In front of lots of friends and family, I opened my long-awaited mission call, fumbling a lot of words.
Dear Sister Lanning,
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 Louisiana Baton Rouge 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, May 27, 2015. You will prepare to preach the gospel in the English language.
(This is a lot more to the letter, but that seems to be the paragraph people care about.)
Louisiana. A year ago, I would have frowned at that call.
English speaking? Boring. Stateside? Boring.
But not anymore.
I am so excited to teach people that I can relate to, although their culture will still be different and exciting compared to what I'm used to! I am so excited to teach in my own language so that I can express my testimony exactly as I feel it.
Here's a fun way to think about stateside missions:
Jesus - the greatest teacher of all - only taught Jews. His ministry and mission was teaching his own people in his own land in his own language. Having that similarity with the Savior is pretty cool.
It was so cool to read where I'll be spending the next year and a half of my life, knowing that it is exactly where God wants me to be. I felt a tidal wave of unconditional love for the people of Louisiana crash over me.
This call is exactly right. It is inspired. It is for me.