Wow. What a week. So, if you haven't already heard, I am at my year mark. And much to my chagrin, the year mark prophecies have come true. You see, the ramifications of hitting your year mark on a mission are kind of weird. Until that day, everyone considers you a "greenie", a brand new missionary with very little to offer to the Work. They pity you, telling you that one day, you'll get used to missionary work, etc. The second that you have been out a year, however, regardless of any preconception to your effectiveness as a servant of the Lord, you become a dying man.
"Oh? You've been out a year, eh? This year will go by in the blink of an eye," says a returned missionary. "Oh, a year? Have fun dying!" says a former companion. As if to say that death is eminent...
Well, brothers, elders and sisters! I testify to you that I am alive! I am living. And I ain't dying anytime soon. This Work won't be over until the Lord audibly says it is. And so until then, we run, we fight, we invite until we drop. Because we can't afford to do anything else.
I was struck this week by some very profound people and the counsel that they gave to us as missionaries. In our mission, we were visited by Elder Johnson of the Seventy and Brother Mike Hemingway, the head of proselyting in the missionary department of Jesus Christ's restored Church...yeah, that just happened.
They came to train us as missionaries on how we can do better. And the Spirit rebuked me a couple of times. The main message of their visits was that this is God's Work.
It's cool because it's true. Heavenly Father has a purpose. It's in Moses 1:39. He wants to bring to pass the--say it with me, now--"immortality and eternal life of man". Whoa. Did that say the immortality and eternal life of the members of the Church? Or of a select group of people? Or...of man? Implying....like, everybody ever? All of His children, our brothers and sisters?
Fascinating what the scriptures can teach you. We are all children of God. And our brothers and sisters out there need what we have. It is only through us, the messengers and deliverers of the true and everlasting gospel, that they can receive the full blessings and atoning grace that Jesus Christ can offer. Now, Heavenly Father doesn't NEED us. But He wants us. He wants us to do this Work, because of what it teaches us. It teaches us that it isn't about us. Forget yourself. And go out and work in behalf of others. Their welfare matters. And that is why we do this Work.
We don't come on missions to become personally converted to the gospel...that's a side effect, not a purpose... We come out on missions to be instruments in God's hands to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man. And He is preparing His children for this. So we need to ask Him where they are. And the truth is, they are our friends.
As long as we are just going out and inviting our brothers and sisters to come unto Christ, and we're doing it out of a sincere desire to help them, then we will be blessed with the opportunity of being able to be instruments in God's hands and we will be able to assist them and bless them in their lives. To deliver the message of the Restoration to them.
Something that a general authority said recently was that missionary work is the blood of the Church. It is what courses through us, and it is what the Savior commanded His true disciples to do. And so we will do so. Because we love Him and we love those around us.
Elder Johnson said that "everything improves as people become involved in missionary work", and I know that to be true.
Want to be happy? Then go out there and serve someone. Share the gospel with them. Be an instrument in His hands, and your worries, your sorrows, will be lifted from you.
This week, I started relying more on the Spirit, and less on myself. I started turning this Work over into God's hands...because it's His work, not mine. And miracles happened. We're teaching some awesome people, and most of them are in White Rock, which is a super nice little beach town right above Washington...that has the best fish and chips I've had in my life! (Picture included) It's been cool to see that as Elder Miller and I just ask God where we should go to find someone who's prepared to receive the gospel, that He guides us to them. And after all we can do, the miracles began to appear. The members here in the Fraser Valley YSA are amazing, it's such a close knit family of people that are just trying to make a difference. And it is awesome. I love their devotion to the Work, and their help in it. This can only take off when both members and missionaries work together. Because we are ALL enlisted.
We carry with us the most beautiful, perfect, hope-filled message in the entire world. And if we aren't helping others feel of its light, then we are keeping it for ourselves. I know that as we do the work that He has commissioned us to do, we will realize that it is not a business of numbered baptisms, not a pyramid scheme of adding statistics to the Church, but that it is a cause. Of saving the lives of our brothers and sisters and allowing them to live with Heavenly Father once more. I love missionary work, it heals the soul, because it accesses the Atonement. Because Christ is at the helm of this Work.
Me and Scott Hoffard, one of the YSA members
He says I have to wait a month to be his friend...I'll see about that...
Elder Miller and Josh Layton (going to the Colorado Denver North mission in a week) eating at the best fish and chips this side of the Fraser River!!!
That White Rock coast, though... A beauty!