"I am confident that the time will never come when we shall not need vigorous men and women of faith to go into the world as missionaries for this cause. We have never found, and I think we never shall find, an adequate substitute for the situation in which two wholesome young men [and women] meet with a family, reason with them, teach them, testify to them, and pray with them. We shall always need missionaries." - Gordon B. Hinckley
I have been observing hundreds of mission calls since the missionary age change was announced abck in October 2012. It is a spectacular event that everyone has seemed to have noticed. Most of my conversations with people nowadays revolve around missions and missionary work. I feel that through this change, my life has been elevated to a more spiritual state of being. All that ever goes through my mind these days is about a mission. Many wonderful people including some of my very best of friends have already left. I appreciate the examples that they are to me and I wish they truly knew how much of an influence they have on me. I'm grateful to the people the Lord sent me throughout my journey in mortality. They have shaped and molded my being of what I am today.
There is one thing I have been meaning to talk about for a while, but wanted to wait until it was closer to when I would be getting my call. I thought it would be more appropriate. I feel the timing is better now.
Through my observations in the last 6 months (it's really been that long already??) I have watched time and time again young men and young women open their calls to see where the destiny of the next 1.5-2 years is going to take them. They cry, they cheer, they jump around and they are overly ecstatic and enthusiastic which I absolutely adore. But every once in a while I have witnessed one who does not react this way. It's very subtle most of the time, but you catch disappointment in their eyes, no matter how hard they try to hide it. I feel genuinely sad for them because you realize that their sights were set on destination rather than on the sacrifice they are giving to help and save people in the areas they are called.
Now I am saying this now because in 2 weeks or so I will receive my own call to serve the Lord's precious children and I want to make it clear, where I stand on where I will be called and I want to help raise those people who may feel slightly disappointed to have a bit more excitement concerning their place of call.
Your call is a gift. I feel that you should have your testimony strengthened if you think about it. What testimony, you may ask? Your testimony solely in Christ our Savior and Redemeer. The Man who Atoned for your sins and your's alone. It is a testimony in Christ that not only does He know you better than you, but that He knows your plan and where you are most needed for others.
A mission is not a vacation, let me make that clear. It is just the opposite. It is crazy, energy-draining work that will leave you so exhausted at the end of each day that as soon as your body touched your bed, you are out. But, through the Lord Jesus Christ, you will keep going. You will keep doing what you are doing in the service of your Lord because you are serving with the love and tenderness of Christ. You are there (where ever you [and I] are called) to serve the PEOPLE not the place. That is what a mission is.
I hope this doesn't sound too critical or scary but I feel that you, and I , are not going to be able to serve to the best of your abilities if you don't realize this before you leave. Even so, I myself need reminding every once in a while-- we are all flawed mortal human beings, if you haven't noticed. We are less than perfect but we can be perfected in Christ. Serve with your heart, not your head. This I know.
PS. If you don't know already, I have been asked on about 100+ occasions where I would like to serve or not like to serve and my answer is always the same: I am going to serve the people of the world, I absolutely do not care where I go because I know that where ever I am sent, that is where the Lord wants me, so that is where I want to go.