How the Worst Mission Call Changed My Life Forever

It was 4 a.m. in Heber City, Utah, and Clint Pulver was waking up to the phone call he had been waiting weeks for. 

"The post office on the other side of the phone says, 'Is this the future Elder Pulver?'" Pulver shares in a Hi Five Live Facebook video. "I start listening and I half-way murmur, 'Yes, yes, this is the future Elder Pulver.' And I couldn't believe it. And they were like, 'We have something at the post office for you.' And I said, 'Say no more.'"

Rushing from his home in his pajamas and slippers, the "future Elder Pulver" was thrilled to finally receive his mission call. And when he reached the post office and grabbed the envelope, he was also thrilled to see the price of the postage for his mission call—$4.75—a price his two friends said was a sure sign he would be serving in another country far away from Heber City. 

After coming home from his early-morning excursion, Pulver's family gathered to see where he would be serving. With his grandparents on the phone and his brother recording the entire thing, Pulver opened the envelope. Using a black paper to slowly read through his call so he couldn't read ahead, Pulver was excited to see an "I" as the first letter of his mission. But after sliding the paper slightly to the right, he became confused. What country began with an "I" and a "D"?

"And all the sudden, my mother loses it," Pulver remembers. "My mom is just sitting there, rolling on the ground. She's laughing so hard." 

Prior to opening his mission call, Pulver had made it known to those around him, particularly his mother, that he hated potatoes. Regardless, every Sunday dinner Pulver's mother would prepare a nice meal that included the starchy staple. 

"She plops those nasty potatoes on my plate, every Sunday, and she would say, 'Eat your potatoes,'" Pulver says. "And I would look back at my mom and say, 'Hmm, no. I'm good; no thanks.' And I kid you not, from the time I could remember to the time I left on my mission, my mom would say, 'Eat your potatoes, or God's going to send you to Idaho on your mission.'"

The unintended prophecy was just too much for Pulver's mother. It was a comedic moment straight out of The Single's Ward.

However, after landing in Eagle, Idaho, to serve a two-year mission, Pulver's perceived misgivings were not over with the state's well-known affinity for potatoes. With radio stations, classes, and publications aimed specifically at spreading negative content about Mormons, it was difficult to find sincere investigators. 

However, this mission, which was just four and a half hours from him home in a location he never would have picked, brought about one moment that would change his life. 

While tracting with his trainer, Pulver came across a man and his family who seemed to welcome them into their home. After finishing the first lesson about the First Vision, the family seemed very interested and even listened to the Plan of Salvation. But after the missionaries taught this family for two and a half hours, the man suddenly announced it was time for Pulver and his companion to leave. Confused, Pulver asked on the way out the door why the man was asking them to leave after seeming so interested. 

"He said, 'The only reason I let you in was to waste your time,'" Pulver remembers. "Everything you taught is completely false. Go home and read your Bible. Go home; don't go back to your apartment or wherever it is you're from, go home. But don't talk to our neighbors. Don't go talk to other people. Everything you are teaching is wrong.'" 

On the drive back to their apartment, Pulver told his trainer he wasn't sure he could have people dispute everything he believed in for two years straight. That's when his trainer pulled the car over, turned it off, and said one thing that would change Pulver's life forever. 

"He pointed right in my face and said, 'Elder Pulver, the only way you are going to make it, not just through the next week or the next two years as a missionary, but the only way you are going to make it for the rest of your life as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, you remember,'" Pulver says. "'You remember that time, that place when you knelt next to your bed holding the Book of Mormon in your hands and you didn't ask your bishop, you didn't ask your mom, you didn't ask your dad or your friends if that book was true, but you asked God the Father in the name of Jesus Christ if that book was true. You remember that moment. And if you haven't had that moment, then you get that moment.'"

This honest reminder from his missionary trainer changed Pulver's life. In remembering that moment and all the little moments that, little by little, contributed to his testimony, Pulver says this lesson on his mission was the first one that showed the power of remembering. 

"As I remember that, my mission in Boise, Idaho, even though it might have seemed like the worst mission call ever, it was the greatest thing that ever happened to me," Pulver says. 

Clint Pulver is a professional youth speaker. You can find out more about him here.

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