Dear Elders and Sisters,
To start off my letter let me share with you a piece of an Liahona article my mother sent to me this last week. It has forever made an impression on my heart and the work of the Lord in my mission. As I opened my letter my mother wrote a small note telling me she loved me and maybe this article would help another missionary! It was written by Jacob F. Frandsen;
"A few weeks into my mission, I began to feel lonely and a bit homesick. I loved being a missionary, but the work was much harder than I had anticipated. I missed my friends, my family, and all the familiar things I’d left back home. During my personal study one morning, I sat quietly, turning my missionary name tag over and over in my hands, thinking about how I longed for familiarity. I wished I could just hear somebody call me by my first name.
"As I looked at my name tag, I noticed that although my first name was absent from the tag, I saw my family name, the name of the Church, and the name of the Savior printed on it. Suddenly I recognized something that changed both my outlook and my attitude. I realized that as a missionary I wasn’t there to represent myself. Instead I was serving to represent my family back home and, most important, I was representing my Savior and His Church. I put the name tag on my shirt pocket, right over my heart. As I did so, I promised my Savior that I would more fully give Him a place in my heart and mind.
"I didn’t miss hearing my first name after that morning. From then on I worked and served the best I could, proudly wearing my name tag every day. During the times I began to feel discouraged, I looked at my name tag, and it reminded me of my responsibility to follow Jesus Christ’s example."
I remember my first couple of weeks, even months serving as a new missionary, being worried, and not knowing what I needed to do. Although those hardships, struggles and weaknesses at times took a toll on myself, I know it moved me to the place I needed to be. Jesus Christ will put times in our lives of pressure, stress, weakness and falling, for us to learn and grow. Our missions aren't easy or in other words; "the mission doesn't come with an easy button", we all struggle with something, but our weaknesses can and will become strengths if we direct our course to our Lord and Savior (Ether 12:27).
Take a moment in the next week or so to grip your tag in your hands and ponder the reasons you are here (Write them down) ! Just as Brother Frandsen did ponder why your first name isn't on your tag, why your family name is there, and how you represent the Lord our Master. Think about your family, not only the family that you have now, but your future family! Are you the missionary they would expect? Are you becoming who they need? A responsible father or mother? Do you always give your sacrifice to the Lord and strive to be better? Answer these questions in your journal and write your feelings.
Elder Quentin L. Cook
"Missionary work is not just one of the 88 keys on a piano that is occasionally played; it is a major chord in a compelling melody that needs to be played continuously throughout our lives if we are to remain in harmony with our commitment to the gospel of Jesus Christ."
One observation I have noticed on my mission, when there is a vision in mind your work will move upward and onward! On the Preach My Gospel DvD District 2, episode 3 all of the missionaries in this particular episode are real. Real with their challenges, real with their investigators, real with their success. They love their missions. I believe their happiness started with some kind of vision of who they wanted to be and what they would do to accomplish the goals they've set. "Set goals and make plans". We must have a vision of our people preparing themselves for baptism, temple work, and eternal families.
"The reality is we are changing lives. We are messengers of truth. We are spiritual guides here to guide our brothers and sisters on their journey back to our loving Heavenly Father. Please do not be the contributor to the "uniqueness" of your area. Do not let your attitude be what slows the work. Do not allow feelings of self-pity, or a lack of investment to burden you down. Repent, and 'Bloom wherever you are planted!' "
Take the name of Christ and bolt it, wire it, weld it and leave it right next to your hearts forever! WE ARE FOREVER MISSIONARIES! Teach people the message of truth that will reach every clime, visit ever nation, and voice every ear. Proclaim glad tidings of great joy! Reach out in love to invite all to follow Jesus Christ our Eternal Messiah who is and will be forever and ever our Savior. I invite all of you to put on your tag and always remember the names you carry!!
I love you all so much,