Why Go?

Your purpose as a full-time missionary is to invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end (see Preach My Gospel[2004], 1).

I’ve talked a bit about why I’m waiting to go on a mission, but I have yet to fully explain why I want to go on one. I mentioned my conversion in my post My Road To Damascus. I had decided to serve a mission because I could no longer deny the truth…but why would that make me want to put school, marriage, family, work–everything–on hold to go somewhere in the world and talk to strangers about my beliefs?

Last night I was reading in Preach My Gospel and came across this line:

As your understanding of the Atonement of Jesus Christ grows, your desire to share the gospel will increase. You will feel, as Lehi did, the “great … importance to make these things known unto the inhabitants of the earth” (2 Nephi 2:8).

I really feel that. As I have repented daily, increased my study of God’s word, and sincerely prayed for the desire to serve a mission, I have seen this promise in my life.

A dear friend in my home ward who served in the visitors center in Hawaii related this experience in one of her emails, and I have never forgotten it:

One thing I want to work on is inviting.  The thing is, people come in and ask questions and I answer the questions about the temple or the book of mormon, but then I don’t invite them to investigate or to read the book of Mormon.  I realize I have this large plate of warm, soft delicious, melt-in-your-mouth chocolate chip cookies.  I LOVE these cookies, and they make me so happy because they are the best thing I have ever tasted.  (The cookies are being a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints)  Sometimes people come in and ask for a cookie and we tell them of course they can have one!  Sometimes, people come in and I can tell they’d like a cookie, but I don’t offer one because I don’t know how to bring it up!  Other people come in and ask about the cookies, but I just eat the cookies in front of them without offering them anything (how silly of me).  And other times, I try to offer a cookie, but I drop it before they can take it.  So.. . moral of this analogy for me is, I wouldn’t stand in a corner with a plateful of delicious cookies and not share, of COURSE I want to offer everyone a cookie.  🙂  Thinking about it like that helps me.  Being a member brings me so much joy and peace, and everyone should know about it.  End of metaphor. -Sister Spencer

This is another reason why I want to serve. The gospel of Jesus Christ brings me so much hope. There was a time in my life when I had none. I didn’t want to exist anymore. I saw no point in it. Not until I discovered the plan of happiness did I understand God put me here, at this time, with these trials, for a purpose. My purpose in life is to be an influence for good, to share my testimony with the world and share the blessed news that there is purpose in living. As Sister Spencer put it, I have the “delicious” knowledge of the gospel. If it makes me happy, why wouldn’t I want to share it?

73 Behold, I will hasten my work in its time.

74 And I give unto you, who are the first laborers in this last kingdom, a commandment that you assemble yourselves together, and organize yourselves, and prepare yourselves, and sanctify yourselves; yea, purify your hearts, and cleanse your hands and your feet before me, that I may make you clean;

77 And I give unto you a commandment that you shall teach one another the doctrine of the kingdom.

78 Teach ye diligently and my grace shall attend you, that you may be instructed more perfectly in theory, in principle, in doctrine, in the law of the gospel, in all things that pertain unto the kingdom of God, that are expedient for you to understand;

80 That ye may be prepared in all things when I shall send you again to magnify the calling whereunto I have called you, and the mission with which I have commissioned you. -D&C 88

As we learn in these verses, it is a commandment for us to “teach one another”. While it isn’t a commandment for Sisters to serve, we are commanded to teach.

Verse 80 hit me really hard. “That ye may be prepared.” And not only to perform our calling, but to “magnify” it. How can we do that? Because He has “called us to the work”.

After reading this, I looked up the definition of “commissioned”:

commission [kuhmishuh n]: verb the act of committing or entrusting a person, group, etc., with supervisory power or authority. -dictionary.com

Jesus Christ has literally entrusted us with His power to serve our brothers and sisters; while Christ could do the work all himself, He trusts us, 20-something-year-old kids, to carry forth His work throughout the world.

Well, you can’t doubt the guy is a miracle worker.

Charity is a gift from God. The prophet Mormon said that we should “pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that [we] may be filled with this love” (Moroni 7:48). As you follow this counsel and strive to do righteous works, your love for all people will increase, especially those among whom you labor. –Preach My Gospel

I have been blessed with a deep ability to love. This might sound kind of weird, but it’s not if you think about it. We are able to receive spiritual gifts, one of them being charity. Charity is, literally, the pure love of Christ. While in that dark period in my life, I felt like I could never love anyone or anything. As soon as the gospel touched my heart and that darkness subsided, I could feel my ability to love increase. I used to share my testimony often (something I’m working on and a major reason for this blog), and when I did, I could feel the Holy Ghost working within me, and my love for those who I shared with increased dramatically, exactly as described in Preach My Gospel. As fallen men, we have a tendency to complain, gossip, and hate. I absolutely despise all of these, but I also need to work on them myself. I want to serve a mission so that I can better develop my gift of charity, that my heart might be cleansed from the bitterness of hate, and that I can come to love all people.

I want to serve a mission because not only will I get to love and serve incredible people who are yet strangers to me, but I myself will become less of a stranger to God, and become more like His son, Jesus Christ.

If you’ve served a mission, what motivated you to go?

P.S.: posts for the next week or so will be, unfortunately, very sparse. Work is getting super crazy for the next few weeks, but I will try and make time to post. Have a great week!

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