The story of my son and his mission service is a little like Paul or Alma. As a young teen he became disenchanted with the church and the gospel of Jesus Christ. He did not attend church for many years. It grieved my soul. However, when I would pray about what i could do, a voice would whisper deep in my heart, “It’s okay. I’ve got this. He was mine before he was yours.” So no matter his mood I would do my best to love him and invite him and support him…
Then came the day when he ask for some money to buy church clothes (he was leaving hints around so we knew he was toying with his return and his faith and testimony were growing). He had been chatting with a couple of his good friends, one who was on a mission and was able to do missionary discussions over Skype. He had been reading the Book of Mormon. He was attending a single’s ward. As his faith and testimony grew, we got phone calls inviting us to witness priesthood ordinations. Finally, came the mission papers. It all felt a little unreal. When the voice said, “I got this.” I believed it. I just didn’t think it would happen when and how it did. I am so grateful!
He left for his mission just before Christmas. He went to the Lansing Michigan Mission. I know it was hard for him. He had made so many life changes so quickly. I worried. How was he really doing? Was the gospel making him bold? Was he continuing to feel nervous? Missions are hard. Every missionary faces difficulty and moments of, “What the heck am I doing?!” I knew that he needed to summon every ounce of courage and goodness that he had within himself to keep going and to spread the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ. The Atonement of Christ is the only thing that can heal the deepest of wounds, sin, despair, and darkness. He was living proof. He was sharing this message with others.
You sacrifice a ton on a mission. I would think that one of the hardest things to sacrifice is not being able to see or talk to your family very often while serving. My son was close to his sisters. It must have been hard. To compensate, he sent home recordings of his week. He is the greatest story teller. He remembers so many details! We would send him emails and snail mail. On Mother’s Day and Christmas Day he would Skype the family. Those calls were too short!
He seemed to focus on less-active members, part member families, and recent converts. He knocked on a million doors. The work was hard.
It was worth it. What I have learned from my son’s service is this:
My testimony of Christ is strengthened. Jesus Christ is the Son of God. He suffered for each of us because He LOVES us. It doesn’t matter how many times we fall, He will reach out His hand and pick us up so that we can keep moving forward. Oh the great blessing of His GRACE! The Atonement of Christ sets us free now and in the eternities. We are free to choose… eternal life or great sadness and despair. I choose to keep commandments… to keep moving forward… I choose to have faith… I choose to believe and to press forward with a steadfastness in Christ. When we choose to turn our hearts to Christ and to give Him everything we have, to put our whole soul on the alter before Him, He will make us whole. He will cleanse us from addiction or sadness or sin.
“And now, my beloved brethren, I would that ye should come unto Christ, who is the Holy One of Israel, and partake of his salvation, and the power of his redemption. Yea, come unto him, and offer your whole souls as an offering unto him, and continue in fasting and praying, and endure to the end; and as the Lord liveth ye will be saved.”
Conversion is a life long process. It is something we pray about… something we work for… something we are blessed with. Christ heals!
My son has great memories and has learned tons. He is a new man.
My heart is full. God is good. Miracles happen. “I got this.” And He did.
“You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased” (Mark 1:11).