Tuesday, May 28, 2013

I Have Been Called To Serve

I am going to be a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints! I have been called to serve in the Washington, Everett Mission and I will be speaking Spanish!

It's odd. When I was a girl, I never pictured myself going on a mission. It sounded hard, embarrassing, and plain awful. Truly, that's what I thought. When I was in high school, a mission was still not my plan. Girls couldn't go until they were 21. I'd be dating someone seriously/married by that point, or that's what I hoped! I am ashamed to admit that I thought that only the weird/unattractive girls who didn't get boyfriends went on missions. This is not the case!

In October of 2012, an announcement was made by the living prophet, Thomas S. Monson, that said girls can now serve missions when they are 19. I felt a mantle being placed on my shoulders. A thought came to me that said "You love me more than you love anything else, Kimberly. This is how you can show your love."

I want to make something very clear: girls are not obligated to go on missions. It is a choice. Please, if you are thinking about a mission, do not feel like you need to go to prove something! Do not go to make your parents happy. Do not go because all your friends are going. Do not go because your boyfriend is going. Choosing to serve a mission is between you and the Lord.

I went back and forth a lot about the decision to serve. I'd have "missionary weeks" and "not missionary weeks." But here's what it came down to for me: I pictured myself at BYU in the Fall and I could not see myself there. I pictured myself in the MTC (Missionary Training Center) and I couldn't see myself there either! Then I tried on my friend's missionary name tag and looked in the mirror. It looked right. Again, I had a distinct thought. It said "Look, Kimberly. This is the 'you' that you're going to become. This is what you have to do to become what He needs you to be." So I submitted my papers. I took a step into the darkness. I acted on my faith.

The Lord is helping me with every step of my journey. I know that I am in Ukraine to learn essential things before my mission. The Lord is directing my paths!

Before I came to Ukraine, I wanted to go on a foreign mission. I wanted to learn a crazy language and be able to say "oh, yeah, I just spent 18 months in Africa, whatever." I knew that I shouldn't want that, but I did. Then I came here and started learning Russian. Trust me, Russian is basically impossible. I left Russian class and said "I just want to speak Spanish on my mission!" I also gained a deeper love for the good ol' USA. And peanut butter. And free public restrooms that are clean and aren't holes in the ground that you have to squat over. And being able to read billboards and street signs. And having a clean standard of living. And Mexican food. I really, really wanted to go on a stateside mission.

Can I tell you something? The Lord knows what you need. He knows better than you do. He prepared me for my call. He took care of my heart. He took away my selfish desire to go somewhere crazy and replaced it with a residing hope in the love of my Savior.

Remember how I said I couldn't picture myself in the MTC? Well, I was picturing the Provo MTC. I'm not going there. I'm going to the Mexico MTC! Everything is falling into place.

Will my mission be hard? Oh, yes. It'll be incredibly difficult. Will it be one of the best things I ever do? No doubt about it.

I have been called to bring the world His truth.

"The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly."-John 10:10 I am helping people find the abundant life that the Savior offers. I know He lives and loves us. I know that this Gospel is true. Come unto Him and he will give you rest.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Old Man Kyiv

If Kyiv were a person it would be an old man.

He knows he should wear his age with pride, but he is still ashamed of it. His face, his center, is painted in a dusty facade of pastels. He holds his head high and takes a rattling breath that is felt in his lungs, the subway. The air blows fast and cool in the metro stations with the hope of fresh life and the reality of stale relief. Yes, Kyiv likes to dress in his best clothes, but if you look closely you can see that his knee and elbow patches are worn straight through.

His veins are sweaty bus routes that run down to his wrinkled hands. In these torn up, weak hands, he holds his joural. The pages are the decrepit apartment buildings. They seem like they were built to fall apart. Like there wasn't a chance in the world that they'd ever be beautiful. He's on his last pages of his book. But the youth graffiti their new words onto the graying pages with the hope that their stories will matter. That they'll pump oxygen through his blood. That they'll enrage him so much that his fire is reignited. What they don't know is that they are aging him faster than ever. What father does not groan at the thought of his sons defying and ignoring his wisdom? They don't read the pages already logged over a thousand years. They'll make the same mistakes as their elders.

His wisdom is shown through his trees. No matter where they are planted, they grow in elegance. Kyiv knows a thing or two, but not what he believes he knows. He thinks he knows politics and advertising, but he really knows budgeting and tiny businesses. His roots uncover his true self. But instead of grass to stand on, there is a blanket of weeds. They're all of the green with none of the care.

The world sees him as an example, an elder, a wise man. He hides his mistakes and his faded tattoos and his truth. Kyiv is an old man who is praying for forgetfulness so he can erase his past transgressions.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Life in 216 Words

I love even numbers, so it was basically divine providence that I was born on 9/4/94. Can a birthday get more beautiful than that?

I wore dresses and tights every single day until I learned to ride a bike. I still prefer dresses. In fact, when one of my professors saw me in jeans, she stopped the lecture to point out my clothing choice. True story.

I fell in love with reading and never got over the obsession. I soak up words through the pores in my skin and savor their scintillating syllables. Also, I am a sucker alliteration. If you couldn't tell.

I had a thing for redheads, once. Well, twice. I send my ex-lovers to Moscow. They freeze there. I (finally) got over that phase, but they left me with baseball and a song that almost no one has ever heard. And also a strange pull to a town in southern Arizona.

Heartbreak is the most glorious trial that has ever happened to me. The Savior's refining fire is painful yet magnificent.

Creepily, I love learning about diseases. I chose a major where I can focus on Ebola and West Nile and Malaria  for the rest of my life.

In four days I will be flying to Ukraine. Surprise! I mean, what is life?

A Blogosphere thing that is happening right now is blogging every day in May. I won't be doing that (ha!), but I liked this prompt.

This post is supposed to my life life in 250 words or less. But the interesting thing is... I don't feel like that really says who I am. That's my skeleton but not my flesh. You wouldn't know me by reading those 216 words. You wouldn't know what I think about when I fall asleep at night or how much I love the Redwoods or that I say annoying things all the time ("Basically..." or "Let me just throw up in my mouth right now").

So there is my "life." But that's not all of me. Not even close.