In the early weeks of a mission, a missionary tends to discover that missionary work is far more difficult than she or he imagined. How can you help?
A mission president once told me of a call he received from one of his new missionaries. After one week, the elder said, “I want to go home. I am not cut out to do missionary work.” The mission president started laughing. This confused the missionary who thought this was a very serious issue.
The mission president said, “Of course, you are not cut out for missionary work. No one is! Missionary work is so hard that no one wants to do it. It is only through discipline that you learn to do it. Then you learn to love it.”
Let me share one more story from another mission president. He told me that every interview he held was centered on one question: “What do you need to do right now to move closer to Jesus Christ?”
I was deeply impressed. Our purpose on earth is to continually move closer to Jesus Christ. That always requires a choice to change, to stop doing what is ordinary for us, and to start doing something extraordinary. When we do, we move closer to God and something happens to our perception of the “work.” We find new meaning in the word mission.
When the work is difficult, it is natural to withdraw. The key is to first engage in the work, then to grow in our capacity to do it, and then come to love that which is both right and a source of spiritual growth.
When we choose to do a hard thing, when our child chooses to do a hard thing, we are choosing to move past the ordinary level of living. We become principle-driven and experience “victory over self and communion with the infinite” (David O. McKay). We have increased spirituality because we become more connected to God.
The hard work may never become easier, but the rewards of that hard work will increase and will provide more motivation, purpose, and value which in turn drive us to move forward.
Chances are you agree with many of the above principles. Chances are you have had experiences in which you learned to internalize these principles. Those experiences are gold nuggets that you can send to your missionary. Identify your key struggles in moving closer to Christ. Record them, testify of the benefits, and send them to your missionary.
What did you do yesterday to move closer to Christ?
How can you move closer today?
What is a story of hard work in your own life and the value it added?
(photo credit to Deseret)