Sunday, July 21, 2013

Being prepared to serve a mission

Sister Katelyn Nicholes entered the MTC on July 17, 2013 after receiving her mission call just two months ago.  Katelyn is the third missionary in her family following in the foot steps of her two older brothers.  But she is the first to receive a call outside of the United States.

Katelyn's desire to serve a full-time mission came about while she was a volunteer worker in several orphanages in Cuenca Ecuador less than a year ago.  She fell in love with the children of Ecuador and with serving others.  From that time on, she knew that she needed to continue serving but thought that she would have to wait for more than a year before she would be eligible to serve as a full-time missionary.  But as most of you already know, a miracle happened in October of 2012 with the age change for both Elders and Sisters which allowed her to return home from Ecuador and prepare to leave on a mission.  Of course with her experience in South America, we all expected that her mission call would take her south again.  But on the day that her mission call came, it wasn't south into a warmer climate that she was going, but north to the city of Edmonton Alberta Canada.

With Katelyn's experiences in the orphanages of Cuenca Ecuador as well as a life time of serving and preparing, she is probably more prepared to be a missionary than anyone we know including her older brothers.  On the morning that she entered the MTC in Provo, Utah, I sat down with her to give her a little advice as she finished packing her suit cases to leave.  As I started to tell her some of the same things that I told her brothers on the day that they entered the MTC, I knew that she already knew everything I had to say.  She knew about the good times and hard times ahead.  She knew about the differing personalities of the people she would meet as well as companions that she would have.  She knew about living away from home in a different country and she knew about teaching the gospel and loving the people.  She knew all of this because she had already experienced most of it in Ecuador.

Well the day finally came for her to leave but the week leading up to this day was anything but normal.  You would expect that she would have spent that time saying goodbye to friends but that wasn't what Katelyn wanted to do.  In fact Katelyn spent the week touring her older Brother's mission in western New York.  She had the unique opportunity to travel around the Rochester, New York mission with her older brother as well as the rest of her family.  She spent time meeting the people that her brother had taught and baptized.  She spent time wandering through the Sacred Grove and thinking about her own mission experiences ahead.  She spent time in the Palmyra temple reviewing her farewell talk that she would give just twelve hours after arriving home from New York.  And she spent time with her family attending the Hill Cumorah Pageant and feeling the spirit in this sacred area.  While traveling around her brother's mission, Katelyn commented several times that there is no where she would rather spend the last week before her mission than right in the heart of where the restoration of the church happened.

We heard from Katelyn just a couple of days after she entered the MTC.  It turned out that her P-Day while in the MTC is on Fridays so she had an opportunity to write home.  Her letter home was filled with gratitude and excitement.  She told us all about how they wasted no time getting right into orientation, classes and teaching.  She got to meet her new companion, her new MTC district and her new Branch President.  She said that all of the Elders in her district were going to Edmonton along with her but the other Sisters in the district were going to Idaho. She had her first interview with her Branch President and said that he is a great man and loves the Gospel.  They talked about her experiences before her mission and Katelyn told him about Ecuador and also about her time working as an aide in the special needs program at a local high school.  Katelyn said that she is so grateful that the Lord lead her in the direction that she has gone and knows that those experiences helped to get her on a mission.

Over the next 18 months we will try to update this blog as often as we can.  We are so grateful that Katelyn has chosen to serve a mission and we know that she will be a great missionary.  There will be a lot of great experiences ahead for Katelyn and we will try to share as many of those experiences as we can.

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