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Dear Gramps,

The Church teaches that every able-bodied worthy young man should serve a mission. I am able bodied and I strive to be worthy through repentance. I’m not nervous about leaving home or having a strong testimony or even talking to strangers. However, during this year, as I’ve started preparing to serve a mission next spring, I’ve started wondering if a mission is right for me. What should I do?

N.C.

 

Answer

 

Dear N.C.

The culture within The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is filled with good people many of whom, strive to follow the commandments and also to listen to what the Prophets have to say.

Years ago, I remember listening to a talk given by then, President Ezra Taft Benson, in which he stated what the threefold mission of the church was, but before I delve into this sacred topic, I will share with you something that just popped into my mind…

As I reread your question, I feel impelled to state that you have already started to “serve” a full-time mission. You see, one and all members of the Church are missionaries. The famous phrase from David O. McKay rings loudly in my ears: “Every Member a Missionary”. Also, You aren’t alone in feeling this way. Literally, thousands and hundreds of thousands of young men at some point or another have the struggles and fears that come associated with serving a full time mission, for the Lord. Do you know who else is keenly aware of the sacredness and utmost importance for every young man to serve a full time mission? That’s right, Lucifer (aka Satan). He strives and grins with evil delight, every time one of God’s children doubts their purpose here on earth. When we doubt/fear the unknown, we essentially are giving way for Lucifer to fulfill his “mission”. He has had many years, if not hundreds of thousands practicing his deceitful ways.

It sounds as though, you already know the importance of missionary service, as you “strive to be worthy through repentance”. So, let’s focus on one key aspect that I have previously stated: in 2 Nephi 2:11 we read (emphasis added),

11 For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things. If not so, my firstborn in the wilderness, righteousness could not be brought to pass, neither wickedness, neither holiness nor misery, neither good nor bad. Wherefore, all things must needs be a compound in one; wherefore, if it should be one body it must needs remain as dead, having no life neither death, nor corruption nor incorruption, happiness nor misery, neither sense nor insensibility.

You see my dear friend, the very nature of this feeling of uncertainty you’re having (opposition) should testify to you that it is the right thing to do. As a matter of fact, it will serve you as a stepping stone in the way you reach and touch people’s hearts, wherever the Lord needs you.

Now, I’m going to be totally honest, and I am not going to sugar-coat this fact: a full-time mission isn’t for everyone. It may sound that I’m contradicting myself. Let me explain: there have been instances where a young man (or young woman) has gone off to the missionary training center and even out to the mission field only to find out that they weren’t ready. Not because a mission wasn’t the right thing to do, but they weren’t in the right frame of mind. Way too often, unfortunately, parents and/or leaders want it (a mission) more than the young man/woman and in the end, they end-up returning home, except, they feel low and oft-times depressed and unworthy.

I don’t think this is the case with you, only because I feel confident in what you’ve said and how you’ve expressed it. So, to bring it back full circle, a mission is right for everyone but NOT everyone is right for a mission, unless, they are fully ready and want it for themselves and not because of outside pressures. If you are of the age of 18 and feel unprepared, be honest with yourself, your parents, your bishop and state that fact. Work hard to prepare yourself and when you’re ready, GO!

Yes, it is a sacred duty, but most importantly, it is one of life’s greatest privileges.

Imagine this: 

  • there are approximately 7.6 Billion people on earth. That’s 7,690,000,000 (according to the world meters).
  • there are approximately 16,118,169 members of The Church of JESUS CHRIST of Latter-day Saints (as of December 31st – 2017).

that represents roughly 0.21% of that great number.

Now, that might seem overwhelming to think about but here is the amazing thing: you are one in a 7.6 billion quite literally, to be given this great opportunity, which is, to represent Our Lord and Savior, even JESUS CHRIST. He doesn’t expect you to teach all 7.6 billion of them but he does expect you to prepare yourself, on, how to serve him.

So, to finish my thought, I think you’re fully aware that not only should you serve a mission, but I know you will:

‘The gathering of Israel is now in progress. Hundreds of thousands of people have been baptized into the Church. Millions more will join the Church. And this is the way we will gather Israel. It is to be done by missionary work. It is your responsibility to attend to this missionary work, and we hope you will not excuse yourselves from this responsibility.

 

The gospel knows no nationality. All people in the world are the sons and daughters of God. They are all our brothers and sisters. And we are anxious to fulfill the obligation of the Lord Jesus Christ when he gave us that basic command, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15).

 

I was asked a few years ago, “Should every young man who is a member of the Church fill a mission?” And I responded with the answer the Lord has given: “Yes, every worthy young man should fill a mission.” The Lord expects it of him. And if he is not now worthy to fill a mission, then he should start at once to qualify himself. The Lord has instructed, “Send forth the elders of my church unto the nations which are afar off; unto the islands of the sea; send forth unto foreign lands; call upon all nations, first upon the Gentiles, and them upon the Jews.” (D&C 133:8).’

 

President Spenser W. Kimball (New Era May 1981)

The work will go on whether or not you serve. Do not allow Satan to influence your decision, this or any others in the future. The real question is, ARE YOU READY?

Gramps

 

 

 

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