Become A Missionary

Reading: “Becoming a Missionary,” Elder David A. Bednar, Ensign, Nov 2005

My brother comes home from his mission next week.  The following weekend, I have been asked to speak in the ward where I grew up the same day he reports.  My assigned topic is how to prepare for a mission, including examples from my brother’s mission preparation.  So, in preparation of that talk I hope to do several posts on missionary preparation.

Elder Bednar, in this talk, makes some beautiful points about the gospel and missionary work.  He sayd that missionaries should not just go on a mission, but should become a missionary, and should do so before they go on their missions.  He states,

You will not suddenly or magically be transformed into a prepared and obedient missionary on the day you walk through the front door of the Missionary Training Center. What you have become in the days and months and years prior to your missionary service is what you will be in the MTC.

Often, I think we expect outside things to change us, like a mission, but we could be so much more powerful and better if we seek first to change ourselves.

Elder Bendar then shared that we are all missionaries throughout our whole life.  We are so because we are the seed of Abraham, and that group of people is called to serve the rest of the world. It is our inheritance and role as descendants of Abraham, holders of the priesthood (for the men), and members of this church to bring the gospel to all the world around us.

My beloved brethren, you and I, today and always, are to bless all peoples in all the nations of the earth. You and I, today and always, are to bear witness of Jesus Christ and declare the message of the Restoration. You and I, today and always, are to invite all to receive the ordinances of salvation. Proclaiming the gospel is not a part-time priesthood obligation. It is not simply an activity in which we engage for a limited time or an assignment we must complete as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Rather, missionary work is a manifestation of our spiritual identity and heritage. We were foreordained in the premortal existence and born into mortality to fulfill the covenant and promise God made to Abraham. We are here upon the earth at this time to magnify the priesthood and to preach the gospel. That is who we are, and that is why we are here—today and always.

Sometimes I don’t feel like I’m doing much missionary work.  After all, I live in Utah.  I am (currently) a stay at home mom, so I don’t meet many people except at church.  I am really really shy, and I have a hard time asking strangers the time of day, let alone telling them about the gospel.  I have never served a mission.

However, I have often reflected that while God calls the men and Priesthood of the church to teach the old people and to serve as leaders and missionaries in the church, the chief calling of the women in the church is to teach the young people, who are so much more receptive and whose teaching will affect them at a more basic level and for the rest of their lives.  The greatest mission I have right now is to my own family, especially my daughter.

So, today I am going to think about what similarities there are between motherhood and missionary work.  The idea is that if I can tie what work I am doing for this talk into my own life, then I will become more engaged in it and will give a better talk.  Plus, perhaps I can be a better mother in the process.

How would/did you become a missionary, versus just going on a mission?  In what ways are you a missionary right now, assuming you are not currently serving a mission?

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