Called to Serve, Chicago Style

My family outside the MTC. Oh, so many thoughts and feelings are going through my head and heart right now. But, can we comment on how SMALL my brother Luke is? Seriously.

I don’t that many religious things here on the bloggy blog. Besides a few mentions of my Mormon religion. While it is very important and special to me, I just don’t feel like this is the appropriate stage to share it on. Except when it’s relevant to my weight-loss/running story. Which, I guess, is why I am writing this post.

What seems like yesterday, but definitely wasn’t, I entered the Missionary Training Center (MTC) in Provo, Utah, 14 years ago today. FOURTEEN YEARS AGO! Excuse me while I hyperventilate into this paper bag. It just doesn’t feel like that long ago. But, the year 2000 was most definitely 14 years ago last time I checked the calendar.

There are many, many, many lessons I that I learned while on my mission. Just thinking of a few off the top of my head here are a few …

  • Change is inevitable, just go with the flow.
  • If you think you can or cannot, you’re usually right.
  • I can do hard things (TWSS).
  • I can get along with pretty much anyone.
  • I don’t like the taste of chitlins.
  • Rules are there for a reason.
  • Dead cats don’t make good pets.

My mission really was life changing. The person that I was before spending two years in Chicago was much different then the person when I returned. I hated change and couldn’t handle it very well. But, I learned to deal with it fairly quickly. I was involved in five emergency transfers (transfers in between regular six-week transfer periods) and dealt with five different companions in one month. You learn quickly to not worry about things that are out of your control.

In addition, I learned to apply myself towards goals I wanted to attain. I set out to memorize my discussions and memorize over 100 scriptures. It took a lot of hard work, praying and practice, but I did it. This really helped me distance myself further from my Special Ed mentality I got from my K-12 education. Sure I pulled myself out of Special Ed in my senior year, but it wasn’t until my mission that I FINALLY knew that I was smarter than I gave myself credit for.

And, then there was the weight. Before I started my 180lbs. journey, I had a 60lbs. journey on my mission. This was where I started understanding food, portions and nutrition. It didn’t all sink in 100%, but the foundation was laid for what I started in 2009. More than anything I think just KNOWING that I could lose the weight helped prepare me for this journey.

I am grateful for those lessons … big and small. It’s very much contributed to who I am today. Plus, I’ve made some lifelong friends along the way, including my first personal trainer Kevin. Kevin was one of my missionary friends and last District Leader.

Anyways, here a few pictures of me on my mission in Chicago you might enjoy. Too bad today doesn’t fall on a Thursday so I could count this as a #TBT post. Anyways, the pictures …

The Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah. I spent three weeks here getting training before I left for Chicago.
My first day in the mission field in Chicago. I was so sick. I caught a nasty cold while at the MTC and felt like crap in this picture.
My first companion, Elder Morrill and I at the Chicago LDS Temple in Glenview, IL.
We got to go to the Cubs’ Opening Day game in 2001 against the Expos. Of course the Cubs lost the game. But, it was fun.
Me, Elder Bangerter, the sister missionaries and Betty Henningfeld. I lost contact with her. I need to Google her.
The closest thing we get to dating while on the mission. So much love in this picture.
I ate my life quota of lasagna while in Chicago.
I tried to be serious in this picture. But … yeah … totally Children of the Corn here.
Um … yeah … don’t give yourself a haircut. Just go to a barber.

And then to finish off the pictures here’s this gem from my last area before I was ready to go back home. I am such a poser.

200796_1002432391945_5726_nNow go visit and become a Mormon if you haven’t already. I mean it is the “IN” thing to these days. Mitt Romney does it. Steve Young does it. Donny and Marie do it. And, Ryan Gosling used to do it.

Just sayin’ … 😉


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