About Me

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I am so glad you have stumbled upon my little blog :) My name is Sister Jessica Mae Turley, and I am a Missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, serving in Washington D.C., Preaching in American Sign Language! I Love the gospel of Jesus Christ and how it applies to my life every single day in many different ways. Hopefully you gain something from my adventures :) Please feel free to share this blog anywhere you'd like :)

Sunday, September 29, 2013

The 11 Month Journey - Part 2

**Pre-Post Rant** So I am getting really anxious to be writing about current life. I don't know how many more posts I will really do about Washington even though there are so many amazing things that I experienced and I want to share everything!!! But There is at least THIS post. We will see how far I get :)

OK: So I started attending the Olympia YSA Branch and immediately I was put to work. **Back Story: I took ASL (American Sign Language) all through High School and even some in College** The first thing I noticed during Sacrament Meeting was the cute little blond girl at the front of the chapel, signing to a guy in the front row. I was sooo excited!!!! I have such a great passion for Sign Language but I really never get to use it. I introduced myself to them after and they had me interpret during Sunday School. MOST HUMBLING MOMENT EVER. I was terrified and so overwhelmed. They don't teach you religious signs in school so i was stumbling over every word. But they were so gracious and so loving and so excited to accept me and teach me. Over the next few weeks I began to make some great friends and I was called to serve in the Relief Society Presidency as the 1st Counselor. That was so humbling and also such a great experience. I was able to serve in a capacity I had never experienced before. I remember being so overwhelmed and so thrown off because I had a responsibility to LOVE these sisters... but I didn't know any of them!!I remember so many moments sitting in Presidency meetings, talking about Sisters we were concerned about, or needed to give an assignment to, or ones we were going to visit and I wouldn't know who they were and I would be so frustrated with myself for not knowing them. And then one day, there was a new sister in our ward that I had kicked it off with and she was brought up in a meeting and I knew who she was, and got to fill everyone in on her and no one else knew her. I was so excited and immediately this love that I was suppose to inherently have just landed on me. The best thing was that I not only felt all of this love that I had for these Sisters, but I saw who Heavenly Father knew them to be and felt how much He loved them, individually. Through that I understood better who He needed me to be for them and how I was able to use my gifts and talents to care for them in this stewardship and responsibility I had for them.

Wow, that rant came out of nowhere, sorry about that. I mean, I'm not, if I really was I would have deleted it.

Anywho. So life continued, I was taking the temple prep class, studying, doing the little i could to prepare myself for the mission that seemed so far away. But the real preparation came through living my life every day. I was working for so many families and they were all so very different. I had such a rare experience that really touched my heart. I had received a call from a mother who needed an occasional sitter. So the first time I went over to her house to meet her and sit for her, she had a Doctors appointment because she was pregnant. She came home that afternoon in tears and immediately I knew what had happened. I almost started crying. All I could think to do was give her a hug, but I had just met this woman four hours ago and she wasn't a part of this culture that we have in the church, hugs were a bit crossing the line. So i stood there, awkward as all get out, and offered my sympathies and told her that I am here for her whenever she needed me. And we became so close and invested in each others' lives. This one unfortunate moment had made us great friends. After a while she became pregnant again there was one day she was having some pains and she had asked me to come babysit so she could go to the doctors but i was working. So we texted for a little bit and I had this unique opportunity to bare my testimony about faith and trusting in the Lord and his timing and his Plan. She was so scared (I can't even imagine) and I knew that whatever I had to say wouldn't be enough. it had to be words from our Heavenly Father, she had to know that things were going to be ok no matter what was going on. So I testified. and she responded so graciously and so lovingly. That was a moment that I realized why we are asked to serve missions. People need the gospel in their lives. They need faith. they need to know that there is a plan and a purpose to everything.

So many of these moments presented themselves to me. I was not working for a single LDS family. But they were all so accepting of me and so curious and we could talk so openly. It was great! I also go to hear some of the crazy misconceptions and myths that people have about us.

