This past week, I made a decision that will greatly impact my future and education. I decided to serve a full-time proselytizing mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. As someone who considers myself to be a more reclusive academic, this decision came as a surprise to many people. I am the only member of the Church in my family, my choice to go on a mission was difficult for my parents to understand, but they are supportive of my decision. I would like to attribute part of my decision to go on a mission to this course. My comfort zone is to learn from a classroom setting, film, or books. Field work is extremely out of my element. When I first considered a mission back in September of 2018, I quickly dismissed it, knowing how uncomfortable I am in social situations. However, this class forced me out of my comfort zone by asking me to go to congregations and religious specialists and talk to those I meet. If it was possible to fake doing these assignments, I promise I would have. However I could not see a way to do that, so I was forced to socialize and communicate with strangers. My heart was always pounding before my visits and interview, but I pushed forward, knowing how important these experiences were to my learning in this course.
Moving forward with my mission has happened in a similar way. I am scared beyond belief. Proselytizing is far out of my comfort zone. However, I know that this will help me to learn and grow both as a person of faith and an academic. I plan on applying to do a Graduate Degree in LDS Theology after my time here at the University of Redlands, and nothing will teach me this subject better than serving a mission. I am very excited for this next stage of my life and for the opportunity I will have to observe the differences in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints around the world.