SALT LAKE CITY -- It's been a quiet seven years since Elizabeth Smart was taken from her Salt Lake home. But now the 21-year-old BYU student is excited to speak out and share a message of comfort and faith.
Poised, confident and assured, Elizabeth says her decision to serve a mission to Paris, France, for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints feels like the right next step.
"I'm so excited to be going," she says. "The more I thought about it, the better I felt about it."
Her parents were surprised but supportive.
"I was like, ‘Oh, by the way, Mom, I'm going on a mission.'" Elizabeth recalls. "She was like, ‘What?!' Both of my parents were so happy."
Elizabeth has visited the country several times as a tourist but recognizes it will be very different as a missionary.
"I was there a couple of months ago, and I had this very good friend I was there with," Elizabeth remembers. "I would try to say something, and she would say, ‘That's not how you say it.' So, I was like, ‘Oh dear.' I have a lot of work to do!"
Along with the work, Elizabeth says she has a powerful message to share. She says it was her faith in God that helped her navigate through the unexpected twists and turns in her own life.
"I knew whatever could happen to me, whatever happens to me, I will always be with my family," Elizabeth says. "I know that there is a God and he loves us and that no matter what people can take from you or do to you or harm you, they can't take that away from you."
It's a message she's excited to share with the people of France.
"I want them to know God exists and that he loves them, and there isn't anything in this world that could possibly change what he feels for them," Elizabeth says. "And that they will never be alone, and that he wants them to be happy."
Elizabeth will enter the Missionary Training Center the second week of November.
To hear more of our interview with Elizabeth, join KSL Channel 5 Sunday afternoon at 1:30 for "Footprints of Faith."