I joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in April 18, 1991, after many years of searching for answers to the many questions I had about the purpose of my existence, the meaning for the trials that come into our lives, the reasoning behind the suffering that befalls us through the bad choices of others, and ours, too, and most of all, the truth behind divinity, deity, and life eternal.
Since my baptism I have taken very seriously the covenants I have made with my Heavenly Father to obey His commandments and be a witness at all times and in all places. Perseverance, patience and obedience are traits I did not particularly possessed before, and which I have tenaciously worked on in acquiring all these years.
One of the things that sets the church apart from other Christian churches, among many others, is that it is ran by volunteers. We do not have paid pastors or leaders. My Bishop is retired now after long years of serving in the church while working as an engineer for a large corporation. I, myself, have served in leadership positions with the Relief Society, the Young Women, and the Primary organizations which serve the women, teenagers and children of the church, respectively, while working long hours at my regular job. Those assignments come to the members through what we know as “callings,” and believe they come through Heaven’s inspiration. Very seldom someone refuses the call. Most faithful members plow along and do the best they can, regardless of ever present feelings of inadequacy. It is so from the President of the Church, Thomas S. Monson, through the apostles, seventies, patriarchs, bishops, teachers, and missionaries, to the most humble member.
Recently, I received a calling to serve as a leader with the Young Women in my Ward. I have been entrusted to help these precious, beautiful, daughters of God, aged 12 through 17, traverse this scary world unscathed and empower them with the faith, strength and inspiration to keep the windows of Heaven open to them to resist temptations, to make right choices, to become strong women that realize their divine nature and seek to serve others less fortunate while building the foundations to successful lives.
Rarely, callings come at convenient times in our lives. Personally, I have found that most of my assignments to serve in the church have come when I least expected them, least wanted them, felt most ill-prepared for them, and I was being pulled in ten different directions simultaneously by previous engagements and responsibilities.
It is no different now. Two weeks ago, when I was interviewed by a member of the Bishopric and extended the call, all these excuses rushed through my mind. I am very busy with my ever growing patient load, working long hours. I have enrolled in demanding study courses to keep progressing and becoming self-reliant, through education and hard work, as the Lord wants us to be. I have not one, but several members of my family facing serious illnesses and looking to me for support. It has been a long time since I was a teenager myself, how can I relate to these children?
Then, came the realization that I believe the call came from God. He, better than anyone, knows my circumstances. He also knows my shortcomings but also my skills.
I smiled as I accepted the call while I felt my heart racing and my hands tremble, remembering that the miracle of the parting of the waters of the river Jordan did not come until the Israelites got their feet wet.
They first stepped into the water, trusting in God’s promise, and then they walked on dry soil when the promise was fulfilled.
So, what have I done these past two weeks? I regrouped. I reorganized. I changed schedules. I began a serious health plan for myself. I renewed my commitment to exercise, to Qi Gong, to healthy eating, to frequent acupuncture treatments even if it is only to open the four gates and keep my vital energy flowing. I have prayed earnestly and exercised my faith, asking humbly for strength, physical, emotional as well as spiritual to fulfill this task. In short, I have kept doing the little things which keep me strong and hoped for the best.
Life is good. Life is beautiful. Life is to be enjoyed and not only to be endured.
I share my last challenge and the way I am choosing to face it, with you my friends, because I am an ordinary woman called to do extraordinary things, and it is scary. But it is also possible.
Also because now I am sure that life with these bunch of precious children, Monica, Diana, Marifer, Miyoko, Jazmine, Beverly, Kiki, Beily, Janae, Laisa and Betzy promises to be a riot!
Fear not, little ones, I intent to not drop dead during our treks, camping and any other outdoorsy activity we may plan in the future, maybe just break a bone or two.
This is just my opinion...
As a single woman, a Mormon, and a western/ Chinese doctor.