Over the past couple of years I have had the super unique opportunity to travel for my job—a jobby, I like to call it (cross between job and hobby. Are we all on the same page? Good). After countless airplane rides, layovers, slices of airport pizza, movies on the plane, and airport security lines, I have made it to 10 countries and 22 cities. This may not sound like very much to some of you—and that is because you are well traveled—but for this cautious Utah girl, it has been life changing.
The destinations have been absolutely incredible, but it has been the people I met and the cultures I have learned about that have made my experiences truly unforgettable.
Let me tell you about my mission. No, I wasn’t called on a “full-time” mission, but I was able to share the gospel in some unlikely places.
There was Sonja from Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. The only Mormon she knew was the doctor who fixed her niece’s cleft lip last year. She admired him for his service. I had a great talk with Tom on the plane ride to Paris. He thought members of the LDS Church still practiced polygamy. After I corrected him and gave him a brief history, we talked about eternal marriage between one man and one woman. I had a similar discussion with Lavar on the plane ride to Tokyo. We then talked about my little brother and thousands of other missionaries serving around the world. Sandra wondered about modern-day revelation and about our prophet as we walked through Hyde Park. There was Ricardo from Mexico City who told me about the men in white shirts with black nametags who frequented his town.
I’ve learned that even though it may be quite out of my comfort zone to just start sharing the gospel, it is absolutely necessary. I have had the opportunity to share the gospel in some way or another everywhere I have traveled. All it takes is simply opening your mouth—a talent I hope to develop more and more over time.
With some friends in Nevis, West Indies.
With kids at a school in Thailand.
In Barcelona when I saw the missionaries singing in the plaza.
Ashley Bardsley is a contributing writer for LDS Living. The few things she enjoys more than traveling the world as an event coordinator include making and eating cupcakes, sleeping in and watching Saved by the Bell reruns with her husband.