There is a lovely LDS themed movie, “The Errand of Angels” and it follows a young convert through her adventures as a missionary in Germany. It’s a charming film that, like most movies has a bit of fluff and silliness, but it really did a good job of representing what missions are like. They totally nailed a few things on the head, like interesting and overfilling meals from our fantastic members, grouchy companions, health conscious companions, bold commitment invitations, the “joys” of tracting, and the ever miraculous last minute miracle baptism.
What I enjoyed most about this movie was the perspective and true representation of the “hard” side of missionary work. For those who have served missions or are currently serving, you’re well aware of what is hard and what is not. A few examples for those not in the loop: first, Satan… He is crazy. In a talk I read recently said he is an “incorrigible insomniac” and I second that! Secondly,
the resources you previously had for dealing with stress are no longer readily available which causes unwanted weight gain, terrible acne breakouts, disturbed sleep patterns, and other symptoms. Third is the spiritual challenges. The rejection you deal with each day as door after door, rude “Christian” after rude Christian tells you to get lost, people mock your beliefs, and ask you questions that you can’t answer, and make you feel unsure of your testimony and your exceedingly elect investigators don’t want to accept the gospel and they “break up” with you the day you’re planning on committing them to baptism… It’s just a terrible work out on so many levels. The spiritual strain is definitely the hardest part of it all.
So why come on a mission, or be a missionary if it’s so stinking hard? Like in the movie, it’s the miracles that keep you going at the end of the day. It’s those amazing people who show up at church who just moved into the area and say “I’ve read the entire Book of Mormon, I know it’s true and I’m ready to get baptized.” It’s the people who have been less active for years but for some reason decided to let you and your companion in to visit and share a message with them, who accept the invitation to attend church again, and then become reactivated and fully participating in the ward! It’s the adorable kids in your wards who make you feel like some kind of celebrity because “You’re a missionary!” And that’s the coolest thing to them.
I’ve concluded that the best part of missionary work is the closeness you gain to the Savior. He was the most rejected, despised, mocked and ridiculed missionary of us all, and one of His closest companions betrayed Him in the worst way possible. It’s helpful on rough days to remember that wherever you now are, Jesus was once there too, but unlike you He only had Himself for company, where you and I are all blessed to have Him along for our adventures. What a blessing!
So I guess the moral of the lesson today is: Hard things pass. They don’t last forever. Despite those terrible testimony shaking questions, the church is still true and the Holy Ghost is eager to
testify that fact to you as often as you need it and earnestly seek for it. The Lord really does bless you for all the tracting, and miracles are very very VERY much a real part of every day whether big or small. I am so grateful to be a missionary, and so grateful for the opportunity to serve in the amazing Florida Jacksonville Mission! I would encourage everyone thinking about serving to really fast and pray on it. It is tough, but it is totally worth it! May you feel the Saviors presence each day of your lives as you walk your mile!
Love always, Sister Yates