Saturday, January 25, 2014

Decisions Determine Destiny

I’ve been called to serve in the Idaho Nampa Mission which includes a portion of Western Idaho and the length of Eastern Oregon. A mission was never a part of my plan. Well, not until the announcement was made just over a year ago that the missionary age had been lowered significantly for young women. On October 6, 2012, I made a decision to put everything aside and dedicate my time and effort to the Lord and His people wherever He needed my testimony and service for a period of eighteen months. Many have asked me why I made serving a mission a priority. I’m a young woman. It’s not a commandment for me to go, so why put everything on hold to serve? The answer I gave President Alleman in an interview was simply this: “ The knowledge of the truthfulness of the restored gospel is the greatest gift. I want to share it.”

I leave in just nine days. SO many emotions have been felt these last few weeks. I’ve felt a lot of excitement. I’ve encountered a little stress. But most importantly, I’ve been feeling joy like never before. I’ve been the happiest I’ve ever been knowing that I have a loving Heavenly Father who is there for me 24 hours a day, seven days a week, in times of trouble, and in times of peace.

For the last year and three months, I’ve been diligently preparing myself to enter the Lord’s vineyard. But It hasn’t been easy at all. The adversary wanted so badly to manipulate me into not serving a mission. There were times after I received my call that I thought, “What if I’m not a good missionary? or 18 months is a long time to be away from family and friends.” I’d scroll through pictures on Facebook and Instagram and think how much fun I’d have at college. Each time I had these thoughts, I prayed for guidance. I’d pray for assurance that I was needed in the Idaho Nampa Mission. Each time, I was given the same answer through the power of the spirit. This is my calling, and I’m going to fulfill it.

Wait, but what IS my calling exactly? My “purpose” if you will. My purpose as a missionary is to Invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end.

Although this is the purpose of a full-time missionary, members can also put the Missionary Purpose into effect by inviting others to come unto Christ by sharing their testimony with others, or maybe even inviting a friend to an activity that will allow them to feel the spirit. There are so many ways to share the gospel with others. I’ve found that sharing my own testimony with someone makes it much more personal and real. Then, they can use your testimony as a stepping stone to build their own.

Personally, I haven’t always had a testimony of the gospel. I haven’t always had a firm belief that I had a loving Heavenly Father. At the beginning of high school, I decided to disregard most of what I was taught in church and by my parents. I decided that I didn’t need the gospel. It wasn’t important. I still went to church...I just didn’t listen. I still went to seminary...I just didn’t listen. It wasn’t until the second semester of my sophomore year of high school when I surrounded myself with friends who were firm in their faith, who were unashamed of the gospel and lived the standards they’ve been taught since primary that I realized I was missing something important in my life. I started to regain a testimony. That began to nourish that little seed of faith I had planted. Now, here I am.

I couldn’t be more grateful for the people who were such an example to me and who lifted me up, who bore testimony when I needed to hear it. There’s a really great parallel in Moroni 7. There are a few words in both verses 26 and 31 that meet perfectly and offer and exquisite truth. If you move your finger across the page starting on the fourth line of verse 26, it reads, “And as surely as Christ liveth bear testimony of Him.” That’s exactly what I’ll do when I am a missionary, and when I’m not a missionary. I would invite all of you to do the same. I testify that He lives. He is our Savior.


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