Just remember in whom you’ve trusted.
I’m no fool, I know sometimes the preparation is overwhelming. I understand the no sleep jitters, the anticipation of doing something worthwhile, & the smile at every thought of wearing that name tag & being a missionary; the self fulfillment & peace in knowing you’ll be on the Lord’s errand. But I also understand the fear of change, the uncertainty in what life will be like, & the worry of not being present when it would be important to be. It’s hard to think of what your friends & family will do on hard days when you’re not there. It tugs at your heart to think of missing your favorite traditions & wondering if you’ll be happy as a missionary.
These worries come & go, but if the doubts come & seem to stay, I’d tell you the same thing I tell myself to calm my heart. I’d tell you that if you know you’re supposed to go, then go. There’s not a whole lot the Adversary can do about the will of God & if Heavenly Father wants you to serve a mission then He’ll help you make it happen. If He wants you to go now, then you should go now. It’s easy to get caught up in the doubts… “I don’t know enough. I’m not ready. Everyone says it’s hard & I don’t know if I can do it.” But if it was right when you prayed about it then it’s right now. Heavenly Father would not lead you into a doomed situation. Challenging? Yes. Difficult? Sure. Experiences that require growth & reliance? You can count on it. But He will not send you to fail.
Don’t discount your faith just because the Adversary is working on you. He doesn’t want you to serve a mission because he knows it will only bring goodness into your life. He doesn’t want you to get your papers started or work on your weaknesses or study the scriptures or prepare to serve, & he definitely doesn’t want you to pray. Maybe he’s working on you emotionally & you’re scared you won’t be enough or measure up. Thinking like that is like having the Adversary next to you all the time. He’s telling you that you’re not good enough, that your life is sad, that nothing ever goes right, that you’re a bad person, etc. Soon you’re both saying terrible, terrible things, & all the while he’s trying to convince you the war isn’t actually happening. It’s unfair & harsh & really consuming, but there’s nothing I recommend more highly to counter act darkness than light. It’s about controlling your thoughts, & when you can do that you’ll feel better. So try to respond to every negative or demeaning thought with one from God. “I don’t know how to do this.” – But God does. I know how to pray & He’s promised He’ll help me. “I’ll never measure up.” -Not today, Satan. I’m a child of God with divine potential & I know that through Jesus Christ weak things can become strong. I know that the Lord magnifies our honest efforts & He’ll bless my labors.
I’m not going to lie to you & tell you a mission is easy, it’s not. It was one of the hardest thing I’ve ever done & maybe the hardest thing I’ll ever do, but I don’t regret it, not even for a minute. It was worth every tear & every second of struggle for the growth & testimony & light I now have that I didn’t before. It was the best thing I could’ve ever done for myself; the best decision I’ve ever made. A mission is all about conversion. Am I converted? Are you? How many of us are truly converted? We leave to serve missions applying the Gospel to our lives, & once we’ve embraced it & our souls thrive on living & applying every bit of it, we share it until we collapse in bed each night. It takes a lot of practice, learning & engraving on our hearts to live the Gospel like that. It’s important to remember that no missionary is perfect, the only perfect missionary was Jesus Christ himself, but if we act with faith & out of love, giving all we’ve got, then the Lord will use us. We’re to do what He asks us to do; we plan to follow His will, act with determination until it’s finished, & then pray to give thanks for the opportunity & keep praying to know what to do next.
So, when they say you’re not ready to serve, I don’t buy that. “If ye have desires to serve ye are called to the work” D&C 4:3. I believe it will be hard, that it may be a lot to handle & a real challenge every day, but I don’t think any mission is easy. It’s almost like a trial of your faith. Knowing full well that it will hurt & that it’ll be difficult, will you follow? Realizing that you can’t do it yourself, but believing that the Lord will keep His promises, you press forward ready to grow, change, & fully rely on the Lord. That’s faith.
Maybe that’s the testimony you need to share with someone, one of faith & really believing that God keeps His promises to help us. Maybe this is your opportunity to pray always, relying & seeking the guidance of God in all things & perhaps He knows this is the best way for you to grow & become. I wonder if that’s why young adults serve missions, why we leave at a younger age, & why missions are structured the way they are, with limited contact home & situations that require a lot of responsibility. Would you truly learn to pray earnestly & rely on the Lord if you got to call home each night & vent about the days troubles to your mother or ask your father for advice regarding an investigator? Would you learn to appreciate the Atonement & let it carry you if home was your own bed & warm cookies from your mother? There’s purpose in every little detail. It’s very clear to me that the Lord knows what He’s doing, & that He needs us to be valiant. But as difficult as it sometimes sounds, please don’t be scared. This will likely be the most life altering, fulfilling experience of your life, & as hard as it may be, you can leave knowing you’ll experience joy.
In every mission call, as a promise to missionaries from the Lord, it reads,
“The Lord will reward you for the goodness of your life. Greater blessings and more happiness than you have yet experienced await you as you humbly and prayerfully serve the Lord in this labor of love among His children.“
& there are more promises in the scriptures. Missionaries are promised some seriously powerful blessings. I know that’s true. I know it. I know that God keeps His promises & that the Atonement is more real that we imagined. I know that we are never truly alone. We can pray to be happy in our circumstances, we can pray for the strength to keep walking, to know our families will be taken care of (D&C 31), & I know that we can pray that our desire to serve will drown out our fears. I’ve prayed for that & my prayers were answered. The Lord qualifies whom He calls. So I’d tell you not to worry if you can’t remember all the scripture stories, your investigators won’t know them either, & your learning is as valid as theirs is. That’s such an indication of how important this is to you. Those you teach will see that you left everything safe & comfortable to share a message of hope with them. One you don’t know everything about or have all the answers to, but one you can testify of for blessing your life. The message is true & the Holy Ghost will touch the hearts of those you teach as you speak truths, so I wouldn’t worry. Often the simplest testimonies are filled with the most power.
I’m not sure what I’m supposed to say, other than the fact that I know if Heavenly Father wants you to serve a mission He’ll help you every second to be able to do it, & never forget that His Son’s Atonement will carry you. I want to leave you with this scripture in 1 Nephi 17, when Nephi is commanded to build a boat but his brothers don’t believe he can.
v. 49 “…for God had commanded me that I should build a ship.
v. 50 And I said unto them: If God had commanded me to do all things I could do them. If he should command me that I should say unto this water, be thou earth, it should be earth; and if I should say it, it would be done.
v. 51 And now, if the Lord has such great power, and has wrought so many miracles among the children of men, how is it that he cannot instruct me, that I should build a ship?”
So, if the Lord would have you serve a mission, & you’re willing, you’ll serve.It may seem daunting, but it’ll come. He knows every thought & desire of your heart, & as you discuss your doubts & fears with Him in prayer, He’ll show you how to overcome them.
He loves you, He believes in you, & He’s not sending you alone. So be excited for the growth, the new experiences, & all that’s to come. Have some confidence in yourself & have some confidence in the Lord.
Remember in whom you’ve trusted & whatever you do, don’t forget to pray.