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  • Writer's pictureShelbi Bailey

How My Mission Plans Turned Into Marriage Plans

A year ago I had no idea how my life would be today. I had imagined myself proselyting in a foreign country, already having gotten an amazing score on the DAT, and most of all marriage was definitely not in the picture.

When President Monson made the announcement about the missionary age change I immediately set up all the necessary appointments and started my pre-mission prep. I changed all my courses to take a much more strenuous schedule in preparation of taking the DAT earlier so I could come home from my mission and get straight back into the game. I started really studying the scriptures and for the first time I understood what it meant to “Feast upon the words”. I started praying morning and night. I changed my music habits. I got rid of all my immodest outfits and I tried to get rid of anything that might detract from the spirit. I’m ok with admitting that I was a regular teenager. I didn’t understand the importance of these things before I truly started to live them in preparation for a mission. I had no idea the importance of the temple or my baptismal covenants. I had no idea the blessings I had access to.

At first it was really hard to make these changes, but once I did I noticed so many blessings. The biggest of all, looking back, was that I met my husband!

The day after I submitted my papers I met my husband and I immediately thought he was pretty special. After our first date I was smitten. He was a gentleman and he was funny and we had such a good time. I felt so good when I was with him and I wanted to be with him as often as possible.

The more I got to know him, the less I felt comfortable with receiving my call. It was a really confusing time for me. I know the gospel is true, and I felt so good about preparing for a mission, but the more time passed the more I dreaded my call. I talked to my stake president and to my bishop and they both encouraged me to receive my call then see what happened. So although I had these feelings I kept doing the same things I was doing before and kept preparing for my call.

Finally the day came and I was called to the California Fresno Mission to teach the gospel in the Spanish language. When I got my call I felt really good. I know that the Lord knows me and I was assigned the perfect mission for me.

The day after I received my call I spoke with my bishop. In our meeting he strongly urged me to decide right then whether or not I would serve or keep dating Andy. So I went to the woods and prayed (sounds corny and weird, but when you live in a house with 6 girls there isn’t much privacy.) When I thought about breaking things off with Andy I felt horrible. I had never felt so upset. So I kept dating Andy and decided to put off any major decisions for later.

Over Spring break Andy came to meet my family and we went to the temple and while we were there we really talked about marriage and I knew it was the right decision for me. He made me so happy and he was everything I didn’t know I was looking for.

May 28, 6 days after I was supposed to enter the MTC, Andy took me to the St. Louis Arch and asked me to marry him. I said yes and July 26, 2013 we were married for time and eternity in the Salt Lake Temple.

I know that if I hadn’t prepared for a mission then I wouldn’t have been ready to meet Andy. Before I started preparing for a mission I didn’t have a strong enough testimony to understand the promptings I received or to understand the power of the covenants that I ended up making in the temple. I also know that if I hadn’t been preparing for a mission I probably would have felt self conscious about my testimony in my marriage because Andy had served a mission.

Preparing for a mission blessed me so much and I am so grateful for that. Since getting married I have been able to attend the temple frequently and go out with the sister missionaries and I learned something that I missed in my preparation, the true meaning of a mission. Before I served as a member missionary I thought that serving a mission was a way to show my devotion and have my testimony grow, which is true, but that isn’t the purpose of a mission.

Missions aren’t about where you go or what culture you are apart of or the language you speak. They are about helping others to know of our Heavenly Father’s love.The purpose of a mission is to bring people to the knowledge of the Gospel. To teach people of the redeeming love of our Savior who atoned for all our sins. To help people in their times of trial. To bring people to the waters of baptism so they can have eternal life and share eternity with their families.

My decision to get married instead of going on a mission was the hardest, yet most rewarding decision of my life. I had no idea that my marriage would lead me to understand my true mission as a wife and member missionary. I have never been so happy.

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