We can’t believe that we finally fly to Adelaide TOMORROW! Getting this far has been such a busy time, but we have felt so blessed in getting to this point! (see A Journey Laced With Miracles).
This past week went by really fast. We both had anticipated the mission office systems training we had this past week at the MTC to be fairly boring, but were again surprised. The young brothers and sister who trained us put a lot of heart and soul into the “why” of this kind of service, and the difference it makes in the missions of the church. When there aren’t any seniors available to help in the offices, proselyting missionaries have to be pulled in to do the office work. If I remember correctly, someone who had done the math shared that in a mission with 200 elders and sisters, if each of them has to spend just 30 minutes a day, six days a week on administrative tasks, over the course of 2 years that adds up to something like the proselyting time for 5 additional full time missionaries. That put things into a different perspective for me. While in some respects we would rather be teaching in, or strengthening the local branches and wards, the administrative work done in the mission offices is vitally important as well.
My favorite part of the training was when the Bolingers, a couple that had served in a mission office in Kentucky a few years ago, gave a presentation to us. They shared many wonderful ideas on strengthening the spirituality of the missionaries that came into the office. You have to remember that these young men and women are still teenagers, and have so much to learn. Most of the elders are fresh out of high school. They do not yet have a lot of experience with life, and are sometimes lacking in wisdom. Instead of wanting to spend most of our time in the field, I am now hoping to have some time in the office and the opportunity to implement some of these ideas. I have now realized there are concrete ways I can make the same kind of difference in the office as in the mission field. I also appreciated learning from this amazing couple that they were also human, and sometimes made mistakes. I’m sure I will, too, and remembering that will help! It is wonderful how the Lord can take all of us imperfect, mortal beings and through the Holy Ghost inspire us to do and say wonderful, spiritual things, in spite of our faults and imperfections!
We had a couple of tender mercies occur this week. While coming back from some errands later in the evening Wednesday night, Elder Buckner looked up and spotted the brightly lit remains of what we found out was a Chinese booster rocket streaking across the black night sky. I had never witnessed anything like that – it was so fun to see!
The second one occurred after our last day of training. We had taken some pictures of our training group, but we were a little sad because one sister was not there. Later, just as we were exiting a store in the large University Mall, she walked right past us and we were able to take a shot and say “goodbye” to Sister Rachel Clark. She hadn’t planned on going to the mall, but had a feeling that she should drop by to see a friend who worked there. Bob has a saying for this kind of thing: “Miracles are God’s way of staying anonymous.”
For those friends and family who are still scratching their heads about why we would spend nearly two years paying our own way to serve a church mission, being away from our families and working and serving with no monetary compensation, there are several scriptures that came to mind that may shed some light on where our motivation comes from.
Romans 1:16 states,
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth.”
We love our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and believe in the power of His gospel to relieve suffering and bring peace and salvation to individuals– that is why we are so motivated to share it with others. We want to bring souls unto Christ!
In Luke 22:32 the Savior said to Peter,
“I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.”
In I Nephi, 19:23 it also reads, “And I did read many things unto them which were written in the books of Moses; but that I might more fully persuade them to believe in the Lord their Redeemer I did read unto them that which was written by the prophet Isaiah; for I did liken all scriptures unto us, that it might be for our profit and learning.” We believe that admonition was not just for Peter, but for all of us. We want to partake of the sweet feeling that comes from strengthening others in their faith. I know that it will increase not only our love for others, but our faith as well.
And finally, Jesus said in Matthew 28: 19-20,
“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.”
In speaking to his disciples after His resurrection, The Savior made it clear that he wanted His gospel taught to all the nations of the earth. We believe that mandate has not ended, and applies not only to his disciples then, but to all of us who have accepted His gospel. It is our goal during this mission to bring souls to Christ, to strengthen our brethren, and to lift and serve all those we can. We have been blessed by the Lord in so many ways during our lives. Now is truly the time to “pay it forward!”