It was a much different environment living in Washington, where the church is not nearly as populated, compared to Arizona where I have four church buildings with in ten minutes of me and soon to be a Temple.

Which was another thing i truly loved. I would go to the temple every week and it was the greatest blessing in my life. things that usually would be so hard for me started getting easier and I became more aware of the Lords hand in my life.

*Spoiler alert - huge moment of pride and weakness coming up in the next paragraph**

There was a time, after I had been going to the temple so often, that I became very annoyed with doing Baptisms. I was sick of being this 20 year old, "so mature and wise" (I can see my dad rolling his eyes now), stuck in a room of obnoxious, irreverent, and immature 13 year olds. I wanted to go and feel the spirit, I wanted to be uplifted, I wanted to have great spiritual moments, but they were continuously interrupted by giggling, and talk of this crush and that gossip. I was also frustrated that I was stuck doing such a trivial task. I had been doing Baptisms for 8 years! hadn't I learned enough yet? One particular visit I was feeling very frustrated by all of this. There was a large group of youth there being very irreverent and I just wanted some peace and quiet. I looked over at a girl next to me, not a part of of the group, reading the scriptures. At that moment I felt a big honkin' baseball bat hit me upside the head and say "Hey, you with the big head and prideful heart, stop being such a brat and learn something". So I did just that. I said a quick prayer, asking for some major forgiveness and for a spirit of learning and peace. I got up, grabbed a set of scriptures, and started reading everything I could about Baptism. I was so surprised by how much I learned in that 15 minutes of study. especially about an ordinance that I have been engaging in since I was 8 years old. I became so excited for this work that I was doing and so grateful for those obnoxious 13 year old who were choosing to be in such a holy place when so many of their peers weren't. I was overcome with love and understanding. I also got the biggest piece of Humble Pie I have ever had to eat. I realized that this was another teaching moment about the mission for me. A big part of my purpose was to bring people to be baptized, to take that first step in living the gospel. how on earth was I suppose to preach about the importance of baptism if I was annoyed by participating in it myself? Glad that Heavenly Father had my back on that one. :)

(I just realized how long this post is getting)

I will probably save the next few adventures for another post seeing as you are all probably getting extremely bored reading about my life lessons.

I am so grateful for these experiences that I have had and I am so glad that My Heavenly Father knows me so well that He placed me in the exact place I needed to be in order to learn these crucial lessons.

Until next time!! - Jessie Mae

Thursday, September 26, 2013



The 11 Month Journey - Part 1

So I moved up to Washington and less than a week after moving in and settling in I had job interviews left and right. My plan was to Nanny for the little bit I was there and save up for the mission. I went to my first one, interviewing with the Nixon family. I met them and was honestly overwhelmed. I had never been in such a structured home before. But I was very confident in my ability to be their Nanny so I jumped in feet first. I met Wendy, the mother, and I felt we had hit it off. I felt so comfortable with her and I just wanted to be there with her and the kids. She asked me how long I would be staying in Washington and I paused. I wanted and needed this job so badly. I stupidly told her that I was pretty flexible, that ideally I would only be here until June, when my Brother-in-law was expected back, but I could extend it as long as she needed me. She then asked me to come back next week so she could observe me some more with the kids. As the next week passed by and I was meeting all sorts of new families, what I had told Wendy about my time frame had haunted me.

Of course I didn't want to be here for any longer than I needed to. I wanted to go on a mission. I wanted to get back home. I didn't know anyone here, I didn't belong here. I had gone to a YSA ward that Sunday and not a single person said a word to me. Now, I don't entirely blame them. I am actually quite shy when I don't know anyone. I came in late because I was lost, and then it took me about ten minutes to figure out that they don't start with Sacrament Meeting, they end with it so I was walking around aimlessly searching for a gospel doctrine class. When i finally found it I slipped in the back and sat alone. Didn't make any comments (if you know me at all, it is very rare that I won't make ANY comments during a class) and didn't introduce myself in the next class either. I have never felt so out of place in my life. And I couldn't figure out why. All of this excitement to meet new people and start a new life for myself but I was feeling so alone and unmotivated. I was also bogged down with what I had told Wendy. I knew I had to tell her what my real plan was but I so desperately needed a job. I prayed long and hard that Sunday. For peace, and mostly courage to be able to confront her and be honest about my intentions.

