I left my mission story at not being ready. So lets talk about what happens when you aren’t ready and make it out anyway.
The Missionary Training Center is where we go to learn how to teach. The expectation is for us to be prepared to learn how to teach, not to learn what the Gospel is. I knew that, and so I wasn’t surprised by what happened while I was there.
I was assigned to learn with such a great group of young men and women. I wish I had been better.
I remember the day they asked us to find scripture references to use to discuss different topics. They asked us to write them on the white board and we’d go until we had a certain number on the board. I didn’t add a single one. In fact most of the time I sat there pretending to look when I had no idea where to even start.
You see I wasn’t there to actually be a missionary, I’ve explained this, I was there to impress. I wanted to pretend I was better than I was because if I wasn’t then I wasn’t good enough for anything.
So day after day, I just pretended. There were times when people somehow thought I was better than I was. I guess it had to do with the fact that I was a convert. Somehow that meant so much to people. To me it just meant that I had no idea what I was doing.
I learned though. I made some changes, but I was never fully focused. I couldn’t. The truth was eating away at me. I told my leadership. He gave me my options, but I think I must have held something back because he let me stay.
Maybe that was the right thing. I don’t really know. I just wish I wouldn’t have gone.
That’s my reality. But I don’t let it control me anymore. I own it. This is my story and I am not ashamed of it anymore. I shouldn’t be because in the end it was my choice to keep going. In the end I was giving in to the pressure.
There isn’t anything I can do to change my past. Instead I want to help other’s join me in not being ashamed. I remember meeting grown men who still hang their head low because they came home early or didn’t serve. They bury themselves in self-doubt and shame. Yet they are so strong and serve so many. Their lives were just fine and they found success.
No, it was only them who told other’s what happened. They didn’t own it though. I love them I wish I could have told them to pick their heads up. So if you are reading this and you experienced this, you lost yourself in the culture and the pressure, then please pick your head up.
You are still important because you can help to keep other’s from giving in. We need your story as much as we need the RM’s story. We need your story to change our culture. To help kids find happiness in knowing that God expects us to make our own choices. We need your story to find strength.
I want to help you survive this so that we can help someone else survive this and maybe one day help someone make a better choice.
We can survive this and we can do anything because in the end we are still immensely important to the world, to someone.
So, I left to Missouri, feeling like I should be there. I remember landing and knew that I need to leave. But that’s for another time.