Missions: Basic Training For Eternity

basicThanks to the inspiration from #MoSop , I felt prompted to write about what we gain from a mission that is vital for our lives after this blessed and cherished experience comes to an end. It’s such a short blink, just like the rest of our mortal experience, but the things you learn…. it’s amazing!

#1- The Schedule: Besides basic training, or a really strict prep school, no where else or in any other organization does any body of people have such a strict and absolutely precise daily schedule. Although it can at times be a source of serious anxiety and stress for some, eventually you recognize the blessing it is. It’s a great way to learn to discipline and self mastery. It’s really easy in “real life” to just hit the snooze button 50 times, or to stay up till 2AM, but when you are on the Lord’s time, you know every minute is sacred, and is to be used as such. Therefore, you get up on time. You use only the allotted time for meal breaks, studies, and teaching appointments. You know you only have a finite amount of time to accomplish what you need to do, and you learn to manage your day accordingly. How helpful will that be for a mother or a leader of a corporation or other such leadership positions? Priceless!

#2- The Rules: In a mission, we have this lovely white handbook that we sometimes refer to as the “White Bible” which contains specific insturctions and guidelines for the what and how of mission life. It is very specific, and very strict in many ways, but yet again it is a blessing in teaching us safety precautions, common courteousy, respect, and integrity. Valuable things that play well into the future roles we will each achieve as a leader, spouse, parent, etc. Obedience is the key. If we are obedient, then the Lord blesses us. It’s that simple, yet so profound.

#3- Companionships: …Best prepartion for marriage I think anyone on the planet could ever experience! You are literally hooked at the hip 24/7 for as long as you serve together. It’s either a really great experience, or a really terrible one depending on what you choose to make of it. It’s not the easiest thing to be put with a complete stranger from a completely different background, or culture, or part of the country, or whatever. However, it is an amazing opportunity to learn to love people. To communicate EFFECTIVELY! To compromise, be patient, and learn to not take yourself too seriously. Again, this experience is priceless! And I can testify, it is going to be what you make of it. Like with all relationships, you have to be willing to put something into it. It’s not all on your comp, or all on you. It’s a partnership that requires effort from both sides. So, decide now how you’re going to behave, and then when the time comes “Make it Happen!”.

#4- Accountability: Basically the first 3 things I’ve mentioned all hinge on this. Each day, and each week, and each prayer (which we probably pray at least 20-30 times per day) is an accounting for our efforts. Each P-Day we account to our mission president, and we tell him how the work is going in our areas. It’s great, because it’s good motivation to keep working hard and not slack off. Each night we pray and talk to the Lord about our day, and ask for help on what we didn’t do very well, and thank Him for the things that totally made the day worth it. This important lesson in responsibility is timeless, as well as eternally valuable!

#5- Sacrifices: I’ve addressed this issue a few times, but really and truly it’s the bread and butter to mission life. We have all given up just about every material form of entertainment, all our hobbies, all our friends and family, education and jobs to serve the Lord. The Law of Sacrifice is an ancinet law dating to Old Testament times, but it’s still so applicable in our day! Missions are a sacrifice, but as with all commandments and covenants that we keep, the Lord blesses us ABUNDANTLY for them. I’ve seen great miracles come from giving up even more than what we’ve initally sacrificed when we left home. When we set goals and make plans to use the Lords time more perfectly each day the Lord can trust us with more people to teach, and more trust from the members we serve, and sweet tender mercies that just pop up seemingly out of nowhere and it’s just a beautiful thing! The Mission Handbook is full of great ideas of things we can do better to become more fully consecrated to our work and to the Lord. I feel it’s important to learn how to live this law now because of where the world is headed. We are (or atleast all should be) aware that we are living in the Last Days that have been prophesied since Adam’s time. It’s a great idea to learn to go without, and learn to rely FULLY on God.

I am so grateful for the opportunity to live such a structured life at this time! I’m only 21, and I have a lot of years ahead of me. I am developing, along with 85,000+ other individuals, seriously important skills that many members of our generation are sorely lacking. How many teens or young adults willingly get up each day at a set time and do something productive? There are those out there who are responsible, but they are a bit too few and far between. How many people in our society advocate accountability? Almost everywhere you look, people are pointing fingers and blaming others. It’s terrible! How many people are willing to go without and make and charitable contributions? Not many, unfortunately. I’m defintiely not saying “all” but it’s an unfortunate truth that people are becoming more inward, and not looking out for others to help as much as we should. How many people want to follow rules, or commandments from God? I am constantly surprised to hear about what’s going on in the world about laws being discussed and what people are fighting about. The Laws and Commandments of God are unchangable. Accept it! If our society was living a life based on high standards as put forth by the Prophets, whether Ancient or Modern, this world would be so different!

In conclusion, I’d just like to say I am so grateful for this priceless and sacred opportunity! I am so grateful for the Atonement of Jesus Christ who makes it possible for me and everyone to overcome our mistakes each day, and try again and be better tomorrow! I am so excited to have compaionship inventories with my future eternal companion and to teach our children the importance of responsibility, integrity, obedience, accountability, and the importance of sacrifce. I am so grateful for my parents who taught me these important values. I am so grateful for inspired Prophets and other church leaders who lead us by inspiration and set a beautiful example for us.
The gospel is true… Missions are amazing! And the future is going to be interesting, but I know it’s going to be possible to endure to the end because of this amazing portion of my “Miracle Mile”!!

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