Rookie Mormon

Elder Cullimore

Editor's Note: I've really enjoyed getting to know Elder Cullimore and am happy to present this as the first full-time missionary interview on this site. Even though I was a full-time missionary myself and remember the experience well, I find it fascinating to hear about the background and experiences of the missionaries I meet.

Where are you from?
I'm from South Ogden, Utah.

Why did you become a missionary?
There are many reasons I became a missionary. One, I've been a missionary since I was baptized at eight-years-old. I wasn't a very good missionary at that time, but hey, every member is a missionary. When I was younger I had always planned on going on a mission because it was what we did when we grow up. In the latter years of my high school career I began to lose the desire to go on a mission because I was caught up in many things of the world. I was trying to take the easy route in life. It's a good thing I had so many people around me who cared so much about me. They really helped me understand why missions are important and that I can't make the choice on my own. I had to turn to my Heavenly Father for guidance and direction. Even then, I didn't get an obvious answer that I needed to go on a mission. Prayer was a continued thing for some time. Over time my heart changed I felt it was the right thing for me to do. I even broke up with my girlfriend, quit my job, put a hold on my schooling, and left my family and friends. It has been well worth it. It's definitely been the best 22 months of my life. It's shaping my future.

What do you think you'll do after your mission?
After the mission I am going to hug my Mom! I will then hug the rest of my family of course. I will be attending college, finding a job, and doing whatever else life throws my way. I look forward to serving in a calling in my congregation at home too! I also might go on some dates.

What was your feeling after your first day in the mission field--after going out and talking to people and doing all the full-time missionary things for the first time?
Wow... I was in shock. I felt really unqualified. And the thought of "what did I get myself into?" Came to mind as well. I was amazed at all the work we do as missionaries.

What is your impression of your mission so far?
So far, after about 22 months, my impression of the mission is that it's life changing not only to those I have served and get to serve, but it's life changing to me. It's a place of learning and definitely growth. High expectations is a way of life out here.

Do you feel like you're missing out on activities and things that are going on back home?
I do feel like I'm missing out on activities at home. I especially did when I first left. All of my friends were still home having fun and doing things I wasn't doing anymore. I'm still missing out on some things there, but I can go and do the things I have missed out on when I get home. If I had not come on my mission I would have missed out on much more. Those things I would have missed out on I would not be able to ever experience. Missions are something that's worth any sacrifice, if you can even call it that. It's a privilege to me.

Please share an experience that starts with: "This one time "
This one time we were in our apartment finishing up preparations for the next day when we had someone come bang on our door. (We had been threatened by a gentleman the day prior that he was going to knock our door down. So that was scary.) The banging was continuing to happen for about an hour. He had been yelling and demanding us to open the door. We were terrified and didn't open. We called the cops... They came, and it turned out that it was members dropping of a gift for a missionary who had since moved. We felt pretty humiliated. It turned out it wasn't that scary.

How do people treat you--people you contact out in public?
We get a whole bunch of different reactions to us when we are contacting people in public. A lot of the time people will try to avoid us. Sometimes we will have people say rude things to us, even throw things at us. Other times there are those who are just prepared and ready to talk to us and the reception is wonderful. Every experience on the street is a learning one.

When you meet somebody on the street, or knock on their door, what do you want from them?
When we talk to someone we meet we really just want to serve them whether it be manual labor, a prayer, sharing a message, or just listening to them. We of course want to invite and help them come closer to Heavenly Father and Christ through the Restored gospel. We aren't trying to push our church on others just sharing what we know to be true and what has changed our lives.

What advice would you give to prospective Mormons?
Try it out. Put what we teach to the test. Read, pray, be willing to act on the promptings and feelings you receive, and act with faith. The Gospel will change your life.

What advice would you give to prospective missionaries?
Serve a mission. If your aren't sure it's time to hit those knees to the floor and pray to know if you should go. Anything you have to sacrifice is worth it. It will change your life. You will help others change theirs. You will gain experience you can't get anywhere else. It will be the best 18 months - two years of your life. It sets the tone for everything to come. Rely on The Lord to help you overcome fears of going.

What do you like to eat for breakfast?
I'm not too much of a breakfast eater. When I eat breakfast I enjoy toast with peanut butter and/or jam, cereal, or a nice chocolate, peanut butter, and banana shake.

What's a typical lunchtime meal for you?
Lunch time meals vary. I get bored and sick of food fast. I will have the classic PB&J, freezer food, rice, noodles, and other cheap food. I like to mix it up often.

What would you say to someone who thinks you're a little bit too enthusiastic--too perfect?
I'm not perfect at all! I'm a normal person sharing the message of Christ's restored gospel and his love for us striving to help Heavenly Father fulfill his purpose as stated in Moses 1:39.

Any closing words?
Thank The Lord every single day for everything that happens, good or bad, it's happening for a reason and you will learn and grow from it in the future.

"Doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith"
-President Uchtdorf

Posted 26 October, 2014