Young Women and serving a mission – should I go?

by Mary Ellen Edmunds

I’VE BEEN THINKING ABOUT YOU

I wish we could sit down together and have a good visit. I’d love to ask you some questions, and I’d like to do my best to answer some of the questions you might have.

Are you wondering if I’m talking to you? Well, if you’re a young woman close to 19 or a little older, you’re the one! How have things been for you since October of 2012 – are you OK? Are you comfortable? Have you been caught up in the “wave”?

Since you’re not saying much (at least not loud enough for me to hear you), I’ll anticipate some of your feelings and questions about serving a mission. See if I come close; I hope I do.

You might be asking: “What if I don’t feel a mission is the right thing for me to do, at least not at this point in my life?” My response to that would be that you should not feel any pressure or responsibility to serve a mission. I’d only change that statement if you’re feeling promptings from Heaven about going.

Some have told me they’re frustrated by the question many are asking them “Aren’t you going??” I’m sorry if you’re feeling that kind of pressure. The decision for you to serve (and yes, I’m focusing on the young women today) is a very personal one. I assure you that if you have received an answer to your prayers that now isn’t the time, you are not suddenly less wonderful. Your Heavenly Father loves you dearly, and He knows and understands you so well.

There was a period of time when some got the idea that young women weren’t to be encouraged to go on missions. And the numbers serving reflected that myth. However, since President Monson’s announcement during general conference in October 2012, all have been assured that lady missionaries are welcome and valued. And hundreds—yea, thousands—are accepting calls to serve. On a beautiful Sunday morning a few months ago (April 14, 2013) I had the extraordinary blessing of speaking to all the lady missionaries at the Provo Missionary Training Center. I was “blown away” when I walked in the room and saw over 1200 women!! It thrilled my soul!

I found myself wondering what each of them was thinking at that moment. I wondered if any of them were feeling overwhelmed—like they’d been caught up in the “wave” and now were not quite as sure as they once were. Were they wondering if they were where they wanted to be, doing what they wanted to do? With all my heart I let them know that they were at the beginning of one of the most meaningful, beautiful, challenging, rewarding experiences of their life (including their eternal life)!

Well, this is the beginning of an ongoing conversation. I have lots I want to “talk over” with you. I applaud Deseret Book for creating this forum for sharing ideas, and I hope they will have a way for you to respond – to share your experiences and feelings, and to ask your questions.

I’m going to “check in” again in a few weeks, and at that time I’d like to continue our conversation. Until then, may you be blessed with answers to your prayers and peace and joy in your days.

For more by Mary Ellen Edmunds, visit:
A Note to Trail Blazers

For more advice, see:
Sister Missionaries and the Decision to Serve
The Need for Sisters
Girlfriends (or Boyfriends) and the Mission