I Will Prepare the Way

By Tiffany Tolman

Sister Katie Mart, a young Church-service missionary at the Records Operation Center in St. George, Utah, has personally witnessed the Lord’s promise to the faithful: “I will also be your light in the wilderness; and I will prepare the way before you, . . . and ye shall know that it is by me that ye are led” (1 Nephi 17:13). She knows because the path to her missionary service was clearly marked by the Lord.

Sister Mart is no stranger to roadblocks and trials. Born with spina bifida, a condition that affects the growth of her spine and spinal cord, Sister Mart has been paraplegic since birth. She also lost her mother to cancer when she was 17 years old, a trial that deeply impacted the dynamic of her immediate family—her father and all 17 adopted children.

When Sister Mart graduated from high school, she moved to St. George to attend college and live on her own. She enjoyed her time with roommates and school, and over the course of a few months, she had several experiences that pointed her toward serving a mission. After considerable personal reflection and counsel from her bishop, she prepared the paperwork to serve a full-time mission. But the Lord had a different path for her.

Sister Mart admits she didn’t like the answer she received. Even though she felt prepared to serve a proselytizing mission, she was asked to consider a young Church-service mission instead. For about a month, she avoided the topic, hoping to get a different answer. In her mind, there was a “perfect way”to serve a mission, and that road was being closed to her. Rather than experiencing the joy of opening a mission call surrounded by family and friends and the excitement of an unknown destination, she was being told to pick her own assignment and quietly serve from home.

And that’s when things got hard. As she recalls, “God will let us go along with our pride for a bit, and then those things come along—trials, hard times—that just humble you right up. And that’s what happened to me.”

Some difficult family situations occurred that forced her to decide the direction of her life. But at the same time, things started falling into place so perfectly for her to serve a young Church-service mission that she couldn’t help but recognize the Lord’s hand in her path.

And so she yielded to the Lord’s way and began her young Church-service mission in St. George.

Now she serves in the Records Operation Center, preparing documents for FamilySearch, and in the St. George Utah Temple. And her mission is changing her life. “I have learned so much,” she shares. “And this program not only gave me an opportunity to come closer to God, but to find myself, draw my family closer, and help me realize so much. It’s been a beautiful experience.”

To Sister Mart, this exact mission, one designed specifically for her, has been a great blessing in her life. “Choosing to do His work, when He wants me to, how He wants me to, has given me blessing upon blessing upon miracle. It has given me the ability to come to Christ as well as bring my family to Him. And as much as I didn’t want to with my pride, it has allowed God to work through me, and I have been able to learn of the Atonement.”

As a faithful young Church-service missionary, Sister Mart knows that God prepared the perfect way for her to participate in His great work of salvation. What she first saw as a stumbling block to her desire to serve has become a clear and open path to a greater joy and peace than she has even known.

If you are considering a young Church-service mission, you can explore opportunities here.