Going to the MTC tomorrow

Well this is it! My last night before going into the MTC! I can’t believe how fast the last few months have flown. I thought I had so much more time to get stuff together. Despite how quickly it snuck up on me, I am still so excited to go. I get giddy just thinking about it. I am really excited to go to the Missionary Training Center and learn Spanish and everything I’ll need to know to communicate the message to the people of Virginia. I know it will be so hard leaving my family and friends for 18 months, but I can’t wait to serve the Lord and spread His gospel. I know there will be many trials ahead, but I think that the next year and a half will be the best of my life so far. I hear mail is a real treat on the mission, so I’d love for everyone to write me! My mailing address until April 24th is:

Sister Jacquelyn Mele Karson
MTC Mailbox # 139
VA-RICH 0424
2005 N 900 E
Provo, UT 84604-1793

I can also be reached (for free) at dearelder.com. Just select the Provo MTC Mission, hit the “write a letter” button, fill out my info, write your message, and voila! It’s that easy. No excuses 😉

I don’t know my actual address in Virginia yet, so keep checking back and I’ll have my sweet mother (who has graciously accepted the task of updating my blog while I’m away) post it as soon as I find it out.

Love y’all, miss everyone already, and “God be with you til we meet again.”

Love,
Hermana Karson

Virginia Richmond Mission fun facts

• Richmond was the capital of the Confederacy during the Civil War. So much history!

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• Virginia is one of 4 states in the country that are recognized as commonwealths. I’m not sure just exactly what this means, but it sounds pretty cool!

• The first representative legislature was founded in Jamestown, in 1619. Jamestown was also the first permanent English settlement in North America. Most importantly, however, Jamestown is the setting for the story of Pocahontas and John Smith!

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• The Revolutionary War ended in Yorktown, Virginia in 1781. Many of the great battle sites have been preserved.

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• Monticello, the home and creation of Thomas Jefferson, stands just outside of Charlottesville, the home of the University of Virginia.

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• The earliest settlements of America are founded in Virginia. Three of these settlements have been preserved today.

• Sir Walter Raleigh established the very first English colony in 1585 on Roanoke Island in Pimilco Sound, near Elizabeth City, North Carolina. This is where the first English child was born in America: Virginia Dare, 1587. Later, all of the colonists disappeared, making it known today as the “Lost Colony.” I do love a good mystery!

• Kitty Hawk, North Carolina marks the place where Orvil and Wilber Wright made their first powered flight in 1903. With a former Naval Aviator for a father, this fact is especially exciting.

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• Average annual rainfall is 44 in. by the coast and 36 in. by the mountains. Coming from the Panhandle of Texas, this whole moisture thing will be a new world for me.

These facts about Virginia’s history all came from the packet I received from my mission office. Reading all of them makes me so excited to live and serve there! Being a bit of a museum enthusiast, I know exactly what I want to do on my p-days!

the call

In the 2012 October General Conference, Thomas S. Monson made an exciting announcement lowering the minimum age requirement of elders to 18 (previously 19) and sisters to 19 (previously 21) https://www.lds.org/youth/video/welcome-to-conference?lang=eng. Having already turned 19 in May, I had the opportunity to begin on my papers immediately. So, I began the process of filling out the paperwork. I met with my bishop, stake president, doctor, and dentist, and turned in my complete application to the Church office within a couple weeks. Two weeks after that, on November 14, I was mentally absent from every one of my classes as I waited for the mail lady to deliver my big white envelope. the big white envelope!After several agonizing hours waiting for the previously appointed time and setting up a group Skype call to my available family members, I was finally able to find out where I was being sent. After dealing with the minor issue of actually opening the envelope, I read my call aloud.

“Dear Sister Karson: You are hereby called to serve as a missionary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. You are assigned to labor in the Virginia Richmond Mission…You should report to the Provo Missionary Training Center on Wednesday, March 13, 2013. You will prepare to preach the gospel in the Spanish language.”

I thought that I would be disappointed not to serve my mission in some exotic land somewhere that I needed a map to find, but as soon as I read my call aloud, I was filled with the peace of knowing that I was going to the right place, at the right time. The Lord doesn’t make mistakes. He loves His children all over the world, including the United States. I will be one of the first 19 year-old sister missionaries to serve a full-time mission. I am so excited to share the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ with every person I meet in Virginia! I’ve been blessed with a tremendous opportunity to give 18 months of my life back to the Lord. I’m sure I will have many new and exciting experiences while on my mission, and I cannot wait.