Mormon Mission: Hard Work – Priceless Blessing

Today we officially welcomed home my youngest cousin Kate, who has been serving a full-time mission for the past 18 months in the England Leeds Mission! We are so proud of her faithful service. I will miss following her mission blog and hearing her updates and weekly testimonies of faith (but, perhaps she will choose to keep the blog going, as she launches forward on her “life mission”!). Latter-day Saints are missionary-minded and missionary-serving people. We know how incredibly blessed our families are when a loved one embarks on missionary service. We know the joy that comes when sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ with others. I’m grateful to have my parents serving in California right now as missionaries. I can feel the blessing of their important mission work in my own life. There’s an extra peace and love in my heart and my home because of their sacrifice and service.

I LOVE Missionaries and I LOVE mission work!

Kate-ELM-Homecoming

The Savior broke down every barrier that stood in the way of our return to a loving Heavenly Father.

In return, He asks that we “go … and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world” (Matt. 28:19–20).

The Savior was not just talking to the Apostles. He was also talking to every person who has been blessed to hear the gospel and is a member of His Church.

In a revelation to the Prophet Joseph Smith, the Lord put it in very simple terms: “It becometh every man who hath been warned to warn his neighbor” (D&C 88:81).

Elder M. Russell Ballard
Elder M. Russell Ballard

“Missionary Work does require faith—real faith and trust in the Lord. It also requires genuine love. The first great commandment is to “love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. … The second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” (Matt. 22:37, 39).

-Elder M. Russell Ballard, The Essential Role of Member Missionary Work

A little over 27 years ago (wow, that long?!) I left my schooling, home, family, and boyfriend [future husband ;)] behind – and set off on an 18 month mission to the Wisconsin Milwaukee Mission. I arrived in the mission field just a week before Christmas. It was one of the coldest winters on record. I’d never experienced that kind of sub-zero cold and ice-storms before. It was dark. I was soon more homesick than I’d ever been in my life. [I actually endured TWO Wisconsin winters. God bless anyone out there who lives through those kind of winters regularly!]

1987-1989-Wisconsin-Milwaukee-Mission

My mission was a life-changing experience. But, it was an excruciatingly long, difficult experience involving a roller-coaster of highs and lows and challenges I never could have imagined. I was tested on every level; physical, mental, emotional, spiritual. Although the daily details of my mission experience are unique, the overall challenges, life-lessons, joys and sorrows are universally shared among all Latter-day Saint [Mormon] missionaries. When I returned from my mission, I would often find myself feeling discouraged, wondering if it really had been worth it, and if I’d really done enough good. It’s taken me just about about 25 years now to realize how MUCH I did with how little I had, and what an infinite blessing it was TO ME to have been on that mission. My “spiritual roots” were so very eager, but they were also still so very young and vulnerable back then. My mission took those roots, planted them, nurtured them, and gave them the “growth test” that Elder Andersen describes:

In nature, trees that grow up in a windy environment become stronger. As winds whip around a young sapling, forces inside the tree do two things. First, they stimulate the roots to grow faster and spread farther. Second, the forces in the tree start creating cell structures that actually make the trunk and branches thicker and more flexible to the pressure of the wind. These stronger roots and branches protect the tree from winds that are sure to return.

tree_roots_growing_deep

You are infinitely more precious to God than a tree. You are His son or His daughter. He made your spirit strong and capable of being resilient to the whirlwinds of life. The whirlwinds in your youth, like the wind against a young tree, can increase your spiritual strength, preparing you for the years ahead.”

Elder Neil L. Andersen – Spiritual Whirlwinds, April 2014

Looking back over my past twenty-five years of marriage, children, school, serious illness, financial hardship, and all of my life’s many challenges, I am so thankful for the whirlwind, “wicked-cold ice-storm” environment of my mission, and experience that made my spiritual roots grow deeper and stronger than I could imagine which would help prepare me for what was coming.

