This week I have pondered a great deal about missionaries and the challenges that they face. Having the young missionaries serve is incredibly inspired. We get to see them when they first arrive. They are so young and untried. Some have that new missionary zeal that makes them ready to conquer the world. Others are nervous, some insecure about their language, some insecure about their gospel knowledge, some insecure about their own testimonies. Those insecurities get challenged on a mission. These young people learn to stand on their own. They learn to believe in themselves and in Heavenly Father. They overcome in order to serve.
And serve, they do. I have seen them go out in a rainstorm that was so bad that Elder Dixon's suit got soaked just running to get an umbrella from the car. I have seen them work when they were tired, hungry, discouraged, even sick. Recently, our young Brazilians have been switching out of the Branch in order to have more experiences and improve their English. So, now I have been able to see the difference as they return.
We have also seen many of them when they leave after serving a valiant mission. They are older, spiritually and chronologically. They have a maturity that is notable. They value things that they did not before. Most leave with the greatest gift of all- the knowledge that they did their best and a testimony forged in the fires of trials.
As the Prophet Alma said:
“Now ye may suppose that this is foolishness in me; but behold I say unto you, that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass; and small means in many instances doth confound the wise.
“And the Lord God doth work by means to bring about his great and eternal purposes; and by very small means the Lord doth confound the wise and bringeth about the salvation of many souls” (Alma 37:6–7).
Some mission assignments are more challenging than others. In some assignments, the missionaries are doing a lot of sowing of seeds, but seeing little in the way of harvest. In others, thing are really going well. Many people, even entire families, are coming into the church. We receive a lot of guides and helps in ways to try to reach the people. But, sometimes, missionaries are there to warn a people who have grown so hard in their hearts that they are unwilling to be taught. We see a lot of those. There are people who even advise others not to pray about our message.
When it happens, I just have to remind myself of the lies and mistreatment our Savior endured. People called him names and denied that He was the Savior. He simply continued to quietly serve them. Some recognized He was the Savior, but were unwilling to follow because of worldly riches, titles, or peer pressure. Some followed and were subjected to abuse themselves. Still, He never stopped trying. And that is the message for all of us. We cannot stop trying. There may be one who is willing to listen and receive the greatest message ever. We just need to find them.
The church is going to have a great social media program for Easter. It is #BecauseHeLives. One of the benefits of a mission- we got to see it already!
Last week was a little slow, but this coming week will be busy. I am glad. I like to be busy. It feels more like I am doing something good.