First of all, I want to give a shout-out to Ammon, from my home ward in Kapolei, Hawaii receiving his mission call to serve in the Las Vegas, Nevada Mission!! I am so ecstatic for him, and for the adventure awaits for him in Nevada! On top of that, my older Sister, Ashley just completed her mission papers, and is currently waiting to receive a calling as well! It is such an exciting time to be a missionary!!
My entry today revolves around this topic of missionary work. For many of the youth that grew up in the church, as high school graduation or an end of a college semester approaches, one of the biggest questions we face... is "Are you going to serve a mission?"
I was faced with this very same question for years until I actually became a missionary. I remember myself not being too excited from being asked this same question all of the time...
However, now being a missionary, my viewpoint of "Missionary Work" completely changed. Today, I speak to all of the youth in this Church. I pray that the Holy Spirit will help you understand the message I have for you today. (I apologize if I have any typos or grammar errors. I typed this in an hour. Forgive me.) President Kimball once said,
"Perhaps the greatest reason for missionary work is to give the world its chance to hear and accept the Gospel." Today, President Monson teaches: “Every worthy, able young man should prepare to serve a mission." I extend this invitation to all able young man and woman to prepare to serve a mission."
If I were to receive an email like this three years ago from a missionary, I would probably just close the email, and go along with my day. But I ask you to hear me out... To at least see what I have to say about missionary work.
So there's something like 7 billion people on this earth. Of which, about 15 million are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Out of all of the people on earth, the Lord chose YOU!! to be in that 15 million. Do you recognize how blessed this circumstance is? You know how to attain eternal life! There are so many who don't know the truth, only because they know not where to find it. (D&C 123:12)
I don't believe that the Lord gave you the Gospel just so you can receive Salvation for you, and yourself... It only makes sense that He gave it to you first, so that you can share, and bring more souls unto Christ! The Lord trusted you to be in this elect group! The Lord chose you to have the Gospel, to live the Gospel, and to love the Lord, love your brothers and sisters enough to share the Gospel. He trusts you to declare repentance unto this generation (D&C 6:9, 11:9, 14:8, and 19:4)
However, serving a full-time mission comes with a price doesn't it? 2 years!!!! or 18 months!!! That can sound like an eternity for typical high school, college kids. Sacrifice of implies to do one thing at the expense of another, that is in equal, or perhaps greater in value. By serving a full-time mission, one sacrifices his time, talents, girlfriend, hangouts, cars, education, movies, music, and perhaps even gum for two years. One of the biggest question is that "Is it worth it? To give up my current lifestyle only to have doors banged in my face, only to be drenched in sweat all day, work what seems endless, only to have my precious values reviled upon?
In the Book of Mosiah, lies the answer to this question, and it's shockingly, answered very simply. It says that God always blesses us many times more than the measure of what we give.
In the Book of Matthew, it says, "And everyone that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name's sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit eternal life."
Do you see the benefit of this bargain? Nothing is neither close to being equal or greater in reward than to do the Lord's will. Anything you can be doing in those two years or 18 months pales in comparison with the reward that the Lord promises.
To those who then think... Okay, well I still don't want to serve, and there are others who are willing... They can serve, but not me...I want to bring up a time in the Savior's life when many abandoned Him, Jesus asked His twelve disciples, "Will ye also go away?" Simon Peter answered Him saying, "Lord, to whom we shall go? Thou hast the words of eternal life." There are times when we have to answer the same question... Will we also go away? Or will we, like Peter, hold fast to the words of eternal life?
To those who disregard themselves from being included in the Army of Helaman, Have you even prayed about it? With all sincerity of heart? Did you put it down on the table before the Almighty God, and asked for His direction?
You are wholly responsible for what you do and most importantly, for who you become. The destination of the next life depends on the decisions, the works done in this life.
I also want to remind you... there were things that even Christ didn't want to do.
"And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt." - Matthew 26:39
Jesus showed the supreme example that we must follow the will of the Father.
"For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of Him that sent me." - John
Jesus Christ not only came to atone for our sins, but He also came to show us the way. He is the way! You not only may become like Christ, but everything is stacked in your favor to become like Him. It is impossible to fail when we do our best when we are on the Lord's errand. He is a good Shepard. He knows His sheep, and sheep knows His voice. Today, the Lord speaks to all of His sheep through our voice. Christ gives His promise that "I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee."
