Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Testimony Tuesday: The blessings of missionary service.

So I spent a lot of time reading conference talks today and watching Mormon message videos- because I got asked to teach Relief Society on Sunday... so prepare I must! So yeah, I figured no better time than the present to get ideas of what to teach :)
There are always so many wonderful things I find- be it in the scriptures, conference talks, institute, church... the list of inspiring things to learn from the gospel is endless. So I had a thought. Because I feel like I'm always having spiritual thoughts come into my head that I want to share on here. So I decided to do a "testimony Tuesday" type thing... and try to post on Tuesdays about one of those lovely spiritual things from the week. We'll see how well I do :)
But anyways... today I read many talks. But one that I liked specifically was from the October conference of 1983, titled The Blessings of Missionary Service and given by James M. Dunn. Yes, it's over a decade older than me, but the things it talks about are just as relatable to now as they were over 30 years ago. I also think it was given in the Priesthood session and was aimed at Elders going out on missions.... but again, it relates to all of us I think. Especially with all the sisters going on missions nowadays :)
I would recommend that anyone read the entire talk, because it's great. Even if you're not going on a mission or have already served. But especially if you are preparing to serve or thinking about it. Here's the link to it to make it a little easier for you :)

I just wanted to share a few of my favorite things from the talk... but again, I encourage you to read it yourself and get what you individually can from it :)

One of my favorite parts was when Elder Dunn talked of his own mission, and his experience as he performed his first baptism there. He raised his "arm to the square... saying.. "Having been commissioned of Jesus Christ, I baptize you."
"I had heard of being commissioned to paint pictures. I had heard of people being commissioned to serve as military officers. But when it occurred to me that I had been commissioned by the Savior to baptize in his sacred name for the remission of sins, I felt a rush of testimony and pride and gratitude that went through my entire soul. I knew that I was in the service of the most important master of all."

This just popped out to me. The missionaries serving now- all elders now and in the future have been commissioned to baptize in the sacred name of Christ. COMMISSIONED. I found a definition for the word that I liked.
Commission- The act of granting certain powers or the authority to carry out a particular task or duty.

granting powers. That's what sticks out to me at least- that the Lord is granting his priesthood power to these boys so they might baptize people as new members of his church. They are doing so by the power, the commission of God. Pretty powerful I thought. What could be more powerful than the power of God? Missionaries... how could you ever doubt your ability to serve? You have the POWER of God on your side.

I won't be performing actual baptisms as a sister missionary, but I can be "commissioned" by the Savior to serve as a missionary of his church. I will be called as a missionary to teach the gospel and convert others as well as myself. :)

Another thing I loved:
"No missionary that ever lived failed to influence the lives of many for the better REGARDLESS OF THE NUMBER OF CONVERTS he may have gained."
I feel like it's sometimes hard for missionaries to not measure their success by number of investigators or baptisms during their missions. But I honestly believe that a missionary can have a successful missionary even if they have no baptisms at all. At a fireside the other day a returned sister missionary explained that she was her most important convert. A mission doesn't only work to convert others, but to also more fully convert oneself. Regardless of the number of converts, every dedicated missionary will touch the lives of so many people. That I'm sure of :)

There were just so many wonderful things I loved in this talk. Here are a few more...

"With respect to his personal challenges, every missionary will tell you, as I tell you now, that as he presses on and exercises his faith there comes the most extraordinary spiritual sensation: a flow of confidence, courage and power to overcome, a knowledge that God is WITH HIM and that he CANNOT FAIL with God on his side-- regardless of the nature of the problem or even the results."
-- God is with us through all our difficulties faced as a missionary as well as throughout life in general. He will not leave us alone. He is ALWAYS there to support and strengthen.... especially when we are in his service :) He can give us the confidence, courage, and power to overcome.

"It has been my experience that while serving full time as a missionary I have felt more energized, more enthusiastic, more optimistic, and more confident in doing what I was doing than in ANY OTHER THING I've done in my life."
-- I want to feel that enthusiasm, optimism, and confidence. I want to experience the joy that I know comes from bringing others unto Christ. Especially after going to Sarah's baptism on Saturday I can't wait to be one of those who gets to teach and bring people to the gospel.

In speaking about one converted family, Elder Dunn mentioned large red letters on the living room wall, translating to "And I Third."
"Well, I figure it this way. God is first. My family and others come second. And I am third."
-- This is something I'm sure we all could remember more. And I AM THIRD. We place God above everything else in our lives- above possessions, friends, even our families. And our families above everything else. Only then can we begin to think of ourselves. What an example of selflessness and humility.



And lastly...
"Above all the benefits and blessings of missionary service that come into the life of a missionary-- and that which brings unparalleled PEACE AND COMFORT to the soul- is the TESTIMONY which comes to him, perhaps not all at once, perhaps line upon line."
I know that a missionary who truly dedicates him or herself to serving the Lord as a missionary will experience amazing growth and spiritual brightness. But there are also missionaries who can choose to simply go through the motions. Only be there because of whatever reason. But I hope more than anything else to more fully convert myself as a missionary. If I have no baptisms or reactivation, I hope that I might at least come home knowing that I have gained a greater testimony and increased the presence of Christ in my own life.

So basically, this makes me excited to serve. Lots of things have been doing that for me lately. I'm getting so eager for when I finally submit my papers... what a wonderful day that will be when I get to go out and serve as a full time missionary! :) The gospel is true and I love it.

Oh, and just for kicks and giggles, here's another link to 50 General Conference Talks on Missionary Work. I haven't had the chance to read any of them yet, but I'm sure they're just ggrrreeat! So I thought I'd share that too :)

So cheers to missionaries and the wonderful work of serving the Lord and converting others to his gospel :) And to hopefully a new tradition of "Testimony Tuesdays".... we'll see :)

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