When I held my mission call in my hand for the first time, I felt the weight of it. Not merely the weight of several papers and an informational booklet, but the weight of the responsibility I was about to take on. There's an indescribable joy that fills your heart when you hear your bishop, and then your stake president, tell you that they consider you worthy to be a full-time missionary for the church. But to hold in your hand a letter from the Prophet, calling you to be a witness to all the world of the Savior Himself... it's hard to find words to describe how I felt. Joy, gratitude, wonder, awe, and above all else, humility.
This is the picture that came to my mind first. It's one of my favorite Norman Rockwell paintings (and anyone who knows me knows how much I love Norman Rockwell paintings). It encompasses my feelings about being a missionary. Especially as time goes by, I'm grateful that I have four months ahead of me before I actually leave, because I have a LOT to work on.
President Hinkley, who was the leader of the church when I was in high school, once said while speaking to a room full of missionaries, "You're not much to look at, but you're all the Lord has." He was a funny man. Funny, and oh, so right! It's been a source of consistent awe for me, to watch the Lord accomplish His purposes through the flawed and weak mortals who desire to serve Him.
In a way, I feel like Captain America before the super-steroid injections-- little and weak with a huge determination to do something great.
Especially as I struggle with the pronunciation of simple Portuguese words, I'm putting full faith in the Lord to expand my capacity to think, feel, learn, and be all that I can to serve the people of Brazil. I know I could never do it on my own, but if I do all that I can, I know that the Lord will make good use of me yet.