The Blessings of a Mission Tour

We had the powerful experience of spending three days with our missionaries and Elder and Sister Pearson of the First Quorum of Seventy. Elder Pearson is the Pacific Area President. They met with our missionaries, provided training for them and for us, assessed the spiritual strength of the mission, and lifted every one of us. It is an experience that I will treasure. There are so many blessing that come from serving a mission; this one, however, doesn't come very often. The combination of being set apart from the world to do His work and the spirit they carried brought about remarkable learning and growth for all of us.

I could share their teachings every day between now and the end of the year and not cover everything. Sister Pearson helped us understand that becoming a powerful missionary is very different than acting like one. She gave us some assignments to help us become. She asked us to be willingly obedient; this is how we will find success. She asked us to read the Joseph Smith Story once a week for a month and apply his experiences to our own lives. I invite you to do the same.

Elder Pearson explained that as we come to understand our identity, it changes everything we think and do. Ultimately, our reality is shaped by our identity. We act based upon our beliefs and who we understand we are. As we come to know that we are all children of our Heavenly Father, it reshapes our reality. As His children, we will want to pray to Him and to follow Him. Our actions always align with our identity. The first thing that missionaries teach new investigators is they have a loving Heavenly Father who wants to bless their lives. For many, this knowledge alone brings a great desire to change.

Nephi states, "I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, I have been called of him to declare his word among his people, that they might have everlasting life." Elder Pearson asked us if we were missionaries who used to be something else or were we still our old selves on a mission. As His disciples, what must we let go? He asked us to fill in the following statement: "Because I am a disciple of Jesus Christ I am no longer . . .." He gave some examples like lazy, disobedient, afraid, homesick. After we had considered that statement, he asked us to finish this one: "Because I am a disciple of Jesus Christ I . . .."

It was enlightening and somewhat troubling as I searched my heart. Am I truly a disciple? Am I acting like a great missionary or becoming a great missionary? Elder Pearson counseled us that the most important decision we have to make is will we become a disciple of the Lord, Jesus Christ. As each of us considers if we are His disciples, we have to consider what is holding us back. Is it our lack of obedience? Is it our pride? Is it being selfish with our time? Is it fear? Is it doubt? Not everyone can be a missionary, but each of us can be the Savior's disciple. I invite you to search your heart. Are you a disciple? What do you need to let go? What do you need to change? The hastening of His work involves so much more than missionary work. He needs strong disciples raising strong families. He needs strong leaders prepared to support the people who will flock to the Church as the last haven of safety. He needs us, every single one of us.

Elder Pearson reminded us that disciples carry as their motto, "I never give in. I never give up. I never give out." I want to be that kind of disciple. I want to "stand blameless" at the last day. I want to stand shoulder to shoulder with each of these wonderful missionaries knowing that we never gave in, never gave up, and never gave out!

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