Monday, April 1, 2013

Called To Serve

It has been nearly five months since I stood, surrounded by friends and family, holding a big white envelope from Salt Lake City.  It was with trembling hands that I opened that letter.  When I read that I would be serving in the France Paris Mission, my heart stopped.  I couldn't believe it!  I don't know why, but I have always felt a connection with France, especially Paris.  I really hoped that I would be able to share the gospel with the French people.  And now I am going to!  It was a miracle.  I can't explain it any other way.

I remember feeling very anxious about opening my call--where was I going for the next year and a half?  There are over three hundred LDS missions throughout the world, I could have gone anywhere.  For days I wondered, stressed and hoped.  I really wanted to go to France, but I didn't want to get my hopes up.  I distinctly remember thinking, a few hours before I opened my call, "I just can't wait until it's opened, then I'll know I'm going to Paris and I can stop worrying about it--Wait, I can't think that, I don't know that I'm going there!"  Most of my friends and family guessed that I would go to Paris.  We were all shocked when I opened my letter and it was true.  

I don't know why I feel so strongly about the Paris mission, but I know that God is sending me there for a reason.  I feel very honored to be able to serve as a missionary.  I hope that I will do my best and live up to this call.

It has been a long wait, so much has happened these past five months.  Just last week I turned in the final draft of my capstone paper for my history major.  At twenty-eight pages, I've really put my heart into this paper--I am proud of what I've written.  I spent the last semester researching and writing about LDS "Lady Missionaries" in the early Twentieth Century.  And let me tell you, these were exceptional women.  Their stories deserve to be told.  I enjoyed writing this paper immensely; I spent hours pouring over journals, articles, etc., reading stories of courage and faith.  These women have inspired me.  I even found my great grandmother's journal.  She served a mission in the Eastern States from 1914-1916.  By doing this paper I feel like I know her now... that we are friends.  I won't be serving this mission alone.  There are generations of women that have served before me.  Through their stories, they will be beside me to buoy me up during the hard times.  I am so glad that the age restriction for women has been lowered, now many, many more young women will have the opportunity to serve as missionaries, joining the ranks of the amazing "Lady Missionaries" that have gone before!

I can't believe the time has finally arrived!  I am going to the Missionary Training Center (MTC) this Wednesday, April 3.  I'll be there for six weeks.  Then, I will arrive in the mission field May 14.... Is this real life?

Right now I'm listening to "One Day More" from the Les Mis appropriate!  I will miss all of my friends and family terribly.  I would like to thank all of you for being so supportive.  I have really felt your love these past few weeks.  I love all of you!  Send me letters/emails:

Sister Lorraine Nicole Hilton
MTC Mailbox # 297
FRA-PAR 0514
2005 N 900 E
Provo, UT 84604-1793

France Paris mission
23, Rue Du Onze Novembre
78110 Le Vesinet

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