It is important to remember that the Lord never gives a command to us without also giving a promise. When he commanded that we share the gospel “to all nations“, he also promised many priceless rewards [see underlined below];

A marvelous work is about to come forth among the children of men.

Therefore, O ye that embark in the service of God, see that ye serve him with all your heart, might, mind and strength, that ye may stand blameless before God at the last day.

Therefore, if ye have desires to serve God ye are called to the work;

For behold the field is white already to harvest; and lo, he that thrusteth in his sickle with his might, the same layeth up in store that he perisheth not, but bringeth salvation to his soul;

And faith, hope, charity and love, with an eye single to the glory of God, qualify him for the work.

Remember faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience,brotherly kindness, godliness, charity, humility, diligence.

Ask, and ye shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. Amen.

Doctrine & Covenants 4

This video tribute to the Mormon pioneers and missionary work – past & present – was created to commemorate the Pioneer Sesquicentennial in 1997, featuring the stirring song Faith In Every Footstep by K. Newell Dayley

6 comments

  1. Holly, this blog came at a very apt time. Just last week I had a visit from two girls on their mission. I asked them in and we talked for over an hour. They were really sweet. By the time they left, it was getting late and dark, and they were on bikes, and it was below freezing. I had them bring their bikes in and park them in my dining room for the night, and I took them home in my car. It’s too dangerous for girls to be out alone at night on bikes, and it was so cold. They got a ride back the next day and picked up their bikes. It was still below freezing. I hope you didn’t have to ride a bike during the winter in Wisconsin.

    I hate to take up so much space on your blog, but I have another poem I wrote a few years ago about mission work. Although I’m not LDS, I do agree that we are all called to be missionaries.

    Mission Field

    We are all upon a mission,
    in this thing that we call life,
    Though some of us are not aware,
    and so we do not strive,
    To help the ones around us,
    even though the fields are ready,
    We let them go unharvested,
    our hands we do not dirty,
    There’s someone else who’ll do the work,
    or so we tend to think,
    We’ll let them try to save the souls,
    who teeter on the brink,
    And hope that they can bring them in,
    those sheaves that lie in wait,
    It’s not my job, I’m not the one,
    whose work decides their fate,
    And yet we have been given,
    what is called the great commission,
    We’re told to go to all the world,
    but we don’t want to listen,
    It makes me too uncomfortable,
    to tell someone of Jesus,
    So we’ll just say a prayer for them,
    and hope that when God hears us,
    He’ll send the one He’s chosen,
    to be His missionary,
    I know that it cannot be me,
    I’m not the one to carry,
    God’s word to others, though at times,
    it scares me when I see,
    There is someone that I should tell,
    I know it’s up to me,
    For if I don’t they could wind up,
    spending eternity,
    Away from God, alone in Hell,
    the blame will be on me,
    Please help me, God, and give to me,
    the courage that I need,
    To be your missionary,
    and plant your holy seed.

    Love, Lynne

    Like

    • Lynne, I love your story and your poem!
      Thanks so much for taking such good care of the sister missionaries! ♡ That means so much to them & especially to their mothers who are worried about them and praying for them. I hope you will get the chance to visit with them again. I bet they are sweethearts.
      No, thankfully I never had to try to ride a bike when I was in Wisconsin! I was very spoiled. Back in those days, there were so very few “girl missionaries” (Sisters) who went, in my mission we all got to drive a car, and the boys (Elders) would ride the bikes. Today, times have changed! The eligible age for Sisters was lowered from 21 down to 19. So, now there are thousands more young lady missionaries choosing to go. Depending on missions, pretty much everyone takes turns riding bikes. However, that only applies to Stateside missions. Many foreign missions have no cars for missionaries. They do a lot of walking and riding public transportation. 🙂

      I love your poem. You are absolutely right, everyone who believes in Christ is called to serve & testify of Him.

      Thank you for sharing your witness & faith through your poetry.

      Like

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