My family has been a great support for me as I recently thought more seriously about this whole mission thing. They can attest that I have said my whole life "one day I will probably go on a mission." Now It's really happening in large part because of them. My parents both served when they were young and I know that they really wanted me to do the same. (Mom served in The Netherlands Amsterdam Mission and Dad served in the Japan Tokyo North Mission, both a long time ago. ;) I am so excited to further their legacy in teaching people about the Gospel. I know I am only the first of us kids to go. Joe, you are next! And you too, Chloe!
My friends and all their support was vital last winter semester at BYU as I prepared to submit my papers to ask for a call. My roommate and best friend Marina was such a good example of following personal revelation to go on a mission when she had never thought of it as even a possibility in her life. She got her call a few months before me to the Bangkok Thailand Mission and just reported to the Missionary Training Center in Provo last week! (To follow her adventures visit: http://sistermarinapeterson.blogspot.com)
My dear boyfriend Kenny actually gave me the final nudge that I needed to really jump on my papers. It was very sweet of him to get me excited with mission stories of his own! You better write me.
I got to work on my papers at the same time as 2 of my other best friends too. Rachel and Katie got their calls right after me and we are so excited that we are all going together! Rachel is going to the Paraguay Asuncion Mission and also just reported to the Mexico MTC. (She is the most experienced blogger of us all: http://ofgreenthings.blogspot.com) Katie is going to the Honduras San Pedro Sula West Mission reporting in October also to Mexico. (Katiemarie's blog: http://katiemarieharmon.blogspot.com) It's amazing to think that we have each other when we are out there even though we will be worlds apart. Literally!
So my call came right at the end of last winter semester. Right before Finals. Yah that was rough! I got all the friends together and my visiting teacher was nice enough to hold my tiny laptop up to eye level so my skyping family could see me open the biggest white envelope you ever saw.
(Also please notice "The Field Is White..." shirt I am wearing. Appropriate right?)
I was so incredibly nervous and excited. I also almost started crying, which made things even more complicated. It was hard for me to get the words out!
"Dear Sister Emily Suzanne Orton,
You are hereby called to serve in the Japan Tokyo Mission."
Not only do I get to go where my dad served, but I also get to go back to close to where I used to live in Elementary School! I am stocked! I am so glad that I already know Japanese pretty well and that I can use that skill to help further God's work in this beautiful country! I will be reporting to the the Provo MTC August 28th, which is in exactly 8 days. Ahhhhh!
Last and most importantly, I am going on a mission because of Jesus Christ. He has paved the way for us to journey back to live with Him and with our Heavenly Father with our families and friends forever. I want nothing more than to make Him proud sharing this testimony with the wonderful people of Japan. I hope that I can help many people also know the hope and joy of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, which means everything to me!