That week when I went to interview again with Wendy, the topic my time came up. I had knots in my stomach but I told her straight up, I need to go on a mission, so I am planning on leaving as soon as I can. She then realized that I wouldn't be a fit and we said our goodbyes. It was hard, I was really hoping that by telling her the truth, she would be ok with it somehow and make it work. But I knew I had done the right thing and I had many other families interested in hiring me.

The next night I get an email, around 11:00 PM, from Wendy. She says that she hasn't been able to stop thinking about me and that she really wants me to work for her. We emailed back and forth for a little bit, and then she asked if I could commit to One year, or at least through the summer. I thought about it and realized that wouldn't be horrible so I said yes. And she offered me the job right there, in the middle of the night, over email. I accepted and started training with their Nanny that week.

Now I won't say much about the job because it's not what this blog is for. But I grew to love those boys so much, and also be irritated beyond belief with them. However, it was one of the hardest things to do, leaving those boys behind to come back to Arizona. I think about them every day, all these simple little things remind me of them. That was one of the hardest, most challenging and humbling jobs I have ever had.

After attending the YSA ward two more times, someone finally talked to me and she pointed out that there was a branch much closer to me. So she gave me some more information and then after that I began attending the Olympia YSA Branch.

I have never fit anywhere as well as I did in that branch. It was the most welcoming environment I have experienced and I will always treasure my time there. It was now about November and everything was starting to fall into place. Maybe, just maybe, things were going to work out :)

The Delay

So there was a lot of waiting involved in me starting my papers.I have known that I wanted to go on a mission since I was about 17 and although I have questioned it a billion times in between then and now, I really do have a strong conviction to be going out and preaching the gospel. About a year and a half ago, when I was 19, I had the opportunity to move to Washington State to live with my sister while her husband was deployed. I was very thrilled about this new adventure that would bring me to a place I had never been before and show me a whole different kind of life. The plan was to make the 23 hour drive over about a week of time, surrounding General Conference weekend in October of 2012. So we started out and we stopped in Provo, Utah at one point to visit two of my sisters and their families. Sunday morning we were heading after a nice few days visit with them. As we are saying our goodbyes and I am kissing and loving on my little nephews my phone starts blowing up with text messages and phone calls. I look through the dozens of text messages I have and they all say things like "Come home!!!! You can go on your mission!!!" or "You don't need to move to Washington come back!". The best one was "Did you just hear that????" I got about ten of those. Of course I hadn't "just heard that" because we weren't watching conference (something I now wish I hadn't done). So a midst reading all of these texts, I get a phone call from my brother and all he says is, "so what are you going to do?" assuming I knew what in the world was going on. After I explain to him that I have no idea what anyone is talking about he fills me in the announcement that President Monson gave to lower the age requirements for missionaries. I was ASTONISHED. and also a little perturbed that it hadn't come 6 months earlier before this plan to move to Washington had even come about. I could feel every one's eyes on me, waiting for me to say "Let's go home, I am going on a mission!", but I couldn't. I really really really wanted to. But I had prayed so long and hard about this decision to move and I knew that I was doing the right thing. My sister needed me, and, although I didn't know it yet, I desperately needed the experiences that I was going to have over the next 11 months. So I let out a sigh and said, "Well it's too late to turn back now, let's go before I change my mind!" So I loaded up in my car, my parents in theirs, and we drove. I will be honest, I cried a little as I turned on the radio and listened to the rest of conference. I was so sad to not be joining the thousands of Sister Missionaries, but I wouldn't trade ANYTHING for next 11 months of my life.