Sunday, November 17, 2013

Why I Chose to Serve?

I had always thought it would be cool to serve a mission but it was still so far away that I hadn't begun to plan for it. Actually, I didn't quite have a plan. At this time I was a running start student at Columbia Basin College and a senior at Richland High School. I planned to graduate in May from High School but because it was only my first year at CBC, I would still be 22 credits short from receiving my Associates Degree at that time. I really wanted to finish my degree to guarantee the full transfer rather than trying to transfer credits and having some not accepted.

My options were either to cram in all the credits during the summer or stay for the fall while all my friends were off at college. Neither sounded appetizing. I LOVE summer time and fill all my time teaching swim lessons in my backyard. Its been the greatest experience and I didn't want to trade it for studying day and night with an overloaded class schedule. And being stuck in Tri-Cities until January while friends were out having a good time at college sounded awful. I knew I needed to go to college and further my education after my AA, but I honestly had no motivation to and as much as I knew I had to do it, I lacked the desire. 

Then last year on October 6th, 2012, President Thomas S. Monson announced an age change in missionaries. He proposed that Sister Missionaries could now serve at age 19 rather than waiting until age 21. 

Instantly I knew that was what I was going to do. I didn't doubt it for a second. I begun texting friends and family and we rejoiced over the marvelous announcement and opportunities it brought. That night was my Senior Homecoming. It was so fun to be together with several of my friends celebrating this incredible opportunity that had just been presented to us. I can remember this day so vividly and consider it to be one of the greatest days of my life.

It wasn't until the next day that it really began to sink in. I would be 19 in a year a couple months. I felt so unprepared. But that feeling of inadequacy was quickly followed by a plan to improve, study more, memorize more and rely more fully on the Lord to build a stronger relationship with Him.

As the year went on, the excitement to serve a mission didn't at all diminish but only increased. All of my closest friends had a strong desire to serve the Lord as well and we helped each other prepare. One good friend and I started having Preach My Gospel studies daily to know better understand the purpose of a missionary and the order that they should present the gospel to those they teach. There was even one Friday night when my cousin Mitch set up for us all to study with some missionaries currently serving. In January the Church started a Missionary Preparation class Sunday mornings at 7:00 am. It was amazing to see how many of us youth showed up bright and early on the bitter cold winter mornings to learn how to prepare and be the best missionaries possible.

It wasn't until later that Spring that a good friend asked me if I had prayed to know if I was supposed to serve a mission. It kinda caught me off guard and I realized that I hadn't. I just assumed that's what the Lord would want me to do. Later that night and for the rest of the week I prayed hard to know if serving a mission was what I truly needed to do. I felt a strong confirmation that this was the decision I needed to make. I wanted so badly for everyone around me to understand the overwhelming joy the gospel can bring.

Later in June, the evening I met with my Bishop to activate my papers, I felt an even stronger confirmation. I have never felt so right about any decision I have ever made. I can't quite explain it but I could not doubt that this was the next step I needed to take in my life.

The night I received my call I received a yet again stronger confirmation that the first two. I know that I have been called of God to minister among the people in Mexico City. I am anxious to serve the Lord full time and help others come unto Christ and accept His gospel. I often fall into feelings of inadequacy and feel far from worthy to represent my Savior and wear His sacred name on chest. I then have to remind myself that "God doesn't call the qualified, He qualifies the called." I know that I can not fail with the Lord on my side and that if I show Him I am willing through obedience, He will increase my capacity to love, serve and help others know the of the truthfulness of the gospel.

A quote by Neal A. Maxwell that gives me strength, "God does not begin by asking us about our ability, but only our availability, and if we prove our dependability, He will increase our capability"

I know that we all be great if we just chose to align our will with the will of our Heavenly Father. He will help us to reach our divine potential. His ways are perfect. He has a plan for each of us. He desires so strongly for each of us to be happy. He wants to bless us. I want so badly for everyone to feel the love their Father in Heaven has for them individually.

This is why I have chosen to serve a mission. I cannot express how grateful I am for the opportunity to serve.  

Sunday, September 29, 2013

My Acceptance Letter

Dear Brethren,

I accept the call to serve as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I am humbled with this privilege to represent Him and witness of the truthfulness and joy that comes through His Gospel to the people of Mexico City. 

I promise to serve the Lord with all my heart, might, mind and strength and strive to do His will with all that I do and say. I know that I have been called of God and this is the place I need to go. I have felt the Spirit confirm this to me and I am anxious to learn and grow with those I teach in Mexico. 

I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer. I know that “His way is the path that leads to happiness in this life and eternal life in the world to come.” (Living Christ) I know that I will be led and protected by the Spirit and will be able to help the work of the Lord progress if I put all my trust in Him. I eagerly await this service and will do my best to prepare myself in every way that I can.

Marissa Rhoten 

Monday, September 23, 2013

My Mission Call

Click to watch a video of me opening my call through Facebook!

Dear Sister Rhoten,

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 Mexico Mexico City East Mission. It is anticipated that you will serve for a period of 18 months. 

You should report to the Provo Missionary Training Center on Wednesday, February 5, 2014. You will prepare to preach the gospel in the Spanish language. Your assignment may be modified according to the needs of the mission president.

You have been recommended as one worthy to represent the Lord as a minister of the restored gospel. You will be an official representative of the Church. As such, you will be expected to maintain the highest standards of conduct and appearance by keeping the commandments, living mission rules, and following the counsel of your mission president. As you devote your time and attention to serving the Lord, leaving behind all other personal affairs, the Lord will bless you with increased knowledge and testimony of the Restoration of the truths of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Your purpose will be to invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. As you serve with all your heart, might, and strength, the Lord will lead you to those who are prepared to be baptized. 

The Lord will reward you for the goodness of your life. Greater blessings and more happiness than you have yet experienced await you as you humbly and prayerfully serve the Lord in this labor of love among His children. We place our confidence in you and pray that the Lord will help you become an effective missionary.

You will be set apart as a missionary by your stake president. Please send your written acceptance promptly, endorsed by your bishop.


President Thomas S. Monson