Today there are over 74,000 full time missionaries serving in more than 400 missions throughout the world. (mormonnewsroom.org)
The Lord is hastening His work as never before.
One of the greatest blessings of my life has been that of being a missionary. I loved my mission, where I served, the companions I served with, and the people I met. I love missionaries and I love missionary work.
I especially love sister missionaries. I am related to some, friends with others, have served in the trenches with several, and have taught many. I am thankful for the wonderful sister missionaries that have blessed my life.
Being a missionary is not easy. It takes a lot of work and personal sacrifice. There are days that can be hard and overwhelming.
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland said,
“I am convinced that missionary work is not easy because salvation is not a cheap experience. Salvation never was easy. We are The Church of Jesus Christ, this is the truth, and He is our Great Eternal Head. How could we believe it would be easy for us when it was never, ever easy for Him? It seems to me that missionaries and mission leaders have to spend at least a few moments in Gethsemane. Missionaries and mission leaders have to take at least a step or two toward the summit of Calvary.”
“Now, please don’t misunderstand. I’m not talking about anything anywhere near what Christ experienced. That would be presumptuous and sacrilegious. But I believe that missionaries and investigators, to come to the truth, to come to salvation, to know something of this price that has been paid, will have to pay a token of that same price.”
“For that reason I don’t believe missionary work has ever been easy, nor that conversion is, nor that retention is, nor that continued faithfulness is. I believe it is supposed to require some effort, something from the depths of our soul.” (Elder Holland, Missionary Work and the Atonement)
When I left on my mission, my sister, who had served a mission in Japan, wrote a letter to me about what it takes to be a missionary. She knew the price that had to be paid, because she had paid it as a missionary herself.
Although this is a personal letter to me, I’m sharing it publicly, because for anyone who has been a missionary, you will understand. And for anyone considering serving a mission, you will see what it will take to be a sister missionary.
To My Sister, the Sister Missionary –
“It is exciting for me to see how many wonderful young women are choosing to serve missions. I’ve been blessed to be a sister missionary and I’ve been blessed to work with many other sister missionaries.
It takes more than a mission call to become a “real” sister missionary.
Not just anybody can do it, but I believe that Jenny has what it takes, and I wish for her the kind of mission that will show her how to become a “real” sister missionary.
Jenny, I hope you feel the powerful spirit of the Missionary Training Center as you struggle hour after hour to study the gospel and learn to teach the gospel in Spanish.
I hope you feel the frustration of trying to bear your testimony in Spanish but not knowing enough Spanish words to say what’s really in your heart.
I hope you feel the Spirit whispering Spanish words to you in an important lesson with a special family.
I hope you feel and appreciate the courage it takes to approach someone on the street or in a subway or on a bus and interrupt their busy life to ask them about their beliefs and to tell them about yours.
I hope you often feel the humble, sweet spirit that comes as your investigators kneel and pray for the first time.
I hope you have a difficult companion who makes you struggle and grow as you try to work together.
I hope you have an “awesome” companion who becomes your best friend, whom you work great with, and who cries with you when you get transferred.
I hope you have days when all you do is knock on one door after another.
I hope you have to ride rusty bikes in your best dress.
I hope you learn what it’s like to scream at the wind, rain, and snow that won’t quit.
I hope you learn what it’s like to stand at the door of a Jehovah’s Witness and bear your testimony of Joseph Smith and The Book of Mormon while she quotes scriptures and attacks you with things and words you can’t understand.
I hope you feel the power of the spirit as people believe when you testify of the Savior’s love for them.
I hope you feel the disappointment of a family you thought was “golden” telling you they don’t want you to come any more.
I hope you experience the joy of the hugs that come from someone wet from the waters of baptism.
I hope you learn what it’s like to sit in a stake conference and listen to a young woman you found and taught bear her testimony.
I hope there are times you feel utterly alone and inadequate as you walk the streets of Toronto.
I hope you feel the unconditional love, strength, and support that come from your family at home—and from your heavenly home as well.
I hope that in a year and a half, you can stand at this pulpit and realize that there are no words that can ever describe what your mission means to you. But you’ll know and that’s the important thing.
I hope that you can stand here and feel the great peace that comes from diligently and faithfully serving a mission.
I hope all these things happen to you, because THEN you’ll be a “real” sister missionary.
I testify to you, Jen, that you are called as a missionary by the Lord through His prophet. It is His work you will be doing, and you are entitled to all of His power and strength and peace as you serve Him.” – Shari
I was blessed to experience each of these things as a missionary. I am eternally thankful for the experiences I had and that I had the opportunity and blessing of being a sister missionary.