On Monday night, I returned from my one week journey in Canada to a letter from Salt Lake City in that tell tale big white envelope. I had found out from my sister on Facebook that it had come in and now I could hold it in my hands. The moment was here. In this envelope were the words that would change the next two years of my life dramatically.
I waited patiently for everyone to arrive at my house at 845. Everyone was finally gathered around. I had two Elders (the ones who taught and baptized me) on speaker phone, my grandma and my brother also on speaker phone and three families from my ward and my mother and sister. (My father excused himself because he didn't have any intention of celebrating what I was being asked to do as a missionary).
I opened the letter slowly... The suspense was killing everyone...
"Dear Elder Cook" the words start. My hands begin to shake. "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 ITALY, MILAN MISSION." I'm shouting at this point. Milan?!?!?! No way! Wow! It takes me a while just to gather my thoughts enough to continue reading the letter. I can't contain my excitement! Milan. Milan. Milan. Italy, ITALY, ITALY!!! That's all I can think. The Prophet is trusting me to go to Italy and be a representative of the church and the Lord in Italy. No way!!!
"You should report to the Provo MTC on Wednesday October 24th"
They always say that the place you go on your mission will be the last place that you ever think of. For me that wasn't true. Italy wasn't at all the last place on my mind but Italy would be the place that I least thought I would go. Here's why... You always hear missionaries say "Well yeah I really wanted to serve my mission overseas but there I am in the Washington, Tacoma mission...You will go wherever the Lord calls you and it will be a good mission, the best in the World for you." The thought I had was "I will never go to Italy...It's too cool...Only one in a million type missionaries get called abroad...besides the work is going forth in the states too...I will go wherever I am called even if it's Alabama or Tennessee or somewhere less than desirable. I will go and the Lord will show me why He called me there"
So when I was opening my call my question wasn't "what country are they sending me to?" but "Which state are they sending me to?" Needless to say that I was floored! I couldn't believe it. I am so amazed that the Lord trusts me this much! I am just totally in awe.
So the process has begun. Applying for a visa, studying hard, buying suits and ties and white shirts, learning Italian, trying not to freak out!!! I can't believe it!!