Called to Serve
The temple is a beautiful representation of everything that is best in life, in eternity, in mankind, and in righteousness. It's beautiful in every imaginable way--serene, quiet, and approachable. That constant peace and calm, the comfort of the Spirit, is among the many reasons why the temple is such a pleasant place to be.
Going on a mission is a very different experience from going to the temple. That is why I find it so odd that even to this day, some members of the Church associate qualifying for a temple recommend with being mentally and emotionally prepared to serve a mission. The whole purpose of raising the bar for missionary service was to eliminate this assumption because a mission requires so much more than the spiritual bare minimum.
I've never heard anyone anywhere say that their mission was perfect--totally devoid of all problems, a season of perfect peace, enjoyment, and relaxation. If I ever heard a returned missionary say such a thing, I'd be strongly tempted to ask them if they were called to serve in a cardboard box.
What you do with the gospel in powerful, meaningful ways is infinitely more important than what you know about it. As such, these talks I've assembled are not meant to impart information in the same way my temple playlist did. This list is meant to inspire action--changes of habit, heart, and mind. They give meaningful, important suggestions for how we can become better missionaries--not just how to go on a mission.
Materials and Resources:
- Provo Missionary Training Center website (What time do you report? What should you bring? Click to find out)
- Preach My Gospel, (additional languages available under link)
- Mission Preparation Manual, Church Education System
- Into All the World, a podcast from the Mormon Channel (Do you have a mission call? Has your mission been discussed? Find out here.)
- Planning for a Full and Abundant Life, Spencer W. Kimball (Note: the assertion that every young man has an obligation to serve a mission was given here.)
- The Greatest Generation of Missionaries, M. Russell Ballard (Precursor to the raising of the bar)
- Letter issued by the First Presidency on December 11, 2002, which formally raised the bar for missionary service. Every missionary candidate should be aware of the contents of this letter. Absolute sexual purity and emotional stability are now required to serve a mission because of this letter. If anything about these two requirements confuses you, ask your bishop or stake president to discuss this letter with you. Be aware that any sexual transgression before your mission will significantly delay your missionary service, if not instantly disqualify you.
- Raising the Bar, L. Tom Perry
- As We Meet Together Again, Thomas S. Monson
- The Lord Needs Missionaries, Thomas S. Monson
- The Divine Call of a Missionary, Ronald A. Rasband
- The Essential Role of Member Missionary Work, M. Russell Ballard
- My Missionary Experiences, Joseph Fielding Smith
- Missionary Experiences, LeGrand Richards
- A Call to the Rising Generation, Brent H. Nielson
- Becoming a Missionary, David A. Bednar
- The Five M's of Missionary Work, Thomas S. Monson
- D&C 4
- D&C 11
- D&C 79 (The mission call of Jared Carter, who would bring John Tanner into the Church)
- Luke 9: 59-62
- Acts 1: 6-8
- Acts 3: 11-15
- Acts 9: 1-31
- 1 Peter 3: 8-16
- Alma 19: 16-18, 28-29
- Alma 22: 13-18
- Alma 26
- Helaman 5
- Judges 4 (It occurs to me that in the mindset of the Old Testament, missionary work and idolatry are both totally synonymous with military might and conquest. Therefore, reading about the armies and battles of Israel in the Old Testament is like reading about the great missionaries of the ancient world.)
- Judges 7: 1-9
- Joshua 1: 9-11
(As always, feel free to leave your favorites and suggestions in the comments.)
This is only a cursory look at one of the most important responsibilities we have in the Church. Missionary work has such a rich history, with so many men and women working together at the battlefront. I have waited for many years to be able to join them, and in a few days time I will begin my own ministry in the Lord.
I've been reassigned to the Provo MTC until further notice, due to delays with my visa. If it comes before the end of my training, I will go straight to the Brazil CTM and finish my training there. I was disappointed about the change at first, but have since embraced the idea of returning to Utah to train with my comrades in arms there. I know that as long as I serve with willing men and women who desire to bring others to Christ, it doesn't matter where I train.
I know that the ministry I'm about to enter is for the true and living Church of Jesus Christ upon the earth today. His authority and power have been restored, and all who will seek those blessings can receive them if they will follow Jesus Christ and be baptized in His name. I know that the name of Jesus Christ is the only name under heaven by which we can saved, returning home to the presence of our Heavenly Father.
That desire to return home, having given all, is the defining expression of my faith--the greatest desire of my life. I am privileged to take my testimony to the world, and I do so in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.