Ever since my youth, I have had a very strong desire to serve a mission. I wanted to have the “best two years” of my life, teaching people about the gospel and bringing souls unto Christ. I wanted to make a difference. I knew I had some medical considerations that could hinder my ability to serve but I didn’t let that get in the way. I mean, miracles happen on missions, don’t they?
When the time came to apply for a mission, I completed and submitted my forms. I was so excited. I was going to get a call from the Lord, given through the prophet, and help people. Maybe I would go to a different country and learn a new language. I was going to have an adventure.
After I submitted my papers, I was continuously checking my mobile phone for the long-awaited email, but it never came. I tried to be patient – I knew it would happen in the Lord’s time – but nothing happened. Eventually, after nine weeks of waiting, my Stake President visited my ward, and asked to see me. I guessed that it was something to do with my mission. I was right, but not in the way that I had expected. He told me that I had failed one of my medical tests, and as a consequence was advised not to serve a mission.
The news hit me like a brick. But after the meeting, a sudden overwhelming feeling of peace came over me. Heavenly Father knew that I would have struggled on my mission and that He didn’t want to put me through anything I couldn’t cope with. However, it was not easy. I now had the painstaking task of telling my friends and ward members. Even though everyone was very supportive and comforting, I still felt ashamed, particularly because most of my friends are returned missionaries. They are always talking about how much they loved their missions, and all the spiritual experiences they had. I felt so inferior. I was also attending other friends’ leaving and homecoming parties. Though I was very happy for them all, it was still painful. I tried to apply for a service mission instead but for technical reasons it didn’t work out. I was distraught. I felt like such a failure. I felt like I had let everyone down. Going to church and Institute was hard.
However, I was still able to go to the Temple and receive my own endowment. It was such an amazing experience. I felt Heavenly Father’s strong love for me, despite not serving a mission. I was overwhelmed by how many people had come to support me. I realised nobody cared that I couldn’t go on a mission; they loved me just the same. The whole experience healed my emotional wounds.
After this, I attended the Temple two or three times a week so that I could continue to feel that beautiful spirit. I even applied to serve a Temple mission. Then COVID-19 came, and all the temples around the world were shut. I had to abandon my application. It was another difficult experience but after much prayer and scripture study, I have learned that God has a different plan for me. He needs me to be where I am for the time being. Though I don’t know why, I am sure I will soon find out.
It has been twelve months since I started my mission application. Whether I will serve a mission in this life, I don’t know; but what I do know is that no matter what, Heavenly Father loves me and has a plan for me, greater than I can ever imagine. I know that one day I will look back and understand why all this has happened. But for now, I will serve Him by fulfilling my current callings, reaching out to others and sharing the Gospel with my non-member friends. That’s still missionary work, after all.
UPDATE: Jakob Borgen has received his mission letter to serve a church service mission and he starts in September 2020.