My Farewell Talk

The time has come. Tonight I will be leaving to be set apart as a missionary of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I was not able to give a farewell talk (a talk missionaries typically give right before they leave to serve their missions), and that news really bummed me out. I figured I would write one anyway because there is a special message I would like to share with you all. I pray that the Lord's Spirit will be with me as I write this, and with you as you read it. I love you all. 

HI. My name is Alicia Quintana, soon to be Sister Quintana for the next 18 months. I will be entering the Missionary Training Center in Utah this coming Wednesday. I feel privileged to have this opportunity to be able to serve others as a full-time missionary. I feel privileged to be walking with Christ for this next year and a half.

I was born into the church, but my personal conversion did not happen instantly. My conversion to the gospel and to Jesus Christ has happened throughout the course of my life. I grew up being asked if I wanted to serve a mission. As a child, I did not quite comprehend why I was being asked if I wanted to serve a mission at such a young age since I could not submit my application until I was much older. Now, I see that this action is correlated with what Joshua says to the tribes of Israel in the Old Testament, "Choose you this day whom ye will serve... but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord" (Joshua 24:15). In primary (sunday school for children), I was taught to always choose the right-- just like Jesus did. I realize now that being asked if I would serve a mission at such a young age was a way for me to learn to identify and decide who I wanted to grow up to be. Back on topic, I would always reply enthusiastically, "YES, I want to serve a mission!"

I grew up with my mind set on serving a mission. However, as I got older and the gap between my age and the age limit to serve a mission continued to decrease in number, I seemed to think of it less seriously. When I entered my senior year of high school, my attention was not on a mission. I was obsessively focused on maintaining high grades and submitting college applications. When I began my first year of college, my attention was still not on a mission. My attention was on my classes, my social life, and staying warm in cold Rexburg. My reasoning for all of this was that I was not 19 yet. I decided I would make my decision about serving a mission when my birthday came.

Well, my birthday came and I turned 19. I still did not think about a mission much. I knew I wanted to go, just... not yet. My mind was in a different place and the thought of serving a mission soon was not entirely appealing. I did not really start thinking about when a "good time" to begin my mission papers would be until one day in my mission preparation class another student asked our professor, "How we can know if a mission is meant for us?" Coincidence right? No.

My professor responded by saying that sometimes we just know if a mission is meant for us. He continued to say other times we need to take action in order to know if we need to serve. What my professor shared with us sinked into my mind. I figured it would do no harm for me to begin filling out my paperwork. It took me about 2 weeks to fill out the papers. It took me so long because I was trying to decide on a date to set as the day I am available to leave on a mission. At that time I had put a random day in late August, I figured I would be back in time to begin school the spring semester of 2019. Between meetings with my bishop to figure out what was left to do, attending classes, and trying to finish the Book of Mormon before my meeting with my stake president, things started to change. I knew I would not be mentally prepared to embark on a mission immediately after going home once the semester ended. The thought of moving back home only to move out for 18 months made me feel nauseous. I earnestly prayed about the date I should put as my availability date. After a couple days, I felt a still small voice say, "November." I picked my dad's birthday as my availability date and thought I was set. At that point I just needed to finish reading the Book of Mormon (my stake president would not meet with a prospective missionary without having them read the Book of Mormon, even if they had read it already) and I needed to upload a profile picture. Well as time went by, things continued to change. I changed my availability date to January 3rd and I was working on finishing the Book of Mormon. I was in the Gardens at BYUI reading in 3 Nephi. I would like to share what I wrote in my journal that day:
Tuesday June 27, 2017
...I decided to sit at my favorite spot & begin to read, to read the Book of Mormon. I picked up reading where I had left off-- 3 Nephi chapter 12... In my mind I asked God to please let me know if I need to serve a mission now. I kept reading and I got to 3 Nephi 16. It reads "And verily, verily, I say unto you that I have other sheep, which are not of this land, neither of the land of Jerusalem, neither in any parts of that land round about whither I have been to minister. For they of whom I speak are they who have not yet heard my voice; neither have I at any time manifested myself unto them. But I have received a commandment of the Father that I shall go unto them, and that they shall hear my voice and shall be numbered among my sheep, that there may be one fold and one shepard; therefore I go to show myself unto them" (3 Nephi 16:1-3). I've read these three verses five times since first reading them. I cannot deny that I need to serve a mission. As I was reading these verses I couldn't help but think that I need to find His lost sheep whose lives only I can touch. I know that I need to submit my papers and serve a mission. I know that God is mindful of me, and knows what I need and when I need it. I don't know what my future holds, but I want to align myself with God because I know His will ensures my everlasting happiness.
Immediately after that I had my friend take my picture and I uploaded it to my profile. A few days later I finished the Book of Mormon. A week or so later I set a date to enter the temple and I met with my stake president for my interview. I had finished my interview with my stake president and we were about to submit my mission papers when all of the sudden he said, "Uh oh." It turned out that my papers could not be submitted right then and there because my availability date was too far away. I told him to change it to the latest day it could be submit as. He did the calculations and he said the day would be November 1st. Coincidence? I think not.

