It boggles the mind to think of the great importance and vastness of this labor of love to which we, as missionaries, have been called. We are to be the means of bringing sons and daughters of the Most High, our brothers and sisters, to a greater knowledge of the truth. Lives are changed. Lives already have been changed. Including my own.
As I wrap up training Elder Garner and opening Grinnell, I’ve been thinking a lot about what it is that I have learned from this experience. First and foremost, this has been the most humbling experience of my life and I have learned a dependence upon the Lord that I have not previously imagined possible. I realize now how an incredibly arrogant, self-righteous kid I was back home. I apologize to anyone and everyone for having known me. It’s a miracle in itself that you all managed to put up with me. I now realize the source of every blessing, every success, and every good thing that has ever happened to me or around me…and it’s not me.
I hate to admit that it has taken as many experiences as it has to teach me this principle… and I’m sure that there are more coming as well. In the few months I have been serving, I have had my credentials as a missionary (what credentials other than a willingness to serve and a testimony? haha) questioned, I have been asked many questions that I simply do not know the answers to, I have had things thrown at me, dogs set on me, trucks run over icy puddles right next to me, and many, many hurtful words thrown my way. But at the same time, I have seen grown men and women cry as they have heard the restored message, lives changed, and I have felt the Savior’s love every step of the way.
As Peter and John of old, I do not revel in the bad stories. Sure, they’ll be great to tell when I’m old, but I try to count myself lucky to be thought of as worthy to bear these things in His name. The same as all missionaries do all over the world. The same as all members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints do.
The message I bear this week is that what we teach is true. Some may think that the way to “prove others wrong” is through the carefully calculated use of objections, derogatory comments, and scripture. This is not the way of the Lord’s servants. Very plainly, we all bring a different figurative “lens” to the table that we look through when we read the holy scriptures. Some focus on one part of a verse over another. Some believe the verses literally, while others do so figuratively. Some even believe some verses to be entirely irrelevant. Whatever the case, we all read and interpret the scriptures differently. All we do as missionaries is show you the “lens” through which we as a church interpret them. We believe our “lens” to be guided by the added truths of a truly restored Gospel. Your “lens” may differ. All we ask is that you give ours a try and see if the Holy Spirit, that eternal testifier of truth, does not accompany you as you learn of our Church. For I know that He will.
This is His Church, and I am forever His servant.
Faith and Honor,