Try reading it in my voice. :)
I want to start with why I am going on a mission. I am not going because I have a duty or a requirement. I am not going because any of my friends or my family members asked me to. I am not going because I feel obligated or pressured. I am not going just because I am 19 and now I can. I am going because of my love for my Father in Heaven. I am serving a mission because I prayed about it and I know that it is the right thing for me right now. I know that it is the best way for me to share the happiness of the gospel with others. I am grateful for the opportunity. I am excited that I get the chance at such a young age. I am excited to make the sacrifices and receive the blessings. I am nervous, of course, because I am going to another part of the country, a part I’ve never been to, to spend a year and a half telling people who don’t know me about the thing that I hold closest to my heart. I a, prepared for the rough days, and I already know they’ll be harder than I think. I know in my mind and my heart it would be selfish of me not to go. There are people there who need to hear what I have to say in the words only I can use. I am so lucky to have the trust I have from the Savior and my Heavenly Father to be able to preach their words. I have not always been the type to wear my religion on my sleeve, but now I literally do that. I am beyond… words. I am just pumped. And I intend not to lose this vigor.
I had been thinking after graduation last June, as all of us do, about what steps I wanted to take in which direction. I was prayerfully deciding what to do with my life. I had thought about plenty of different schools, services missions, singing options, a mission, even service missions. I had considered just staying home and continuing to be a full-time nanny. I love/d my job. In February of last year I made a “final” decision to attend BYU-I and made plans to visit the campus in March, audition for the music department, look at apartments, etc. I went and had an AMAZING time with the Carstens. I saw a lot of my friends, and the town felt just right for me. I had pictured my self in a singles ward, living in an apartment, all that cool stuff but never as a student. Not saying it was wrong, just wrong at the time.
Right after graduation I was asked if I wanted to serve a mission for my church. “Oh, that wouldn’t be for at least another 3 years,” I replied. “What if you had to pick RIGHT NOW?” She asked.
THAT made me think. I just teased “Just give me time to pack.”
The question came up several times in the next couple weeks but honestly I thought nothing into it. “Sure,” was my general attitude. Then I went to EFY in the very beginning of August. One (HOT) day we made a mile trek up to the temple to sit on the grounds for our morning scripture study. For the time at the end the boys split up from us and went around to the other side with the female counselors. We, girls, stayed and got to talk with Marcus, the male EFY counselor, who, was of course a returned missionary. We were told “Ask me, a guy, anything.” Of course hands SHOT up about dating and marriage and what goes on in the ever confusing mind of a boy. After an awkward pause I raised my hand and asked “What was the best part of your mission?” His yes just lit up. He spoke so highly of his mission. I was so impressed by his words and his radiating testimony that I promised myself in that second that I would have that one day. Walking back to the cafeteria Marcus asked me “If you could go on a mission today, would you?”
“Just give me time to pack,” I felt myself instinctively say. But this time it was different. This time I meant it.
The announcement was made in the 2012 October general conference. Thomas S Monson’s words rang true to my heart and I knew he was speaking to me. I did the math (still being 18) as to when I could submit my papers. 126 days. OR SIX days before I could turn in my papers. I called this bishop THAT night and told him of my desire. I don’t think he was surprised. And he answered the phone even though I’m pretty sure he was in a different time zone. Because of medical stuff, my papers went in the week of Christmas. I FINALLY got my call on January 26th and I report March 6th to the Provo Missionary Training Center before I head into the field. I have been called to serve in the Nevada Las Vegas Mission and I only have TEN day! I can’t even believe I get set apart a week from today. I AM GOING TO BE A MISSIONARY!!!
However we ALL have been called to serve. Jesus explained “Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them. But it shall be not so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him e your minister; and whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give His life.” (Matthew 20:25-28) True greatness can be measured by your service ability. Jesus expects us to give our lives also: “greater love hath no man than this, which a man lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13)Laying down our life does not mean dying, it means living for them. It is being willing to sacrifice our time and efforts for them. In order to bless their lives. We often think that the greatest among us are those who are presidents, directors, CEOs, and others who hold such titles of leadership. Christ, on the other hand, said “I am among you that serveth.” (John 22:27) If those who are leaders ware truly serving as leaders, they are great, according to the Lord’s definition of greatness.
“Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever shall lose his life for my sake shall find it.” (Matthew 16:24-25) Losing ourselves in the service of others is serving God. There is a short poem that reads:
I sough my God, but my God I could not see;
I sought myself, but my soul eluded me;
I sought my brother, and I found all three.
