Hola mis amigos!
I thought I would give some of my thoughts as my departure date is drawing nearer, and maybe some future missionaries might be having some of the same thoughts as I am.
The language barrier is glaring me in the face and making me more and more fearful. When I got my call, I studied spanish seriously alllll day, but as time has gone on and my "to-do" lists have gotten longer, I have found myself unable to keep up the rate that I started studying. I feel like I make progress and talk to someone who knows spanish and the normal response is "yes that's how you say it, but in the DR they probably won't say it like that, and it'll be 100x faster and you won't be able to understand because they cut off the end of words and take out the s's..." To say that response was a helpful tip, is a major overstatement. Comments like these are things I hear on a daily basis, and it's starting to really break me down rather than build me up.
The hardest thing is something I never, ever expected to be hard. When people ask where I am going, the response is almost always the same: "That's great! Have you heard that ... (negative thing).... about the DR?" I thought my mission really just must be the most dangerous or something, but unfortunately mine is not. I asked other almost-missionaries if they were getting the same response, some going state-side and some foreign, and they said they all got the same response. No matter where someone is going, people feel the need to bring up all of the negative aspects to their mission. I really wish more people understood that, yes we as missionaries are aware of the negatives however, we like to focus on the positives.
My last thoughts are that, as I've read many missionary stories, I worry about what kind of missionary I will be. I've made a lot of goals, but am I able to keep them all? Am I able to always represent Christ?
But as I have been stressing more and more, I also feel the power of my Heavenly Father comforting me. I feel peace in the storm and within my worries. I know that Satan is doing everything he can to stop me from going, but he won't succeed unless I let him. I have to keep filling my life with light, and combating the darkness with my Heavenly Father's love. I know this isn't the happiest blog post in the world, and I really am doing well overall and so excited to go, but I am aware that many almost-missionaries are struggling with Satan holding them back. If that is you, maybe these words can strengthen you, or let you know that you are not the only one feeling the pressures of going on a mission. I just want you to know that, if you keep relying on that light, keep doing the little things we are asked to do as well as reading your patriarchal blessing and doing service, that you will be able to beat the worries and the fears. It can all replace with confidence and excitement. I'm getting to that point where, those comments people say and those fears I have, are dwindling. I'm finding ways to trust in God more and more, and I find the best way I can do that is by reading the Book of Mormon. The Book of Mormon truly is a powerful book that can change lives and bring an immense amount of peace flowing in the midst of our fears. When you are going on a mission, you are challenged to read the BoM one more time all the way through before entering the MTC. I used to think this was so that we were more familiar with it and be able to teach more efficiently. Although this might be the case, I believe it is also because church leaders are aware that Satan works extra-hard on missionaries and the Book of Mormon is a powerful tool to use to strengthen us in these harder times. There is something about reading that Book that my fears just vanish and my faith strengthens the more I dive in!
So my overpowering thoughts are not the ones that made me more broken-down I mentioned at the beginning of this post. The one thought that is more powerful than any of the others is that, my Heavenly Father loves me and wants me to participate in His work. No negatives are ever strong enough to beat that one major positive. Focus on that, and be optimistic. The future is as bright as your faith.