Dear Missionaries of the California Santa Rosa Miss
The opportunity to write this letter is an answer to a prayer that I offered to Heavenly Father. I prayed that He would allow me to experience closure to my missionary service and that He would give me the assurance that the sacrifice that I offered to Him on my mission has been accepted. This letter has given me a chance to reflect on all that has transpired during the past two years, thus, giving the Holy Spirit opportunity to grant closure and to give assurance to me. So, for that reason I am grateful to get to share how much my mission has meant to me. I pray that in the process the Holy Spirit can give you the direction, motivation, and confidence needed to exercise greater faith during the remainder of your time spent as a missionary.
I am so grateful for my mission. For those of you who don’t know me, I never thought once that I would ever serve as a missionary. It was never a desire that I had. However, there came a time when I sought forgiveness from the Lord and through sincere and lasting repentance I was able to receive a remission of my sins. From that time forward there grew within me an intense desire to serve my God. The love that I felt from the mercy that was extended toward me created a burning in my Spirit to give my life to Him. Over time I submitted my papers and eagerly accepted this call from Heaven to serve in the California Santa Rosa Mission full time for two years. Each of you has similarly been called away from the world to devote yourself full-time to the work of Salvation for two years or 18 months. Thank you for accepting that call. Thank you for leaving your old life behind to come here and help others taste the mercy made available through Jesus Christ. We are all yoked with Him in His work.
As I said earlier I have wanted to know from God if my sacrifice has been accepted. As I’ve pondered on this I’ve come to recognize that in reality, the time we spend in the field is very short. Compared to the average lifespan 18 to 24 months is a small fraction of our mortal probation. Therefore, our sacrifice in time is not the real sacrifice at all. As we learned from President Alba last Zone Conference the Lord wants ALL of us. Thus, I can know that my sacrifice was enough if I have given Him my all. I have done my best to do just that and I have felt the assurance that God has accepted my sacrifice. There is no sweeter feeling. With that being said, now that you’re on your mission, see that you serve full-time too. Don’t just punch your time card beginning with your ordination and ending with your release. Set yourself apart and perform the labors that God mercifully (and might I add confidently) called you out of the world to perform. During my mission I’ve strived tirelessly every day to do just the same. Since God promises me all that He has I have wanted only to give Him all that I have. This promise has been assured to me through the Holy Spirit as I have repented each day. All of us must be clean to gain the faith necessary to sacrifice all that we have and to endure that sacrifice. I know that I was only able to serve with all of my heart because Christ first gave me a new heart when I prayed to him to have mercy on me. I challenge all of you to do the same and gain a hope of eternal life. From personal experience I know that as we each do so we gain spiritual power and our desire to serve God increases.
Another thing that has motivated me throughout my mission to give my all has been this invitation and promise: “O ye that embark in the service of God, see that ye serve him with all your heart, might, mind, and strength, that ye may stand blameless before God at the last day.” (D&C 4:2) Through this scripture I learned that God did not call me on a mission to just be in the mission field, He called me to lay down my life to Him. He trusted in me to serve with a focus and drive that consumed all of my physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual being. The promise of being blameless has allowed me to continue to act and serve in this manner. As I now look back on my missionary service I am grateful for the opportunity to give myself to God and for the promise that I have to stand blameless in front of Him. I know that I have not been a perfect missionary every second of my mission, and I know that I won’t be a perfect person when I return home from my mission so that promise is comforting to me. The promise was definitely worth the sacrifice. Going home, it feels good to know that I gave Him my will while in the field. This will help me to now keep my will with Him for the rest of my life because I now know that I can trust in Him to fulfill His promises. I now know through personal experience that it’s worth the sacrifice.
There has been a part of me on my mission that has been consumed by the Lord because I didn’t just serve time. He has taken the weak parts of my nature and has perfected them. The carnal and devilish urges of my flesh have been overcome by the blood of Jesus Christ. My only desire is to please God and to raise a family to Him. To me, this is sanctification. It is the process of becoming like God. It is a process that requires us to lay the animal in us to be sacrificed. I can think of no greater vehicle to do this than the mission. For this reason, I have done my best to not waste time here. Instead I have wasted away my life in His service. As I have taken advantage of this time I’ve become happier and the more divine part of my nature has come out. The path to eternal life has become much clearer and I am more confident in pursuing it. These habits I’ve developed on my mission will shape my future role in Christ’s Church and my ability to endure to the end. What a great privilege and blessing this has been. I hope that each of you strives to make the most of your mission. Make the necessary sacrifice to stand blameless before God. Allow your regrets to be consumed by the miracle of forgiveness and lay your will at the altar. I bear my testimony that service like this brings great joy and builds strength of character. I know that it solidifies our course and will provide us with strength to endure in our faith in Christ until the end of our lives. Jesus Christ lives and will sustain us in our efforts to follow Him because His greatest desire is for us to return with Him to the Kingdom of our Father. The mission not only allows us to bring others to His kingdom but it helps us to develop a pattern of gospel living that will enable us to receive eternal life. It has done so for me.
Good luck in your service Elders and Sisters.