The desire to serve a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints varies among prospective missionaries. Two BYU-Hawaii students – one a returned missionary and one a prospective – shared what led them to give up 18-24 months in service of the Lord.
Nijhal Alueua, a freshman with an undecided major from Kahuku, almost served time in prison before finding his desire to serve an LDS mission. Alueua cut down a tree on school property with his friends as a senior prank. He said, "We thought it would be fun, and we thought [there wouldn’t be] any consequences that would follow."
After being caught, Alueua and his friends got suspended from Kahuku High School and were told by authorities that they would be arrested and tried as adults for trespassing. As remorse swept over him and his friends, Alueua said, "The one thing that improved our condition was that our parents fought for us."
He said their parents "pleaded with the principal and the principal found it to be merciful and drop the charges, as long as we provided community service and paid back the school $937.
"Something tragic had to make me realize there's so much more than this, which gave me the burning desire to serve the Lord." Alueua later served a fulltime LDS mission in the Georgia Atlanta North Mission.
An experience with EFY at age 14 led Monica Goodell, a freshman from Utah studying exercise and sports science, to serve a mission.
She said she knew exactly what she wanted to do but was surprised when her answer didn’t meet her desire.
Goodell remembers, "Right before I left [for EFY], my dad bore his testimony in church about his experience in the Missionary Training Center." She said her dad's testimony made her think that she wanted to serve a mission. With that in mind, she left for EFY with the question: "Should I serve a mission?"
While Goodell was there, she said she prayed about her question and “knew [then] that I wanted to serve a mission."
Though faith and excitement flooded her mind, she said her journey to serve wasn’t totally complete there. Goodell visited Africa the same summer she submitted her papers to serve an LDS mission. "I had some really cool missionary experiences there." According to Goodell, this got her more excited to receive her mission call.
As excited as Goodell felt, she said, "When I came [to BYUH], the first devotional I went to … I had this feeling I shouldn’t go on a mission, but I still really wanted to. I felt like I shouldn't.
"I was going to call my bishop and say, 'Don’t send my call because I don’t want to know where I'm going to go if I'm not supposed to go.' If I knew where I was going to go it would just make me want to go more."
After being advised by Goodell’s parents and peers, she decided to wait until she got her call. By then, she said, "I would know what I [was] supposed to do."
Goodell said she had faith in the Lord and trusted his path for her. "If he didn’t want me to go, then I guess I [could] be okay with that. It's his will. He has a bigger picture."
After receiving her mission call, Goodell said, "I opened it and I knew that I was supposed to go. That experience was supposed to teach me I could do whatever Heavenly Father needed me to do." Goodell will be reporting to the MTC on Jan. 31, 2018 to serve in the Baltic Latvia Region Mission.