Monday, May 9, 2016

Esse Quam Videri

I LOVE YOU MOM SO MUCH! SO FUN TO SKYPE WITH YOU ALL.

My dear family and friends, today is a special day for me. I got to see my beautiful family today, and I miss them so much. Miss them in a good way, you know? I can't express the love I have for my family.  They mean everything to me. 


Today I am going to write a little differently. If you are reading this blog right now and you are prepping to go on a mission or wondering what a mission entails... listen up. The Spirit told me to focus my email on you guys... no pressure hahahahaha. 


We all hear missionaries in their homecoming talks talk about the best 2 years, the way they have changed, how much they love the people, and they bear their testimony in their mission language.  All of you are sitting there like...."Dude, I am totally serving a mission. That sounds way cool."... So you put in your papers, you ask God if it is the right thing to do, you get your answer, and you go for it. 

You enter the MTC, and you have a great spiritual experience, and you learn all day every day in a small classroom, and you are bombarded with the Spirit of the Lord, so much so that when you leave the MTC, you cannot imagine it any other way. 

You get to your mission area. You are excited and super nervous. Maybe you can't speak the language, maybe you are worried about gaining weight.  Whatever it is, you get stressed... you start to wonder if the mission was a good idea. In fact, at most times it definitely does not seem like the best 2 years that that one guy in your ward promised it would be. You don't have investigators, maybe your companion doesn't like to shower hahahaha. I don't know. You decide to get down on your knees and ask for help. Things start to get a lot better. You feel your Heavenly Father's love more frequently. You move areas, companions, you start to get the language, you start to lose weight (if you are an elder hahahahaha), you get in a groove, and you are comfortable. 


But "comfortable" is not in Heavenly Father's vocabulary. So he tests you again, and you prove yourself again. You get down on your knees and plead for others, you plead for yourself, and things get better again. Your attitude changes, your character starts to change, consistently making the right decision (which is almost always an easy decision to make)... and you start to change. You realize you are changing. Your spirit starts to overcome your body, and with God you realize that you are a lot stronger. With God you can change lives. With God you can change the nature of human beings. And you start to understand the urgency and the importance of your calling as a missionary. You start to not worry about home, and home seems so far away it seems unreal (that happens it is scary). 

Pah Jan loves the Fam

Soon your mission becomes your home. You accept the culture, the people, yourself. And once you get over that hump, you have the ability to change lives through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. You cleave to the gospel of Jesus Christ because you know that is what makes you the person you are... and that knowledge can help all of the other people around you. 

Then you have 1 year and 6 months left.... but you aren't counting anymore.... time starts to fly by. And Heavenly Father consistently puts you back in the fire, taking you out, crafting you, cooling you, putting you in the fire again, until you are standing at the airplane at the end of your mission saying a prayer to Heavenly Father telling him, "Father I did everything that was asked of me. Please bless these people... they mean everything to me."


You guys, a mission changes your life. That isn't something missionaries say because it is catchy. If you think you are strong now because you just graduated high school, and you were Seminary president, and you have a great testimony.. that is just great! You just got your Personal Progress, and you have those awesome bookmark ribbons for faith, virtue, charity, etc.... Come out on a mission and let the Lord work miracles through you. THIS IS THE HARDEST WORK YOU WILL HAVE EVER DONE UP TO THIS POINT IN YOUR LIFE - SO DON'T MISS IT. DON'T MISS YOUR MISSION. COME OUT AND JOIN THE RANKS. Come out on a mission and experience true happiness and true sadness. Come out on a mission and be ready to be beaten down until you are "depressed and about to turn back" (Alma 26)... but you don't turn back. You, like Alma, understand that bringing other souls unto repentance is the most important work on the face of the planet. Come out on a mission, and watch the Lord change your life. 

He sure is changing mine.


-- 
Love the Lord and Laugh, 
เอ็ลเดอร์ สมีธ-ดริกส์

Elder Smith-Driggs  


Go Cougars!

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