Wednesday, February 19, 2014

28 Days!

This is slightly embarrassing. Last night as I sat in the high school parking lot waiting to pick up my brother from practice, I was suddenly overcome with sadness. Tears began running down my face as thoughts of how much I would miss my family went through my head. I won't be picking my brother up from school much longer. Seriously, my younger brothers and I have this weirdly awesome relationship that I am going to miss so much. 
After we went home, I sat in my room and contemplated this huge life choice I am making. I am leaving behind everything I know and love for 18 months. My only source of communication is an email once a week and snail mail. I am okay with that though. I worked so hard for this opportunity to sacrifice a tiny portion of my life to something I truly believe in.
I know that this experience is going to be difficult and trying. However, it is so worth it. The person I will be when I return home will be so much more. I won't be the same ole Cherish. I will be the Spanish speaking Cherish, that left everything behind to spend a whopping 18 months of her life with the people of Honduras. I will be stronger both mentally and physically. I mean really, no cars, no bikes. Just my trusty legs, getting me through the hills and mountains in Honduras. I might even get a tan. 
My point here is that with each decision we make, there is always something more to look forward to. I know there is so much I am leaving behind. Change is scary, it's uncomfortable, and it is difficult. Each decision I have made, each change I have made, has been a trial. The end result though, has always been incredible. My desire to serve a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints has stemmed from my want to help others find happiness. I am going to do that. Fortunately, I have the benefit of increasing my own happiness through my efforts. 
I can't wait to leave for my mission! Only 28 days until I report to the Mexico MTC. Time is definitely flying! 

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Just The Beginning

After almost a year of hard work and dedication, I am nearing the beginning of a great adventure. In April of 2013, I decided I wanted to served as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I thought it would be easy. I would put school on hold, fill out the application, and be on my way. Ha. If only it were that simple. 
It started off with the school I was attending demanding money. Lots and lots of money. So I set up a payment plan and promised myself I would have everything done by August. No big deal, I just had to work hard and be smart with my money. At the same time I knew I needed to work on being healthy and prepared to do my first 5K with my Mom and sisters. 
Working towards our 5K was such a huge blessing for me. Patience is not exactly something I am fond of, and I will forever be grateful to my amazing sister Celia for giving me a goal to work towards. We completed our 5K in June of 2013 and it was so much fun. There were so many benefits from that experience. I spent time with the lovely females of my family, got some good exercise, and accomplished something I had never even considered being a part of before. 
In July the time came for me to complete medical and dental evaluations. I was pretty stressed about finding the money to pay for those but of course, everything worked out. The dental was covered by an amazing dentist friend of my fathers who was more than willing to help. He was happy to inform me that I passed with flying colors. (Shout out to my awesome sister Summer who drove me that day because I was too chicken to go alone!) The day of the medical exam I was pretty worried about passing. I just had this terrible feeling. I had no clue how much that was going to cost, and unfortunately did not have enough money to pay. I called my Dad crying, because that's what I do, and of course my wonderful father jumped at the opportunity to help me. Once again I passed the exam with flying colors. 
August came around finally and with school bills paid I arranged to meet with the Bishop to submit my papers. I was so excited that day. It was a beautiful Sunday afternoon and I was SO sure everything was fine. I sat outside that office with this huge grin on my face and had no concerns when he finally called me in. When I left that office that day I was devastated. I had been rejected because of my weight. Honestly, I was angry. There had never been any mention of a weight requirement before and I just wished that some one had told me sooner. 
Luckily, my parents did not raise me to be a quitter. After a pity party that lasted about a week, I refreshed my sense of determination and hit the gym. The next few months were difficult. My emotions were all over the place. I felt pretty disgusted with myself. Being too fat to serve a mission was embarrassing. I never quit. I never gave up. I felt terrible about myself, but I had my fantastic family constantly on my case reminding me that I was worth it. 
I know better now than ever for that there is a reason for everything. I have gained such a huge respect for my parents and siblings over the past year that I would have missed out on had I not endured so many struggles. Each of them made a point to tell me how proud of me they were and that kept me going. I am so grateful for their support. I would not be who I am today without them. I love my family!!!
In December, I had lost a total of 40 pounds and could finally submit my papers. I completed the final interviews and began the waiting process. YAY! About a week after I submitted my papers, I checked to see the progress and was told they had not yet been submitted. I remember being so frustrated about that. After all this work I had done and my papers were just sitting there. I called my sister and told her that I just wanted SOMETHING to work out right. She reminded me oh so wisely that everything HAD worked out just not in my own time. I needed to be patient. She was so right. 

January 15th, I opened my mission call. I have been called to served in the Honduras Comayaguela Mission, reporting March 19th. I am so excited! This whole journey has been so worth it. Every trial has been a lesson to help me grow into such a better, happier individual. This new adventure is going to be so amazing! I know that I have been tested and tried as preparation for my journey ahead, and I am SO ready!