Once my papers were submitted, I felt an immediate sense of assurance that this decision is right for me. Within weeks I entered into the Idaho Falls temple for the first time ever. Following that I received my mission call in the mail. There have been many instances in my life where things have not gone the way I would have liked them to go, but receiving my physical mission call was a huge blessing for being obedient and patient through the tough times. My mission call came in the mail right when my family and I went on our traditional vacation to the beach-- I would not have asked for it to be any other way.

The day I opened my mission call is a day that I will never forget. I was extremely nervous when the time came to open it. I was shaking and I was pacing and my heart was racing super fast. I actually sat down to open my mission call because I could not stand still. I read my mission call aloud line-by-line. I had the unfair advantage of seeing where I was called to serve before I had read it out loud. I read that I had been called to serve in the Germany Berlin mission, and I would be reporting to the Provo MTC on Nov. 8th. When I saw "Germany" I choked up emotionally and struggled to continue reading my call aloud. My heart was filled with peace and the only thing running through my mind in that instant was Wow. You (God) trust me enough to send me to Germany? You must love me. Once I finished reading what everyone was waiting for, and my Facebook live had ended, I stayed seated. I was bawling with a huge smile on my face, and I was still shaking.

It has most definitely been one roller-coaster of a ride leading up to this moment right now. I can assuredly tell you that everything I have experienced in my life has been leading up to this moment, my mission. It has not been until now that I see for myself how mindful God is of His children. There is not a day that goes by where I am not continually converted unto Him.

It has taken me 19 years to be where I am now, and I could not be prouder of the path I have ended up on. My life has not been simple, life was not meant to be that way. I know I am about to begin the most challenging part of my life, but I am doing it because I know I will not be alone. I have never been alone. I cannot deny that God loves me. He has always loved me, especially when I fail to love myself. He has allowed me to experience love and loss, joy and sadness, excitement and fear, courage and cowardice, and so much more. He has given me so much and he continues to give me everything he can. I  will always be in debt to him. I will serve him diligently for 18 months, its the best thing I can do to thank him for all he has given me so far.

I am grateful for everyone who has shown their love and support to me, and continues to share it with me. I love you all, trust me I do-- I am still learning to show it more. I am grateful that you are in my life. You have helped me be where I am now, and I will make you prouder than you are now. You are what keeps me going. Thank you.

We live in dark times, this world needs light, it needs hope. This can be received and shared through the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The peace and love you feel as you strive to learn more about God's church is one found no where else, but through this gospel. I cannot express how thankful I am to be on this earth. The missionaries found my parents and taught them what I have grown up believing, I thank them for working diligently. This work changes lives, it has changed the lives of my parents and it will change mine as I go and serve.

I know the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the true gospel of God. I know this because I have worked to find this out for myself. I know the Book of Mormon is true. I know this because I have read it (over & over again), and prayed to know if it is the word of God. Every time I have done this I have received the same answer, it is true. I know reading the Book of Mormon daily will bring blessings into your life. If you have not read it, please, please read it. I promise you that you will find answers to questions you have. You will find fulfilling joy (you can receive a copy via I know that God lives. I know that I am his child, you are too. I know he loves me, he loves you too. I know his love is perfect. It will always be mine & yours regardless of how worthy or unworthy of it we may feel. I know Jesus Christ came to this earth. I know he came to do God's will and sacrifice his life so that we may live beyond mortality. I know that because of Christ's sacrifice we can all rise again after we die. I know that because of Christ's atonement in Gethsemane we are all able to repent daily and change our ways so that we can become perfect like he was. We are not perfect, but we must strive to be. It is okay to fall short of it, just do not give up. I know through Christ everything can be healed, from sin to broken hearts. I know that Christ will return again. I know Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. I know he was chosen to restore this gospel by God so that we can be beneficiaries of its truth. I know Thomas S. Monson is the prophet. I know God loves us so much he appoints a prophet to guide us in these latter-days. I know Heavenly Father has a plan of Happiness for us. I know families are eternal, and not just bound to this life. I know temples are holy places, bits of heaven we are given. I know the ordinances and covenants we make are ones that will bring us eternal joy. I know this all to be true. I conclude these things in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

I will be in the MTC for a solid 6 weeks! I can receive emails, letters, and care packages. My email is:  

My mailing address for the next couple of weeks is:
Sister Alicia Quintana 
2005 N 900 E Unit 128
Provo, UT 84602

I love you all,