Ponderings of my “almost year” Mark…

timeLately my mind has been called to “serious reflection” upon why exactly I choose to continue on in my mission (besides the fact that I only have six months left). It’s full of great things that are going to help me and my family and others I meet progress for the rest of eternity; the benefits far out weigh the costs 100%! But… Satan has a very crafty way of making those blessings seem insignifigant in comparrison to how difficult it can be to serve.

I came to the determination that no matter what, I will finish my mission because of two things.
#1- I do know the gospel is true. I know Joseph Smith saw God the Father, and Jesus Christ and they restored Christ’s true church to the earth. I know that no matter what scientist and Pastors and Ministers of other churches or random people on the street have to say, the Book of Mormon is true. It’s accomplished for me all that it promises to do- Strengthen my relationship with Christ, my understanding of His doctrine, and it has, and continues to answers to the questions of my soul.
#2- I don’t quit. Once during soccer practice my coach was getting on my case about “over committing” while I was guarding someone. That’s a pretty accurate statement for just about all that I do. If I’m going to do something, I am going to finish it. I may not be the best at it, I may make some really stupid mistakes (happens all the time, actually… #atonement) but I know that’s part of God’s grand plan. Each adventure I embark on during this crazy “mile” of mine is for my eternal growth and progression, as it is for each of you. It’s not going to feel good to quit. It always feels better, regardless of the outcome, to say “I’m glad I did that” rather than “I wish I had”. I wouldn’t trade the knowledge I’ve gained from these experiences for anything. Even when it’s been hard, even when I’ve seriously questioned my testimony, and everything that makes me who I am. But I know truth is truth, and as Elder Jeffrey R. Holland has said, “God’s word never ceases.” Therefore, if it was true before, it must still be true. And so far, each time I’ve asked that has always been the case. This quote by President Ezra Taft Benson in Preach My Gospel (pg. 121) is my personal “keystone”:

“I have often said one of the greatest secrets of missionary work is work! If a missionary works, he will get the Spirit; if he gets the Spirit, he will teach by the Spirit; and if he teaches by the Spirit, he will touch the hearts of the people and he will be happy. There will be no homesickness, no worrying about families, for all time and talents and interests are centered on the work of the ministry. Work, work, work- there is no satisfactory substitute, especially in missionary work.”

Since every member is commissioned to be a missionary, I feel this quote applies to “life” as a whole, not just this short “life time” of being a full time missionary. I know that if we put our heart and soul into righteous endeavors, we’re going to be grateful for the experience. Heavenly Father wants us to succeed. He wants us to learn and grow. We can’t do that unless we have trails and opposition. In 1st Nephi 20:10 it says:

“For, behold, I have refined thee, I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction.”

I have come to know and testify that trials are a blessing. Opportunities to grow our testimony, to withstand the storms of Satan, and to show to God and our Savior that we do love them enough to endure to the end is a great blessing to us. It’s vital preparation for things that are to come.

In conclusion, I have one more quote that I found today:

“… For each of us, There are choices to be made, incesasnt and difficult chores to be done, ironies and adversities to be experienced, time to be well spent, talents and gifts to be well employed. Just because we were chose “there and then,” surely does not mean we can be indifferent “here and now.”… those called and prepared must also prove “chosen, and faithful.” -Elder Neal A. Maxwell (“Premoratily, a Glorious Reality” Oct 1985)

Keep working. Don’t give up. “It will all work out.” -Pres. Gordon B. Hinckley
In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

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