I joined the Church at 18, when the first branch in Kazakhstan was organized. At the time, there were no full-time missionaries, only good member missionaries. My baptism was an amazing spiritual experience. However, as a recent convert with a shaky testimony, I eventually fell away from the Church when my family faced trials.
Around the same time I started attending a nearby university, my mother, who had just had a baby, got divorced. She was unable to work, and we didn’t have enough money to live. As the oldest of three, I knew I needed to provide for my family. I had to make the hard decision to put them first, and I left school to find a full-time job.
I took a front desk job at a company that distributed international goods. Though I had no experience, I set a goal to become someone everyone could rely on. I pursued that goal, and over the next year I moved up in the company until I was promoted to be a manager. It was a prestigious job in a good company. There was even a company saying, “No one leaves by himself—there are only two reasons to leave: if you are pregnant or fired.” I never planned to leave.
But I did. I left everything I had built. Because after five years of my being a less-active member, Heavenly Father knew I was missing something in my life. He brought me back to the Church in a way only He knew would work for me.
I received a personal revelation to serve a mission, and it was very unexpected. Serving a mission would mean leaving my job and all I had achieved there, as well as leaving my family without financial support. It was terrifying. Part of me wanted to go, but another part of me was so scared of leaving my family. But after praying and agreeing to follow Heavenly Father’s will for me, I felt peace about leaving and knew that He would take care of my family while I was gone. And I made a decision I never thought I would ever make: I sent in my mission papers.
As I waited for my call, I was so tempted to change my mind, but because I stayed true to my decision to serve and follow God’s plan for me, I found my own testimony of the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ. My mission and my other decisions to follow God’s plan for me prepared me for a life I never knew I would have. Because of the testimony I gained on my mission, I was sealed in the temple. I am now a wife and a mother. I’ve received more blessings than I can count because I chose to make the Church a part of my life again. I cannot imagine my life without the gospel and the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost. I don’t know where I would be if I hadn’t followed the Lord’s will for me.
I know that if we strive to do what Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ want us to do and trust Them, despite our fears, we will be blessed with even more than we ask for because of Their infinite love and mercy for all of us.