandpa forwarded me an email. My Grandma is Parley P. Pratt's great, great granddaughter. I did not know any of this. Just goes to show exactly how inspired the process of assigning a mission is. I honestly have a strong testimony that the Lord has sent me where he needs me, and that I have been called to Chile for a reason. I have no idea what that reason is now, but at some point, I'm sure I'll come to know why. Anyways, apparently Parley P. Pratt was the first missionary to go Spanish speaking and that was in Chile from 1851-1852. He did a lot of work, and he said that he hoped his descendants would never forget the Spanish speaking people. I have several other ancestors who have done missionary work in Mexico and South America, which is so neat. One of my relatives went to Chile and opened a branch in Valparaiso. The church has grown so much there since then, and I am excited to see how the people grow and how I grow as I serve there for 18 months. It's amazing that here I am, nearly 175 years later, headed to work with the people in Chile and serving them.

I love this gospel. I am so thankful that I was able to grow up with the knowledge and blessing of the gospel, and to be a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Later-day Saints. I am really thankful I was able to go to school and distance myself a little bit from home (although just barely), and develop a stronger and deeper faith in my religion. I have been so blessed to have awesome parents and leaders throughout my life that have been great examples to me. Right now I have the best institute teacher, who teaches me so much every single week. I love my Father in Heaven, and the Savior Jesus Christ. I am so grateful for His atoning sacrifice, that I might be able to live with Him again someday. I have a strong testimony of prayer, and I know that I am a Child of God and that He loves and knows each and every one of us. I know Joseph Smith was a prophet and man of God, who restored this gospel and the priesthood and endured so much that God's plan might be fulfilled. I know that the Bible and the Book of Mormon are the Word of God, and they really do guide and inspire us in this life. Life is so great, and I have been so blessed to have learned of the eternal purpose for this life. I know that Thomas S. Monson is a latter-day prophet who leads this church, and I am so grateful for the revelation to change the female missionary age to 19-years-old. I know that serving a mission is what I want to be doing, and what is right for me right now. I have been so blessed with an amazing family, and the Plan of Salvation is so important to me. I know that there are people prepared to hear the gospel, and I hope that I can help them feel the same joy that I have felt from knowing and living the gospel. I know that serving a mission is going to be the hardest thing I have ever done, but also the most rewarding, and I am so excited.

Mission Call Video: Mom is so awesome and made an awesome video about the night! Love it! 

 So excited to be Sister Kemmey, serving in the Chile Santiago West Mission. There is a LOT to do before I leave, but I am so excited.

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