I read once, "You don't just wake up great one day. That's not the way it works. What you get out of life is directly related to what you put into it. So if you think you can cut corners, there will be benches for you to ride and records for you to miss. But if you believe that excellence is something earned.. we've got work to do.”
..Little did I realize that the back of this Oberto Beef Jerky bag actually had a pretty good point. Have I been working as hard as I can? Or have I been cutting corners, riding benches, and sleeping through my consecration?
In Stake Conference this past Saturday evening, our Stake President asked us a question that made me think. He said, addressing the brethren, "Who is the happiest missionary?" After a few murmurs, some thoughtful glances towards the ceiling and floor, and a couple confident dispositions, the Stake President then continued, "The one who keeps rules -- and commandments." ..I can only speak for myself, but I was definitely expecting something wayy more intense - like a new secret to taking over the world with smiles.. or how confidence actually increases your height.. Something like that. But, the more I thought about it, the more I realized that this is actually one that people (especially me) tend to look over more often than not. This is, obedience.
The very first page of Preach my Gospel says, " You are surrounded by people. You pass them on the street, visit them in their homes, and travel among them. All of them are children of God, your brothers and sisters. God loves them just as He loves you. Many of these people are searching for purpose in their life. They are concerned for their families. They need the sense of belonging that comes from the knowledge that they are children of God, members of His eternal family. They want to feel secure in a world filled with changing values. They want "Peace in this world, and eternal life in the world to come" (D&C 59:23) , but they are "kept from the truth because they know not where to find it"(D&C 123:12).”
We've been called of God to deliver the message that will bless their families, meet their spiritual needs, and help them fill their deepest desires, but.. How can we do that if we don't make it out of our house? What if we miss that person who needs this so bad because we were grabbing an extra bite to eat? What if we don't care to study as hard as we should? How can we teach what we don't know? ..We've got to be obedient. For our benefit as well as for others.
Bottom line, I believe missions are hard because it pits you against yourself. Over the course of time you are forced to choose whom you will follow - The spirit, Heavenly Father, and Jesus Christ, or the natural man inside of you. To choose between wants and needs, should’s and shouldn'ts, good and great, and better and best can not only be tricky, but.. ..well, really really difficult!
I recently had the opportunity to be interviewed by my mission President. Interviews are a time for us to, as missionaries, be able to talk with our President, address his concerns as well as our own, and leave feeling spiritually enlightened, loved, and ready to make the necessary changes in our missionary lifestyle in order to become a "Preach My Gospel Missionary". The best of the best.
..but. I didn't quite experience the full range of 'spiritual enlightenment', love,and 'ready to improve' feelings. To be honest, I felt like I was trying to justify and explain myself the whole time. What I had not understood at that time- until I left, feeling embarrassed and ashamed, was that the happiest missionary is truly one who "keeps rules-- and commandments."
The purpose of this mass email today is to share with you what you are expected to be -- as a missionary, so that.. well.. haha.. you can avoid this kind of humbling experience and progress much faster with the end in mind. I've done a lot of studying and believe this is the best help I could find at the moment. So, let us all become Preach My Gospel missionaries, through the teachings of David A. Bednar.
Thank you all for being so supportive, and so loving!