It's almost midnight. I was holding my mission-call letter. My palms were sweaty. My family was watching. Everyone was anxious to find out where I would be sent. My father was ready with his video camera. My mother was frantically trying to contact my brother and sister-in-law in Utah through a video call so that they could witness what was about to happen. My sister was sitting next to me, mentally recalling how she opened her own mission call letter almost ten years ago.
The family's unintended tradition was that I would be sent where I visited when I was ten years old - both my brother and my sister served in the place they visited when they themselves were ten: London, England and Salt Lake City, Utah respectively. Since Beijing, China was not yet opened to missionary work, the family joke was that I would be sent to Taiwan or Hong Kong.
Years of Preparation
This anxious moment of opening my mission call letter did not come easy. It was the outcome of almost 12 years of spiritual and mental preparation, and six months of paperwork and medical checkups.
In my seat, I did a quick reflection: Was it easy? No, it was not. I had to overcome challenges, and I knew there would be more ahead. Since the day I was baptized at eight, I knew that I had to serve. The certainty of going on a mission was confirmed when I received my priesthood, and again when I received my patriarchal blessing.
Then I thought about sacrifice. What did I have to give up? I chose not to pursue a career in the Singapore Air Force though I had the option. I have to defer my college education and delay my career aspirations by another two years. This meant my peers from Singapore would be two years ahead of me, and my friends studying overseas would be starting their careers by the time I am done with my mission.
The Plan of Salvation
If I am sacrificing so much, why do I want to go on a mission? Because I am a Christian and I believe in Christ. As Christians, we promise to be like Christ and to follow his example to serve others. What better way than to give all I have and follow him? What better way to follow him than to devote two years as a full-time missionary? At the heart of my mission is The Plan of Salvation, prepared by Heavenly Father to enable us to become like Him. The plan includes the Creation, the Fall, the Atonement of Jesus Christ, and all the laws, ordinances, and doctrines of the gospel. This plan makes it possible for us to be perfected through the Atonement, receive a fulness of joy, and live forever in the presence of God. Our family relationships can last throughout the eternities.
The moment has come
I could not wait any longer and I opened my mission-call letter. It read, 'Dear Elder Tan, you are hereby called to serve in Vancouver, Canada as a Mandrian speaking Missionary. You will report to the Provo Missionary Training Center in July 2018.'
I can't wait.