Tuesday, December 30, 2014

The Marriage Decision over Mission Decision


Sometimes the unexpected happens.  When we are least looking for something, it pops in, and surprises us all. This happened with my daughter Aubrey.

Aubrey who is 20 years old, a twin, our 3rd oldest,  had her mission call and was rarin' to go to the Peru Trujillo Mission October 7th....and..... as of December 20th,  she  is now married!

  It is really been a whirlwind few months that has taken us in a direction we didn't think was coming quite yet. But like I said, sometimes the unexpected happens when you least expect it to. 

The only reason I am sharing this story is to hopefully strengthen other families who are facing a similar situation.  Her story has already strengthened many young women in their decision to serve a mission or not, and has given hope to many young men who are dating a girl who wants to go on a mission.

Should all  young women be expected to serve missions if they can?  Should we be pressuring our daughters to serve missions? Is a mission more important, or is marriage ?

Let me just add, as a returned sister missionary myself, as well as having 3 daughters who have chosen to serve missions; the decision to serve a mission or not should be entirely the young woman's decision. They should not feel pressure from church society,  parents,  friends,  or anyone really.  Just pressure from the Spirit if it is right for them.   Serving a full-time mission is a huge commitment and is way harder than young women realize it will be. They have to be  fully committed, and it has to come from the desires in their own heart.  Although a mission is so valuable for their future lives, it should not be viewed as a duty they have to perform after high school and before marriage.

With  that said, our daughter Aubrey decided to serve a mission in April of this year (2014).  Up until that point she did not feel she should serve a mission. Some things began falling apart in her life, and as she turned to God for answers, she felt she should serve a mission. 

It was a  miraculous experience where she felt serving a mission was exactly what the Lord wanted her to do. We began making the preparations, doctor and dentist visits, and within a speedy 3 weeks she had her mission call  to the Peru' Trujillo Mission. 

She was scheduled to leave for the Lima MTC (CCM)  October 7th, the Wednesday after General Conference.

Her twin sister Lindsey is currently serving in Chile, and with Aubrey leaving October 7th, they would have been EXACTLY 6 months apart in their service time ...to the very day.  Another twin moment.  The two of them were very excited to both be serving  in South America.

During the time she was still waiting to leave on her mission, she began hanging out a lot with the sister missionaries who were called to serve in the Young Single Adults ward where Aubrey was attending. By hanging out I mean, she was going to several investigator lessons a week, missionary/investigator activities and everything missionary.  She was preparing to be one of the best sister missionaries ever, and I am not biased one bit.

 In her personal study time, she was reading the scriptures, studying conference talks, and getting to know Preach My Gospel.  In fact one time, I made a motherly suggestion to maybe get familiar with Preach My Gospel before she left on her mission. She replied with, "Mom.  I have already read the entire book. I am on my second time through!"  So as you can see,  she was already super self-motivated and was ready to be a missionary. 

Enter future eternal companion on to the scene.  Like I said, when you least expect it, the most unexpected happens.

As Aubrey was preparing for her mission and hanging out exclusively with the sister missionaries, she met Kyle, her now husband.  He was a returned missionary who had served in  our local mission here.  He hadn't ever served in our exact city, but after his mission he came back here to live.  When he came back  he let the sister missionaries  know that he was very interested in being apart of teaching lessons if they ever needed help. He had been their zone leader during his mission time. He and Aubrey met while on splits with the sisters.

So that is a very unlikely place to meet a future husband or wife,  but the Lord works in the subtle places of our lives.  That was in April, and they didn't really start to hang-out until the end of the summer. 

His first question to Aubrey was to ask her where she had served her mission.(past tense)  She let him know, she was going to be leaving  for the Peru Trujillo Mission on October 7th. (future tense) That is when the tide began to change.

She gave her missionary farewell talk in our ward Sacrament Meeting 3 weeks before she was scheduled to leave. That is when things started progressing  from "I really like you, and you make me so happy..to...I think I want to marry you." 

Two days after her farewell,  they were in an 'official relationship.'  The question of going on a mission or staying home became the hot topic of conversation.

 He was flipping between supporting her in her decision and having lots of scripture studying dates, to begging her to please stay, to telling her he will wait for her. Aubrey was flipping between 'I am going on my mission!!' to"what if I stayed home?"

Aubrey had a lot of deciding to do, and she is not a fast decision maker.  You can't talk her into anything. She makes her own decisions, and after she contemplates them over for a long time. 

It was such a hard decision as she wanted desperately to be a missionary like her twin sister, and her two older sisters, and all of her best friends from high school. She liked the idea that she was joining the missionary force and doing what everyone else was doing. She was a spiritually very prepared missionary.

There was  serious mission pressure that was in her own heart, that was hard to break through.

My husband and I counseled her through all of this. What was our counsel?  YOU get on that mission and be a missionary like you said you would be!  You have to be a missionary!   NOT

Besides telling her to pray about it, follow the Spirit, which she was already doing, we reminded her that she did not have to serve a mission. We had to kind of pound this into her head, as she was so stuck on the idea that she had to be a missionary before she was married.  We reminded her of what we have been teaching our daughters since birth,  that her most important responsibility is that of being a wife and mother. 

Missions are wonderful!  They have been amazing for me, and for my other 3 daughters. But, we have to remember, young women  are not mandated to serve a  mission, and marriage is more important.  Thomas S. Monson has counseled

 " We have over 88,000 missionaries serving, sharing the gospel message the world over. We reaffirm that missionary work is a priesthood duty, and we encourage all worthy and able young men to serve. We are very grateful for the young women who also serve. They make a significant contribution, although they are not under the same mandate to serve as are the young men." President Thomas S. Monson

We also counseled her to find out if this young man is the right one for her.  Is he the one the Lord had placed in her life and pathway to be her future husband?  If he is, she should not make him wait.  That would not be right. He is of age. He has served an honorable mission. She is of age. If it is right, then she needs to stay home to get married.  (are we bold or what?)

Kyle finally asked Aubrey, "Why do you want to go on a mission?  And what percentage of you wants to go and what percentage of you wants to stay?"  At that moment, she felt 70% of her wanted to go on her mission, and 30% wanted to stay.  He gave her some great advice. He said, "Aubrey a mission is really hard, if you are not 100% committed, you shouldn't go."  That statement was a turning point in her making her decision. 

Over conference weekend, 48 hours before she was to be set apart and get on a plane for Lima, Peru, after hearing the words of the prophet sink into her soul that she not under the same mandate to serve a mission, and after praying with Kyle; she and he made the decision that she would stay home from her mission  and they would get married. 

And she has not turned back once.

WHEW!  Sometimes parenting can wear you out!!  She made the right decision for her life . It was hard not having her twin sister at her wedding, but it is the first step with them moving on with their own lives, and she knows she will be at HER wedding when she comes home.

They had the most beautiful wedding in the Salt Lake Temple

How important it is for us to follow our prophet, counsel with the Lord, and seek the Spirit in the most important decisions of our lives! 
Being married to  your best friend
 is one of the best feelings in the world.