A Random Missionary Experience

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I wanted to share an experience from my LDS mission so I opened my journal to a random entry. Here are a couple entries (with mild editing to clean up any errors and to edit out names):

From Tuesday, January 4, 2000: “Today was a good day. We did not have too many referrals to do, so that was a good break [I worked in the office at this point and making all the phone calls in the morning when we had to send out information about people who had contacted the LDS Church stating they wanted to receive a movie or book {and who said that they wanted to be contacted by representatives of the Church} to the various missionaries in the mission. The process took up to three hours some days.]. We did get a lot done, mostly busy work but it was fun. I was talking to Sis. Larson [our mission president’s wife] about the piano and school and all [that]. She is really neat. Today she asked me if I did finger exercises so I would keep up on my skills. [She and President Larson [make] sure I keep up on my piano skills. Pres. Larson always asks me if I get enough piano practicing in…. An older couple took us and the Hermanas to a buffet restaurant for dinner. It was good. We went and met with Bill [recently baptized] after dinner and just talked with him. We set his son’s baptism date for January 26! We have a lot do in between now and then, especially since he won’t be here for half the time because he stays part of the time at his mother’s place. Bill is such a great man. He is intelligent and wants to learn so much. I know that he will be a great strength to this ward [he was called to be the ward executive secretary about 7 months after his baptism]. Life is great. I do want to help a lot of people in this world. I only hope that I may be a Christ-like person and really be kind and generous. =)”

Why did I share this entry? It was simply one that I opened up to. I also thought it represented a typical day as a missionary – at least as an office missionary. We worked in the mission office until at least lunch (we had the occasional day where we were there until almost dinner time) and then went home and did ‘normal’ missionary work for the rest of the day. As missionaries we spent out time talking with people – everything is about the people. We have good news of Christ’s restored gospel that we want to share with all people. It is the world’s most important news and so all our time was spent trying to share this news with people. We spent all our time with others – teaching, talking, serving, and loving. Even the hard days of rejection and sadness were uplifting in their own way.

One thing that strikes me as I go back and read my missionary journals is how often the words, “Life is great” or “Life is beautiful” or some variation on that theme. I’ve always tried to be upbeat and optimistic about life but my mission journals generally just ooze with positivity. It is not mere melodrama – serving as an LDS missionary is one of the most amazing things I have ever done. Within the Church you frequently hear people refer to the years they spent as missionaries as “the best two years” of their lives. For me, life continues to get better with each passing year but my years as a full-time missionary were two of the best years of my life; I know that seems a bit contradictory but there really is not a better way to explain it. There is something about full-time missionary service that is incredibly rewarding. It’s not a service done for personal benefit – taking two years out of schooling or other life seems like a waste of time to many people but it was anything but that. I have never been happier for as long as I was than when I was a full-time missionary.

Being a missionary is about the people though. It is about the Bills and Andrews and Karens of the world who hear the gospel preached to them, feel the Spirit, and rejoice at and accept the good news they hear and feel. Those of us who served (and serve or will serve) full time missions for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are ‘normal’ people. We were called of God to do a great work – spread His restored gospel.

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