There I so many things that I’m going to miss out by going on a mission for eighteen months. I’m pretty sure I can’t continue my eating obsession with fry sauce, nutella, salt and vinegar chips, ice cream, pickles, and black pepper spits. I won’t have time for hour-long dance parties/concerts all by myself in my room, let alone my kind of music isn’t really “mission appropriate.” I will miss my family. I will miss my friends and even those people at church I don’t really know. And oh my gosh I’m going to miss my family. I will miss Christmas twice being away from my family. All the birthdays, weddings, parties, and everything else.
So why am I doing this? Is it self-punishment? haha no.It’s not just for the amazing Mexican food I will soon get to enjoy, I’ll tell you that. It’s not because I’m not married or don’t have anything to do with my life either.
In one of my favorite talks, President Gordon B. Hinckley talks with a recent convert who is flying home to his family. It says:
“I met a naval officer from a distant nation, a brilliant young man who had been brought to the United States for advanced training. Some of his associates in the United States Navy, whose behavior had attracted him, shared with him at his request their religious beliefs. He was not a Christian, but he was interested. They told him of the Savior of the world, Jesus Christ, born in Bethlehem, who gave his life for all mankind. They told him of the appearance of God, the Eternal Father, and the resurrected Lord to the boy Joseph Smith. They spoke of modern prophets. They taught him the gospel of the Master. The Spirit touched his heart, and he was baptized.
He was introduced to me just before he was to return to his native land. We spoke of these things, and then I said: “Your people are not Christians. What will happen when you return home a Christian, and, more particularly, a Mormon Christian?”
His face clouded, and he replied, “My family will be disappointed. They may cast me out and regard me as dead. As for my future and my career, all opportunity may be foreclosed against me.”
I asked, “Are you willing to pay so great a price for the gospel?”
His dark eyes, moistened by tears, shone from his handsome brown face as he answered, “It’s true, isn’t it?”
Ashamed at having asked the question, I responded, “Yes, it’s true.”
To which he replied, “Then what else matters?””
I’m going because the church is true. This church, this gospel is true. We really do have a Heavenly Father that loves us more than we can ever imagine and hears our prayers. Christ really did suffer and die on that cross for our behalf, and Joseph Smith really did pray in order to find out which of all sects were true and then those two heavenly personages appeared too him. The scriptures are true. It is all true. Anything less, would not be worth putting 18 months of my life on hold. But missions are called of God, and we truly represent Christ as we preach the gospel to the world. Because this gospel is true, people need to know about it. They need to know how gospel blesses families and how families can be sealed together for eternity. They need to know they are never alone, and that Heavenly Father loves them and will help them through their trials in life.
It is all too easy to take the gospel for granted. I know I do. But in reality, the gospel changes lives. We know this. And if you are anything like me, somehow you still are afraid of preaching the gospel, of being rejected, of being inadequate. But the truth is, preaching the gospel is the most important thing we can do. “For behold, this is my work and my glory–to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.” Moses 1:39 This is God’s work, and this is where he gets his glory–seeing his children come unto Christ and obtain eternal life.
Our purpose of missionaries is also to “invite others to come unto Christ”. This is our work–it is the work of the Lord. And it is worth it. So serve the Lord with all of your might, mind, and strength–because you cannot fail.
“Remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God; And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father! And now, if your joy will be great with one soul that you have brought unto me into the kingdom of my Father, how great will be your joy if you should bring many souls unto me!” D&C 18:10, 15-16