My name is Hana, soon to be Sister Buhler. I will be serving as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in the Norway Oslo mission.
For those of you who don’t know what a mission is, in a nutshell, it is when a member of the LDS church chooses to serve for a period of either two years (men) or eighteen months (women). During that time, you dedicate all your time into talking with as many people as you can about our church.
Now, I’ve had some people ask me why I decided to serve. Yes, those eighteen months could go towards me graduating sooner, getting an internship, dating someone special, the list goes on with what you can do with that much time. But serving a mission is something that has always been on my mind.
Both my parents served missions in their youth and loved their experience. They met wonderful people, had amazing experiences, and grew from their hardships. As I came closer to the age requirement of 21, I was about 70% sure that I would serve a mission. Then in October of 2012 during the LDS General Conference, President Thomas S. Monson announced that women could serve at the age of 19. All of a sudden the decision to serve or not was right in my face.
For awhile the mission was on my mind A LOT. I was having crazy dreams about me serving a mission in movies and video games (Phantom of the Opera and Slender Man mainly), many women from my young adult wards were getting calls, lots of excitement was happening.
I worked in the Missionary Training Center (MTC) where almost all missionaries go before they leave for the mission field. I worked in the cafeteria and got to talk with many of the missionaries. While it was fun talking with them and sort of experiencing part of the mission in the MTC, I wanted to make sure that I chose to serve because it was what I wanted to do. Not just because everyone around me was swept by the excitement.
A few months passed and the craze calmed down. Then that fateful day occured.
It was a terrible, horrible, no good, very, bad day. Everything that could’ve gone wrong went wrong. Because of an accident with my bicycle, I had to walk to work. I cried my eyes out. I said a prayer in my heart to my God, “Please. Please let me know whether I’m suppose to serve or not. Even if you won’t give me an answer now, just please give me the strength to smile at work.”
When I arrived, I put on a smile and managed to get through the shift alright. But my fake smile didn’t fool everyone. While my crew was cleaning up, a co-worker of mine told me I was requested by a group of missionaries. When I walked towards their table, I didn’t recognize any of their faces. I smiled and asked, “Can I help you with something?”
Then they all started cheering and clapping. More confusion hit me. One elder spoke up, “We just wanted to thank you for working so hard. We’ve all loved how kind and helpful you are and we just wanted to thank you before we leave tomorrow.”
They gave my a little napkin card that they made and all signed. The card read:
I don’t know what is troubling you but I feel horrible that you are troubled. Just remember that no matter what you choose to do throughout your life, trust Jesus Christ. He’ll help you through anything.
Best of luck and remember to smile!
It was the perfect way to end a day. When I got back home, I got down on my knees and prayed. Thanking God for those missionaries that comforted me. When I was about to end, I suddenly said, “I want to serve. I will leave for my mission.”
I closed my prayer and heard a quiet voice say, “Good. I will be with you.” An overwhelming feeling of joy filled my heart. And I slept incredibly well that night.
Serving a mission is a huge sacrifice. Dedicating time to serve God that could be used to help create a better future. But that’s just it. A mission DOES help prepare you for the future. Just not in the typical ways everyone thinks of.