I always knew I wanted to serve a mission. It took me longer than I had anticipated to raise enough money and do all the paperwork that needed to be done so I could serve. By the time I finally got my call letter I was so very excited. I was ready and willing to go serve anywhere in the whole world! But if anyone asked me to name just one place that I did not want to go, I would respond, Ukraine. So when I opened my letter and read that I had been called to serve in the Ukraine Kyiv Mission, I thought it was a joke. Had there not been twenty plus people there, I would have broken down into tears. I thought that a mistake had been made, and I seriously considered saying "No" to the First Presidency. It took much prayer and pondering to realize that the Lord was testing my willingness to serve. Like Nephi, who was commanded to go and get the brass plates, a seemingly impossible task, but he knew that the Lord would prepare a way. So I did as he did and took a blind leap of faith, trusting that the Lord would help me.
Now that I am at the end of my mission and look back on all that has happened, I can't imagine serving anywhere else. My companions, my mission president and his wife, the members, and people I've met on the street have greatly enriched and strengthened my life as I am sure no other group of people could have. True, it has been extremely hard and I have felt more weak and worthless than ever before. But, as I have learned, that is a natural result of coming unto Christ. And it is ok, because now I know better how to improve myself.
The greatest lesson I have learned is that God lives and that He loves me. He wants to be involved in every step of my life and it is up to me to invite Him. I know that it is His greatest desire for us to be happy. He helps us know how to be happy through personal revelation from scripture study, prayer, and temple service. He blesses us when we follow His commandments. I know that He loves us so much that He suffered and died and was resurrected so that we may be clean and receive eternal life. I know that He appeared to the prophet, Joseph Smith and restored His church through him. I know that He leads and guides our church today through His living prophet Thomas S. Monson. I know that the Book of Mormon contains His words and we can feel His Spirit and come closer to Him as we study it.
I am so grateful that I put my trust in Him and served where He called me.