Mission calls: it’s about bringing people to Christ, not the geography

Mission calls: it’s about bringing people to Christ, not the geography

Mission calls: it’s about bringing people to Christ, not the geography

(Source: Segullah; By: Michelle L.)

Rachel bounded to the front of the chapel and nearly skipped to the podium. Leaning close to the mic she said, “I have the most fantastic news ever! I’ve just been called to the Detroit, Michigan mission.” She raised both hands in the air in a victory pose, “And I am SO EXCITED. I can’t wait to serve the people of Michigan and I can’t wait to testify of Jesus Christ. I know I’ve been called there for a reason, I know the Lord loves me and I can’t wait to tell everyone how much He loves them too.” With a fist punch, she left the podium and returned to her seat. We live in a pretty reserved ward, but I’m sure I heard a few “Hallelujahs” as she walked down the aisle.

Despite Rachel’s enthusiasm, she later told me many people expressed sympathy about her call– “Detroit? Really? I’m so sorry.”

Another friend told me she was thrilled when she opened her mission call to South Dakota, but the teasing from her classmates in the BYU dorms left her in tears by the end of the evening. It made me recall a darling Elder whose girlfriend said, “I could never marry someone who went to South Dakota on a mission.” She was joking, but the words still stung. May I just say?– two of the finest young men I know are serving in South Dakota right now. And one of the smartest boys I know, with the most innate language abilities was just called to Spokane, WA, English speaking.

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  1. This kind of missionary experience is part of the learning process of gaining an eternal perspective. That we or others struggle with a missionary call or any calling is an opportunity for growth. It is not a shame to struggle, it is a shame to not learn from the struggle.
    Upon returning from a mission to the Navajo people, I resumed my studies at Idaho State University. The classes I enjoyed most were taught by intelligent, unpretentious, but demanding professors. One of my most enjoyable classes was a Expository Writing class. I remember the final assignment was to produce an essay about a memorable experience that taught important lessons. At the completion of the assignment two of us were chosen to read our essays.

    First off , was a recently returned VietNam veteran. His excellent essay focusesd on a happy thought that sustained him in combat. In the muck, mire, sleeplessness and unpleasant circumstances of his fox hole his one sustaining thought was his upcoming rotation for R& R and clean sheets- the luxury of clean cool, satin sheets at a grand hotel in Hong Kong. His essay was humorous and ironic, because he spend his only night in that grand hotel in Hong Kong passed out on the floor beside the bed with the satin sheets nicely turned down, but never slept upon.

    I could see why this good non-Mormon professor chose our two essays as they spoke to entirely different experiences. I talked about my first experience in the mission field. I described myself as a religiously committed, but self-absorbed freshman college student who had reveled in my successes as a varsity debater. I had some high school German and hoped to go to the land of my grandfathers only to receive a call to teach the humble Lamanites. I clenched my jaw determined that , though disappointed I would be a good, if not yet humble missionary.

    Perhaps sensing my needs, my companion wisely took me to humblest of hogans in our area near Fort Defiance, Arizona. As I got out of our Dodge pickup and walked toward the Hogan, I saw a Navajo woman washing clothes in a galvanized tub by an open fire. Her small son toddled up to us extending his hand to shake ours. He wore nothing but a dirty tee shirt an nothing below, his hands were grimy and pus ran from his ear suggesting an untreated ear infection. Instinctively, I reached out and grasp his grimy, little hand and drew him close. I grasped the hands of this waif –like child and a change came over me. I understood why I was there. I was in the words of C. S. Lewis, Surprised by Joy and so became a successful missionary.

  2. That’s such a silly thing. I was first called to Brazil, but because of Visa issues ended up staying in the US. BEST experience ever. When I got home some people said it must have been hard to do missionary work in an area I wasn’t “called” to. It kinda stung. Even before I opened my call to Brazil I was determined to serve with all my heart, mind, and strength no matter where I went. And I did just that and had the most amazing life experiences in FL. Do I still want to go to Brazil at some point? Yeah, but I wouldn’t change anything about my mission. Not one thing.

  3. I agree, as a German I was sent to the Netherlands. That’s like going to the closest state to the one you live in. I LOVED IT!!!
    My daughter who speaks rudimentary German, Japanese and a bit more Sign Language went to FortWorth Texas and LOVED IT.
    My so who speaks German is preaching the Gospel in Sapporo Japan, and LOVES IT!!!
    We all went to where the Lord wants us to go. If you go somewhere you speak the language the Lord needs you to be fully effective from day one. Trust me, it is a bit frustrating the first 6 months in a foreign speaking mission. Please remember the Hymn…I go where you want me to go dear Lord……

  4. My wife and I are called as Senior Missionaries to work in our home stake and an adjoining stake. Here in the UK. It won’t exactly be Tahiti, but we are greatful and will serve to the best of our ability. We love the Lord Jesus Christ and are so privalaged to serve Him.

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