“Sticking to My Decision,” Ensign, Sept. 2011, 22
When I turned 21, I started feeling promptings to serve a mission. I had never planned on a mission, so these thoughts were unexpected. My priesthood leader encouraged me to pray about it, and I did so.
My answer came very clearly: I knew that God wanted me to serve a mission. I initially felt excited about serving, but leaving on a mission was more challenging than I had anticipated.
My boss did not understand why I would leave for 18 months, and he didn’t want to give me time off to prepare for leaving. He gave me an ultimatum: “Work or don’t work. It’s your choice.” As scary as it was to not work in the final weeks before my mission, I chose to leave that job.
Completing the medical requirements was also complicated. My doctor in my native country, Russia, had never seen the Church’s missionary medical documents before and refused to sign them.
Obstacles like these made me wonder whether I had really made the right choice. Several times I came close to changing my mind. But in those times of doubt, I remembered the answer I had received to my prayer and was able to stick to my decision to serve. Eventually, I found solutions to these and other challenges I encountered.
I was called to serve in the Russia St. Petersburg Mission. The first few months in the mission field were not easy. But because of what I learned in dealing with the obstacles I faced in preparing to serve, I was able to confront the challenges of my mission. My mission—and the difficulties I faced in preparing for it—taught me that I can do difficult things with the Lord’s help.