I only have 99 days until I report to the MTC, how crazy is that? The days are going by so quick and I am getting more and more excited to go serve. I haven't made much progress in learning Portuguese; I probably should put more focus on that. I've been reading in Preach my Gospel. It is a great study tool, I recommend everyone read it. Summer is almost over, I go back to WV in less than two weeks. I am excited to see my family and all my friends but I'm not quite ready to go home yet. I love the Bledsoe family and it is going to be hard to say goodbye knowing that I won't see them for almost two years. Now on to what I wish I would have to known to do.
I wish I would have...
1. Known we didn't have a copy of my birth certificate. It took three weeks for me to receive my birth certificate after I found out mine was lost. I did have to get it from the State of PA, who has weird rules about getting those types of things. If you are planning on turning in your mission papers anytime soon make sure you know where your Official State Birth Certificate is. If you don't know find out how to get a copy of it, and if you can't get it locally order it the day you realize you don't have it. Even if you have a copy figure out how you can get another one, because if you have to apply for a Visa you may not get the copy you send for that back.
2. Applied for a passport. Obviously I had no idea I was going foreign and would need a passport but it would have been nice to already have it. Apply for a passport at least three weeks BEFORE you submit your mission papers. By the time your call comes, your passport should be there too. Even if you don't go foreign it won't hurt to have one.
3. Known Mission Prep Class was so awesome and went the whole summer and not just the last month. Mission prep is a great class, and I have learned a lot from it. If your Stake has Mission Prep class I strongly encourage you to go.
4. Taken notes during church way before now. Taking notes has really helped me the last couple of months to pay attention to what the speakers and teachers are saying. The speakers and teachers say a lot of important things that I always tell myself "That is such a good point, I should be doing that." I never remember exactly what they said after church is over and never really do half the stuff I tell myself I will. Taking notes has helped me to commit myself to doing those things.
5. Been better at keeping a journal. Over the last ten years I probably have started about a dozen journals. I have not finished one of them. Over the last month I have written so much in my journal, there have been so many things that have happened that I did not want to forget. Even reading back through some of my entries I wrote a few weeks ago, I can see how much I have changed for the better. I'm really excited to start my actual mission journal. I have had it since Christmas but I have been saving it for two reasons. 1. It is the perfect mission journal; it has a beautiful picture of Jesus Christ on it. 2. I promised myself I would finish the journal I have now. I'm getting pretty close, probably by the time I leave it will be full. It is fun to know that I can go back and share the things that happened while preparing for my mission with my future children one day.
There are other things I wish I would have been better about doing, the list could go on and on. Preparing for a mission has brought many great blessing but it hasn't been an easy path. There have been times where I have gotten super frustrated that things weren't working out perfectly. Although there have been a few speed bumps everything has worked out the way it was supposed to. I know that if I continue to have faith and trust in Heavenly Father he will always be there to help me.