He Wants Me to be a Currant Bush by Sister Jozie McCraney
(Transcribed from Audio)
That was awesome, Zander. This is kind of a surreal experience for me. I don’t think any of you really realize that I’ve been waiting a long time to go on a mission. Sorry I’m going to try to hold it together. It’s going to be hard. Ever since I was a little girl I’ve never wanted to go on a mission. That was the last thing I wanted to do. Like put aside a year and a half of my life in my prime and go ride on a bike in Arizona in a dress, just didn’t sound fun, you know. So I was like that’s not on my agenda. Good for all those other people who were going to go on a mission but that’s not me.
Well, when I went to college, I mean sure I was like, I am only going to date a return missionary. I’m not going to go do this whole "send a guy on a mission” that’s not happening. Of course, two days in, I meet a guy who hasn’t gone on a mission and is planning on going on a mission. He wanted to do anything he could to get me off that market. So he would try to convince me all the time, "Jozie you need to go on a mission. You need to think about going on a mission. You got to pray about it.” So, I was like, "Ugh, I mean, I don’t really like school, maybe I should pray about going on a mission.” So, of course, I prayed about going on a mission and I wanted my answer to be "no”, so my answer was always "no”. He said this to me one time, "Somewhere out there is a little girl who only you can help, waiting for you to go on a mission.” That touched my soul so much. I was like, “Come on Isaac, just let me not go on a mission and have fun, okay?”
So, a bunch of time passes, it’s now October 2021 and I go visit him because we’re doing long distance. I’m miserable. I’m living in Idaho. It’s the winter, like who wouldn’t be miserable. He was like, "You need to pray about what you should do because clearly you are not having a good time.” So I pray, "What should I do? Should I go on a mission? Is this right for me?” On my flight back from New Hampshire, I’m on a layover and I see these missionaries. Every time I see missionaries I go up to them. So I go up to them and I’m like, “Oh my gosh missionaries! What’s up?” We start talking and one of them was like, “Have you ever served a mission?” I was like, "No.” She’s like, "You need to think about serving a mission.” She grabs me by the arms and she’s like, "You need to think about serving a mission. You would be such an amazing missionary!” And she goes, "You came up to us and that never happens.” So from that moment on I was like, "Okay I guess I need to go on a mission.” But I’m keeping this a secret. No one is going to know that I’m going on a mission.
I go to my Bishop and I’m like, "Hey, I’m really excited, I think I want to go on a mission.” He’s like, "Okay cool, let’s get your papers started.” I finished my papers in a week and I’m so excited. This is still October. Then I go meet with him the next Sunday and he’s like, "Oh by the way we’re getting a new Bishop.” I’m like, "Okay that’s fine. I'll miss you but I’ll see this new Bishop.” So I go meet with this new Bishop and he says, "You can’t go on a mission for a year.” I was devastated. I was like, "I’m a sister, I don’t even have to go on a mission. This is so hard for me because I’m on this spiritual high and I’m ready to go and I know that I’m ready. Even now I know that if I would’ve been out there I would’ve been ready. But it wasn’t my time. God knew it wasn’t my time. I wanted to leave. But there are people that are there now that I wouldn’t be able to help unless I left now. I tried everything to fight this. I met with the Stake President. I met with the Bishop multiple times. There was no getting through it. So I just accepted the fact that I can’t leave until September 2022.
So little did I know my boyfriend’s mission call was going to get delayed 6 months. It was in process for 6 months. So he didn’t get his call until April. He put his papers in November. I didn’t know that. Little did I know my sister was going to get married this summer. All of these people have been put in my path through the time that I would have been on a mission. That never would have been my path if I hadn’t waited. I was so angry though. I was so mad. I was like, "Why do I have to wait?” I remember this quote kept being put in mind and there’s this story about a currant bush. So basically this currant bush wanted to be a tree and made such wonderful progress and it grew so big and then the gardener would come cut it down because it’s a currant bush, it’s not a tree. And every time I would go meet with the Bishop the answer would be "no”. I would think, "Gardener, why are you cutting me down? I was making such wonderful progress.” I was so sad. And this is what the quote is, "Look, little currant bush, I am the gardener here, and I know what I want you to be. I didn’t intend you to be a fruit tree or a shade tree. I want you to be a currant bush, and some day, little currant bush, when you are laden with fruit, you are going to say, 'Thank you, Mr. Gardener, for loving me enough to cut me down, for caring enough about me to hurt me. Thank you, Mr. Gardener.’” And I will say thank you gardener for loving me enough to cut me down. For making me a currant bush and not a tree and for helping me grow fruit.
I’ve had so many amazing experiences after that. Before I started wanting to serve a mission, I felt like God was never communicating with me. I felt like I never got the Spirit with me. Then when I reached out to Him I noticed so many amazing things happening. So many amazing people were put in my life. I noticed how God works through other people. When I finally got the text message that my mission call was ready to be opened. Keep in mind still nobody knew. My family didn’t know. I think they had a little bit of a clue but they still didn’t know. I get a text message from Sister Brown. Two weeks prior to this I just kept thinking about Arizona. Why am I thinking about Arizona? Maybe I don’t want to go to Arizona? I don’t know but out of all the places in the world, why was Arizona the only place I could think about? And I get a text message from Sister Brown saying, "Hey, how are you doing?” right after I get the message that my mission call is ready to be read. Sister Brown is from Tempe, Arizona. How did she know that I was going to open my mission call that day? I have no idea. But apparently she was listening to a talk by President Nelson about missionary work or something and she started to think about me. So I invited Sister Brown over and lo and behold I’m going to Tempe Arizona on my mission which is absolutely insane.
I just want to bear my testimony about God speaking through other people and how much God wants to communicate with all of us. I know that if we reach out to Him and if we are constantly looking and trying to find Him in our lives we will. He is such a blessing in my life and I am so grateful for every single one of you that showed up today. It makes me so happy. All my friends from school and family and everyone and friends from church. I’m so proud of Zander and if I didn’t have to wait that long I wouldn’t be up here with Zander which is a pretty cool experience. It’s okay to mess up and it’s okay to have to wait because all things are going to work out. And your bishops and stake presidents are really awesome even if you’re like, "They don’t have my best interest at heart.” They do because God knows what you need. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.