Well, this blog is rather straightforward. This will be a way, if you want, to keep tabs on me as I go to serve my church in the Philippines. I'll be living in the northernmost point of the Philippine islands for a year and a half, and before that I will be attending a crash-course of sorts at the Provo, UT MTC (or Missionary Training Center.) The MTC teaches young missionaries the lessons they will be teaching as well as the language they will be speaking, if they are to speak a different language. Depending on language studies a missionary can stay in the MTC for 3-6 weeks, sometimes more if truly necessary. I will be in the MTC for 6 weeks- in which I will do my best to learn the material and the language as well as adjust to mission life.
This upcoming year and a half, I am quite certain, will both be the hardest and most trying times as well as the most joyous and educational experience of my life to date.
My decision to go on a mission is a rather involved story. I grew up singing 'I hope they call me on a mission' while thinking to myself "yeah right." When I was eight and was baptized I still thought "Twenty-one is too old! Surely I'll be married by then!" (Nowadays most young men serve at the age of 18 and young women serve at age 19, but growing up brothers served at age 19 and sisters served at 21.) When they changed the age for serving missionaries my only thought was that it would be easier for young women to serve, and how nice it was for them. I wanted nothing to do with a mission, until about a year ago.
I began to have a desire to become one with a people and a culture I know nothing about. I thought about it quite a bit and decided that something I would like to do for a living is integrate myself into a culture and write about it. Because you can go and visit these places but I don't truly see and appreciate a culture until you've immersed in it. And what better way to immerse in a culture than to serve them?
The Lord has been changing my thoughts and desires to fit His plan for years now, and He has also been preparing me in a way that will be a comfort to my dad. I think it was my freshman year of high school when I became obsessed in wilderness survival. So now that I have an entire shelf dedicated to the art of being a hermit in my personal library Dad will know that if I do end up lost in the jungle or whatever I will be able to not only navigate my way back to civilization but be able to care for and provide for myself in the jungle. I don't expect to get lost, but here is for hoping. (I'm kidding dad!)
The true reason I am serving this mission is because of the joy I have received through my religion and its corresponding lifestyle. Doctrine and Covenants 4:3 says “Therefore, if ye have desires to serve God ye are called to the work.” I believe in this church, I believe in this gospel and I believe in Christ. I know that God speaks to us today through modern prophets and that they are truly called by Him. This scripture (thankfully) does not say anything about being good at speaking foreign languages or being able to talk to people- both of which I am not the best at. All you need is a desire and the Lord will help. I love that.
Most of y’all know this, but for those who don’t, once on my mission communication will be limited. I’ll be able to email every Monday or Preparation day (P-day) as well as be able to make a few limited phone call home on Christmas and Mother’s Day. My ldsmail will be posted on this site if you wish to email me, though keep in mind that if it is 3:00pm in Texas it is 7:00am in Laoag Philippines. So if you email me on your Monday I may not get the email until the next week.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read this, your support means so much to me.
Sister Mikella Eldredge
Laoag Philippines Mission 2016-2017