If I were to read what is so far written... let's say two years ago... I would be thinking to yourself, "I already blew it... I might as well give up. If your thoughts come close to mine, cease to think that anymore... Discouragement is another tool that Satan uses to drift away saints from the right path. Recognize what the enemy of your soul is doing to you! Come back, and hold fast on the iron rod! The miracle of the Atonement can make up for our imperfections and weaknesses. Elder Holland taught, "To those of you, who may still be hanging back... I testify of the renewing power of God's love and the miracle of grace. It's never too late so long as the Master says... there is time. Don't Delay."
How to make the change:
Jesus taught, "The Kingdom of God is within you." It is in your head, and in your heart. Plant the change in your head, and your heart will follow. Confess to the Lord, "I give up. I surrender. I won't fight anymore. I only want to do what you want me to do. That's all I want, because it's the only intelligent thing to do. It doesn't take years or months for you this change to take place. We are in a constant motion of change, that is the dynamic process of life. Sometimes, people on't believe this. They excuse their weaknesses by saying, "That's just the way I am." "I just can't wake up in the morning., "I'm just a short-tempered person", "That's just who I am, and that's my nature.
To believe that weaknesses or deficiencies are unchangeable is to reject the main point of the Plan of Salvation.
Realize the full measure of your divine potential! As a child of God, we all have the potential to become like Him. There's divine potential in every one of us, and it is up to you to release your full potential! Do the things you have to do, not to please man, but to please your God! He is the Almighty Creator of all, the Ruler of the universe. Follow His will! Following His will must mean more than what we can understand with our imperfect, mortal minds. Come, join us in the work! I promise you that you will find what is precious beyond measure.
Before I close, I'd like to use the words of former Mission President, Lawrence E. Corbridge.
"Only in losing yourself, may you find yourself; only by enriching others, may you be enriched; only by giving, may you receive; only in surrendering, may you become free.
The Lord cannot have you, unless you give yourself to Him. You can't be changed against your free will. It goes against the law of agency. So ultimately, it's up to you. You cannot be changed to become more like God, but unless you choose to do so. The way of the Lord, in the end, is easier. It's easier to give yourself to Him, to surrender your will to His, than to wrestle in your heart between what you want to do, and what the Lord wants you to do. Just give it up. Surrender your will to Him. Unconditionally. Withhold nothing. Turn it all over to Him; all of your desires, wishes, dreams, and hopes. Be true and faithful in your head and in your heart, not just in your behavior. Trust Him. Trust Him who knows all things. Trust Him who has all power. Trust Him whose love for you is perfect. Trust Him, who alone suffered, paid, and atoned for your sins, and for your weaknesses as well. Trust Him that He will make of you, immeasurably more, than what you will ever, ever in all eternity, make of yourself. He will create you a masterpiece. You will create of you only a smudge. You will create an ordinary man. He will create a God."
In closing, I give you my testimony, although still a greenie missionary... I testify that this is the best decision for me in this time of life. I'm 100% content with being a missionary. I recognize that I am imperfect in every way, and have great measures to grow. I realize that I am weak, and as to my strength, I am capable of nothing. I am happy with who I am, wearing a tag that has my name next to the name of the Savior of the world. I am constantly reminded that my Heavenly Father loves me, and this work is what He wants me to do. Just , I witnessed a recent convert whom Elder Calderon and I taught bear in front of a congregation, that He knows this Church is true. I can't help but testify that Jesus is the Christ. He is our Savior, whose name I am too happy to represent. I pray that many more will heed to the call from our Master. He needs laborers to work in the vineyard. It is my greatest hope that I was able to spark a change in your heart.
I say all of these things, in the sacred name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
Noooow with some less-important things!! I haven't written a blog entry in a while, so there are a lot of photos to share!!
|Haven't had a baptism in a while... Next week and the following week is a big group coming up!!|
|This is a Duccke (sp?) a kind of lizard that is poisonous. They're everywhere around Thailand. Once they bite, they don't let go.|
|Sister Kwan is the maaaan!!|
This is a 3-part series of 1. Elder Calderon's bike tire popped at the mall. 2. Attained success on hitchhiking on the first try! 3. Free Ride, so victory pose!
|They had this animal event at the walking-street market on Saturday!!|
|Took this photo in memory of Brother Thrap (formerly Elder Thrap) who was my teacher in the Missionary Training Center. He served in Chiang-Rai two years ago!! Then Brother Succhay jumped in the photo as well!|
|This is after the third hour at church! We always have potluck lunch. The photo on the right is our baptismal font with a paper-boat.|
|Some of my favorite Thai food. You know life is good if you can eat Pad Thai for breakfast|
That is all!! I wish the best for everyone! Love you all. Much Mahalos!!
Elder Lindsey Takeuchi