“Not Enough for My Mission,” Ensign, Sept. 1999, 66
I had just turned 21 and was nearing the end of my third year at Brigham Young University when I attended a powerful fireside. It seemed as if the speaker directed his remarks specifically to me. The theme of the talk was missionary work, and my heart filled with the desire to serve.
After my finals were over, the three-day bus ride home to Pennsylvania afforded me the opportunity to plan and ponder. Since it is not every young woman’s role to serve a mission, I felt the need for confirmation of my decision through prayer and from my bishop. My first Sunday home I approached the bishop to make an appointment to see him. Before I could utter a word, he asked if he could speak with me in his office.
“The reason I called you in here,” he said, “is that I feel inspired to call you to serve a mission.”
My heart again burned as I said, “That’s exactly what I wanted to talk to you about!”
Once the decision to send in my papers was made, I sat down to figure out how I would pay for my mission. Finances were tight in our family of 10. I had managed to put myself through three years of college and felt confident I could earn the money for my mission the same way I had earned it for school: doing shift work and overtime in the shipping department of a local factory. With each paycheck, I paid my tithing first, reserved five dollars for spending money, and put the rest in the bank.
Over the next several months things went well. The pay was good, there was plenty of overtime, and my savings grew. When my call to Frankfurt, Germany, came, I was thrilled to know where I would serve.
Shortly after receiving my call, I received a letter of welcome from my future mission president. He explained what to bring and what weather to expect, and he included an estimate of how much money I would need for the 18 months of missionary service. As I tallied my savings and the money I would earn in the remaining month before my departure, I realized I would be $450 short. I was disheartened. I couldn’t have worked any harder or saved more judiciously. I felt I had nowhere to turn.
Not one to confide in others and believing Heavenly Father would help me, I earnestly turned to Him in prayer. I explained I had done all I could: I had worked hard, saved hard, and paid my tithing faithfully all my life, and now I needed help. A calm assurance came over me that all would be well.
But the next four weeks passed without a change in my situation. As I knelt in prayer the night before my last Sunday at home, I poured out my heart to Heavenly Father one last time concerning the matter. Again I was assured that He was mindful of my needs and that things would work out.
The next morning, as I walked out of my Sunday School class, a widowed sister took me aside and placed a check for $25 in my hand. She told me she had been seated at her table the night before, pen in hand, with the intent to write me a check for $100.
But suddenly the idea came to her that instead of giving me a one-time donation of $100, she should help out a little every month of my mission. In exchange, she asked that I write to her and share my experiences. “Each month,” she continued, “I’ll donate another $25. Would that be all right?”
“Of course. Thank you,” I said. Quickly calculating the figures in my head, I realized she would be donating a total of $450, the amount I was short! Chills ran up my spine, and again my heart swelled as I silently thanked Heavenly Father for sending His inspiration to this generous sister while I had been on my knees asking for His help.