Life Changing Moments While Young

Last week I found myself at the Portland, OR Mormon temple visitor’s center. I hadn’t really planned to be there, but I just saw it as I was driving up the freeway and decided to swing by. Looking to gather some more stories, I knew the sister missionaries inside would be welcoming and I’d probably be able to have a chat with a couple of them.

They shared with me a beautiful message about their faith. On a personal level, it was something that I appreciated hearing as I travel. It grounded me in my own faith and brought a sense of peace to me.

Admittedly, there is this part of me that doesn’t want to editorialize too much of what I share. I’d like to let it be what it is. On the other hand, I do have some observations I’d love to share. Something that stood out to me as I told these two sister missionaries about my project of going around and collecting life stories from people was there was a little apprehension on their part. Most people are reserved about talking to me about their lives at first, but with these two there was this sense of feeling too young to really have much to share.

What I’m finding as I talk to people is that no one is too young or too vanilla to have a life story worth sharing. As Madi (Sister Thunell) started to open up about her story, it was clear to me that this 19 year old had and was in the midst of a life changing experience. She’s finding herself doing something she had never imagined herself doing and she loves who she is for doing it.

I suppose that for me the beautiful take away is that there is never a phase of life so small or mundane to the point of negating opportunity for growth and actualization. And really, when young, life changing moments are more common than maybe we realize.

In the clip you hear Sister Thunell describe her journey to becoming a missionary. Sister Thunell, her companion, Sister Piahana and me had a very heartfelt moment with each other outside of the clip that was very precious to me. Not only did Sister Thunell demonstrate how monumental life can be at any time, they both were willing to have a compassionate, human moment that I hold dear to my heart.

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