Losing ourselves in the service of God and his children results in greater blessings. “If any man serve me, him will my Father honour.” (John 12:26) Here are some examples of men who gave their lives in the service to Jesus during his life time: James and John, sons of Zebedee, “forsook all, and followed him. (Luke 5:11) Matthew Levi “left all, rose up, and followed him.” (Luke 5:28)
A certain ruler asked Him (Jesus) saying “Good Master, what should I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus reviewed with him the basic commandments that had been around for centuries. “And he (the ruler) said, All these have I kept from my youth up. Now when Jesus heard these things he said unto Him, Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven and come, follow me.”(Luke 18:18, 21-22) Treasures in Heaven are far grander than any accumulated treasures on Earth. This rich ruler may have had much potential. This rich ruler may have had such potential. Who knows? Maybe he could have become a leader in Christ’s church. But he apparently declined Jesus’ invitation to sacrifice and serve. On the other hand, Peter announced, “Lo, we have left all and followed thee. And Jesus said unto them, there is no man that hath left house, or parents, or brethren, or wife, or children, for the kingdom of God’s sake who shall not receive manifold more in this present time, and in the world to come life everlasting.” (Luke 18: 28-30)
There is no way to get the God of Heaven in our debt. He is the prolific paymaster, the abundant rewarder of whoever does good. Latter-day Saint gospel scholar Andrew Skinner described God’s offer in this way: “The magnitude of the promise is incomprehensible and the unevenness of the offer staggering: everything we possess in exchange for everything God possesses.”
But her is a word of caution. It is possible to lose ourselves in the service of other for the wrong motive, such as just to secure earthly and heavenly reward.
In the Book titled Happy Like Jesus, the author, D. Kelly Odgen, tells a story that illustrates this: “A man called me at my office at Brigham Young University three times in two days concerned about choseness- about having one’s calling and election made sure. He said he had been studying the matter for years and was confused and worried. After talking with him for some time, I sensed he was excessively preoccupied with this one doctrine and shared with him something I recalled while reading in The Words of Joseph Smith. It was an entry Williard Richards, who copied into what he called his Pocket Companion the notes others had made of Joseph Smith’s sermons. In an address sometimes because August 8th, 1839, referring to John 14:23, the prophet commented on the elevated concepts of the Father and the Son abiding with a righteous person, and about perfection, the Holy Spirit of Promise, and being sealed up to eternal life. An endnote says:
“As Joseph Smith here defines it, making one’s calling and election sure, it is the crowning achievement of a life of righteous devotion. However, the prophet (Joseph) apparently senses that if his concept is too commonly taught it could easily generate within the Church a misguided devotion to a principle that could divert the Saints’ energy from the equally important principle of selfless devotion to others. Seeking blessings for one’s self is contrary to the principle that ‘He that loses his life for my sake shall find it. ‘ (Matthew 10:39)”
At one of the most sacred occasions of his mortal ministry, Jesus spoke these poignant words to his best friends, to whom he was about to leave the leadership of his kingdom: “Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so am I. If I then, your Lord and master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done for you. Verily, verily, I say unto you, the servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater then he that sent him.” (John 13:13-16)
As Eli said, when you have a testimony you have an obligation to share it. You have been called to serve, which means give and give and give. “In fact, if you are not happy,” D. Kelly Odgen writes further in his book, “ you are not serving others. Your assignment it to change lives, and because your exposure to each passing person in life is often brief, it is wise to touch them quickly and deeply. During your early years on earth you had parents, teachers, leaders and older friends and relatives whose duty was to create a spiritual atmosphere for others. You are now called to be continually seviceable like them—like Jesus”
In the gospel principals manual it say “We do not need to know the people we serve. We should look for ways to serve as many of our Heavenly father’s children as we can.”
How can having a testimony help us serve others? A quote by Dallin H Oaks says “We all act upon or give obedience to knowledge. Whether in science or religion, our obedience is not blind when we act upon knowledge suited to the subject of our action. A scientist receives and acts upon a trusted certification of the content or conditions of a particular experiment. In matters of religion, a believer’s source of knowledge is spiritual, but the principle is the same. In the case of the Latter-day Saint, when the Holy Ghost gives our souls a witness of the truth of the restored gospel and the calling of a modern prophet, our choice to follow those teachings is not blind obedience.”
As I have a testimony, I have decided to share that with the people that the Lord has prepared for me.
I am getting set apart in one hour. My mom will be posting for me. But if you want to write me, here is my address in the field:
Sister Molly Fields
Nevada Las Vegas Mission
9270 South Maryland Parkway
Las Vegas, Nevada 89123
God be with you 'til we meet again.