Today I've officially been a full-time missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for six months. Let me tell you, it's been a crazy, wonderful six months.
As a missionary I put things like work, school, family, and relationships on hold for eighteen months. You may be wondering, why would I do such a thing? Why would I leave behind a wonderful job, all of my friends at home and school, my family, and everything to go out for eighteen months and do nothing but serve and preach the gospel? I'll tell you why. Because it's true. Because it's Christ's gospel and He has asked me to serve. Because I know that there is no other way that we can fully be happy unless we follow Christ's gospel. And let me tell you, I've never been happier doing anything in my life!
Everyday I go out and talk to people. All kinds of people. I'm meeting people that I would have never met before if I had not gone on a mission. I hear people's stories of faith and trials and joys and hardships. They tell me of how they've found Christ in their lives and I've shared many tender moments with them. As I talk to each person I feel our Heavenly Father's love for them. I'm able to love people I only talk to for a few minutes and catch a glimpse of what God sees in them. It's incredible.
There are days when I miss my old life (or at least I think I do). I'll hear people talking about the latest movie or singing to a new song or raving about a new book, and sometimes I wish that I could join with them and watch that movie or sing that song or read that book. But then I remember my purpose. Not just as a missionary, but as a Daughter of God. My purpose is to help others feel the love He has for them just as I feel it. I remember not only why I came out in the first place, but also why I choose to continue to serve.
I just want to share my testimony with you. The one I've been able to grow out here on a mission. It's not perfect, but it's mine. I know that Christ did live and die for us. I can feel it. I can feel His presence in my life and His comfort. He is helping me to make my weak things become strong. I get to see Him working on me everyday. I know that God does answer our prayers. I've never known it more then I do now. I've tried it, I've asked Him if He does. And He answered me in His own way, in His own time. I know, without a doubt, He hears every word, every complaint, that I tell Him. I know that Joseph Smith restored Christ's gospel on this Earth. How? He asked questions and God answered Him. Just like I ask questions and God answers me. I know that Joseph Smith was called of God to be a prophet in these latter days and restore not only His gospel, but His priesthood power on Earth. As I've read the Book of Mormon I've been able to gain this knowledge. I read it with an open heart, just looking for answers, looking for peace, looking for comfort, looking for direction. I've received all of these things and more as I've done so. Heavenly Father loves each and every one of us because we are His children. He wants nothing more then for us to return to Him and He's willing to do whatever it takes to get us there. Satan is real, but so is Christ. And Christ is stronger and can help us to win the war we're fighting against the adversary.
I plead with you, read the Book of Mormon. Test it out. Give it a go. We can never have too much knowledge. I promise you that if you start to read the book with an open and sincere heart that God will let you know that it's true.
I love what my mission is helping me become. It's allowing God to shape me into all I'm meant to be, and for that I am grateful. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.