Friday, October 4, 2013

a curve ball hit me for the better

one year ago today i was lounging on my couch in my pjs while listening to general conference.  it was a sunny autum saturday, and i was feeling, well, mediocore.  being the age of seventeen i didn't know how i felt most of the time, other than the fact that i was stuck in high school with 7 1/2 months left.  as always i was excited to hear general conference.  i was deeply stressed with applying for colleges, scholarships, taking the ACT, grades, friends, and my purpose in life.  i was feeling like my life was just floating by with not much effort or success on my part. after taking a rigorous ACT prep class in the summer i felt more confident and prepared to take the test again.  turns out that confidence doesn't improve one's ACT score...well at least it didn't for me. i had just completed my last ACT test and ended it with a 23, dang it--the same score i started with (five tests ago).  how on earth was i going to make it into my dream school, byu with a stinkin' 23?!  but general conference was on so i tried to push all my worries out of my mind and listen to our inspired prophet, President Monsen.  i was a little zoned out on the couch after the opening song and a bowl of shredded wheat.  suddenly my stomach dropped.  president monsen announced that the mission age for girls will be changed to NINETEEN what? thats right, NINETEEN. my whole life, plans, and mind blew up in a matter of one word. NINETEEN.

holy cow, what did he just say????  my eyes literally jumped out of their sockets and my life turned upside down.  i was ecstatic!!!!!! i ran to my mom who was in her closet to tell her the news.  my mind was literally BLOWN.  i had never felt so excited in my life!  i've always wanted to go on a mission, however marriage had always occupied my mind more.  twenty-one was just at the wrong time in my life, that's when i wanted to start dating someone, maybe even get my first boyfriend if i was lucky.  those were vital years in my plan!  i selfishly never knew if i would be strong enough to serve at twenty-one when my life would be at its peak (so i thought).  but now i could go on a mission at nineteen---WHOA.  so what do i do!?  inside i wanted to go, but was still unsure and i wanted to make the right decision.  would if God wanted me married at nineteen? it happened to my mother and i'm not opposed to the idea.  i didn't know, anything could happen ya know?  i knelt down on my knees that day and prayed hard, very hard to Heavenly Father.  i wanted an answer now, and he gave me it two days after (thank you).  prayers are answered hallelujah. 

it was a monday afternoon and i had just finished a regular day at olympus high school.  everywhere i went the buzz was are you going to go? i felt more pressure to go on a mission than ever before.  i didn't like it.  how was i supposed to respond to people.  i wanted to go, but i couldn't say with surety that i would be going.  who knows i could be a hypocrite, so stop asking me people!!!!  i feeling overwhelmed.  people, friends, and family expected me to go. i knew they did. but this was my decision not theirs. i had 13 months until i would be nineteen, i needed to decide.  it felt like every girl and their dog were  now going on a mission.  but i didn't want to go just because everyone else was.  i came home from school feeling uneasy.  i drove to the tahiti stand (tagge's fruit stand in foothill village).  i had the afternoon shift that day.  i felt relaxed at work, although the whole mission thing wouldn't leave my mind.  

a bigger man with some scruff, around the age of fifty walked into my stand.  i said, "hello, how are you today?"  he looked at me with a grin and said, "well you look like a young church going girl."  i replied, "you're right, i am."  he asked me where i was going to go to school, i gave the answer i always do, "hopefully byu and then maybe a mission."---my life was full of hopes, maybes, i think, and probablys.  he wished me luck and went on his way with a bag of apples.  

i sat down for five minutes when i heard a car drive up.  the same man was back.  he rolled down his window so i got up to see what he needed.  i looked into is watery eyes and said hi again, not sure what to do.  had i done something wrong? why was this man crying in front of me?  he beckoned me over to his small white car and said, "i forgot something." then he reached out the window and handed me five dollars.  he explained, "i just wanted to thank you for your willingness to serve the lord.  if it weren't for young people like you serving missions i wouldn't be in the church today, i'd be lost."  he explained that he had grown up in the lutheran church and was a payed minister for most of his life.  at that point he was weeping, and could say no more.  i was completely taken back.  his sincerity moved me.  i just smiled and said thank you so much that means a lot.  my chest burned more than ever before as he drove off.  i felt the spirit soo strong.  right then i knew my prayers had been answered, and i quietly thanked Heavenly Father in the fruit stand.  i knew i needed to go on a mission.  there are people like that sweet old man who are searching for the truth, and i was to bring it to them.

although my prayers were answered the day after conference, i still struggled saying that i was going to go on a mission.  but i continually felt that i was supposed to go, so i took the biggest leap of faith and in june 2013 i started my papers.  after months of waiting and denial and more waiting, my call came. (thank you mom and dad for going to Italy at a convenient time for us all, and stopping the mail for two weeks so you and dad wouldn't miss my call opening...geez...longest weeks of my life).  finally i was "allowed" to open my call on september 25, 2013.  

it reads......

Dear Sister Sarah Anne Stringham,

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 Piura, Peru Mission.

I report February 12th to the Lima, Peru MTC speaking Spanish! 
ahhhhhhh here i am a year later!  thank you sweet old man, you changed my life! 

I could not be more happy right now. I know that this is exactly where God needs me to serve and there are people being prepared to hear the gospel.  wow the Lord's work is hastening, and i feel so honored to be a part of it.  

somehow steve got piura, peru right on the money. don't ask me how. notice he is the only person that even guessed in south america...yeah i'd never thought i would go there either.


Sunday, September 8, 2013

fat cheeks

 college is here! like it or not i am a full time student at byu. stuck in provo with no car and granola bars. can't afford the good stuff anymore..sigh. anyway, tuesday was my first day of college. thought i would look cute for my first day and first encounter with older men, but no i woke up to a fat cheek and an aching mouth. my exact thoughts were, "are you kidding me?!" i bagged the idea of getting ready, instead i embraced my baseball sized cheek and accepted that my day would be ugly. hiding the cheek was not an option.  as always my dad came to the rescue, driving 50 minutes to pick me up in provo, he took me to the dentist where they told me what i already wisdom teeth were infected. sticking a tube in my mouth, he drained the puss inside my left wisdom tooth hole (kinda like a zit--i know sick).