NORMAN — Norman resident Staci Emery, 22, recently returned from serving an 18-month mission in the California Riverside Mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
The 2009 Norman North High School graduate taught others about the gospel and teachings of Jesus Christ and provided community service. Emery served from December 2011 to June.
Emery said the gospel has given her life peace and purpose. Because she wants to share this joy with others, she said sacrificing time and money to serve didn’t feel like much of a sacrifice at all.
“Our heavenly Father and our Savior Jesus Christ live and they love us. Everything we do is and should be centered around that,” she said. “And the gospel that we share is a gospel of hope and peace, and that’s what can be found as we live it and embrace it.”
Before beginning her service, Emery spent three weeks in the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah. She also studied teachings from the Bible and Book of Mormon and how to share that knowledge.
Church missionary work is voluntary. Missionaries fund their own missions — except for their transportation to and from their field of labor — and are not paid for their services.
Contacts with family and friends during this time of service are limited to letters and occasional phone calls to family at special times. Missionaries avoid entertainment, parties or other activities common to this age group as long as they are on their missions, so they can focus entirely on the work of serving and teaching others the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Emery plans to study nursing at Oklahoma City Community College.