When contemplating my first post I kept thinking about the letter I wrote before I left for my mission. It gives greater clarity into what it is that I do as a missionary and why I, personally, have chosen to dedicate 18 months of my life to this great work...
19 year old boys that are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (or Mormons) are expected to serve a full-time mission for 2 years. Girls do not have the same obligation but are still given the opportunity to serve at the age of 21. I feel as if I have been waiting for my 21st birthday forever. The desire to serve a mission fills my entire being - it feels as if it reaches through every vein even to the tip of each toe. I can not look at all the blessings of my life, the overwhelming truth of the atonement, the relationship that I have with my Heavenly Father, and the blessings that come through my Savior Jesus Christ and sit still knowing that there is work to be done. After everything the Lord has done for me, how can I not give 18months of my life completely to Him?
When I know that there are people in the world that do not understand that they are children of God, that Jesus Christ suffered and died that they might be redeemed, that the gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored once again to this earth, that they can kneel down and pray to their Heavenly Father knowing that He loves and understands them - or in other words that there are people that do not understand who they truly are, why they are here, and where they are going - or in other words that there are people that do not feel truly happy and truly peaceful - I must get up and help them find the peace and happiness that they seek. I must help Heavenly Father's children return to Him. I must help in the cause of Christ. So I guess my one sentence answer to this loaded question would be - I am serving a mission because of the deep love and gratitude I have for my Savior, and the love and concern that I feel for Heavenly Father's children. I recognize that the Lord has a need for service in His work. I prepare myself, pack my suitcase, and stand before Him; Here am I, send me.
I know that Jesus Christ is my Savior and Redeemer - that the atonement is real and makes it possible for us to continue in our quest to be more like Him. I know that I am a daughter of God. That my Heavenly Father knows and loves me - that He hears and answers prayers. I know that true and lasting happiness comes from living in accordance with the gospel of Jesus Christ - the message of Christ, the message I bring is a message of happiness and a message of family. I am so grateful for the truths that I know through the assurance and peace of the Holy Ghost - that Heavenly Father provided a plan for us to be happy and to be with our families for eternity. He provided a Savior for us as a way to return to Him. I wish I had the words to express my love and gratitude for all of these truths. I believe in a God that loves - and therefore a God that continues to speak. He has not left us to wander on our own - He continues to speak to us this day through latter-day prophets. I know with my whole heart and soul that Christ has restored His gospel yet again on the earth through His prophet Joseph Smith and blessed us with another testament of Him through The Book of Mormon. Studying The Book of Mormon alongside The Bible, and striving to live a Christ-like life has helped me come to know Him in a way that is so personal and sacred to me. I challenge you all to assess the role of Christ in your life and work to strengthen your discipleship. I challenge you to get down on your knees and talk with your Heavenly Father and feel of His concern and love for you. I challenge you to work harder to be the person the Lord needs you to be. I, too, take this challenge.
I know all of these things to be true and that is why I go. I work to bring the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ to those who seek joy and peace. I strive to aid Christ in His mission to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man. I stand as a witness of the healing powers of the atonement. I know that He lives.
"And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell:
but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord" (Joshua 24:15)