I have mentioned before that my brother is on a two year proselytizing mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He is only 18 and just barely graduated high school back in May. He was even offered a 4 year full-ride to an instate university. Why would such a young boy with such a bright academic future leave that to try to preach the Gospel in south, south, south, south Argentina (oh, and he didn’t get to chose where he was going)?
Because he is helping to spread the Word of God. He has decided to follow Christ’s admonition to be “fishers of men” (Matt 4:19). As Mormons, we love the Gospel and Word of God so much that we want everyone to have the Light of Christ in their life. Christ talked of the parable of the 99 sheep and lost one. He said we should be like the shepherd and find that lost sheep–we should bring the Gospel to all so that all can return home to our Heavenly Father’s arms (Ezekiel 4:11).
“Gospel” itself in Old English means “good news”. So, why wouldn’t we want to share the ultimate good news to others: that Jesus Christ died so that men can live! In Latin, “good news” is evangelium which derived from the Greek euangelion. So, I guess you could say that Mormon missionaries are also Evangelicals.
Gah! There are so many good scriptures in both the New Testament, as well as the Book of Mormon as to why Mormons, especially Mormon boys, should go on missions (or any Christian, really), but I’ve only chosen a few that stood out:
Mormon 9:22 For behold, thus said Jesus Christ, the Son of God, unto his disciples who should tarry, yea, and also to all his disciples, in the hearing of the multitude: Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.
D&C 42:6 And ye shall go forth in the power of my Spirit, preaching my gospel, two by two, in my name, lifting up your voices as with the sound of a trump, declaring my word like unto angels of God.
D&C 71:1 Behold, thus saith the Lord unto you my servants Joseph Smith, Jun., and Sidney Rigdon, that the time has verily come that it is necessary and expedient in me that you should open your mouths in proclaiming my gospel, the things of the kingdom, expounding the mysteries thereof out of the scriptures, according to that portion of Spirit and power which shall be given unto you, even as I will.
D&C 128:22 Brethren, shall we not go on in so great a cause? Go forward and not backward. Courage, brethren; and on, on to the victory! Let your hearts rejoice, and be exceedingly glad. Let the earth break forth into singing. Let the dead speak forth anthems of eternal praise to the King Immanuel, who hath ordained, before the world was, that which would enable us to redeem them out of their prison; for the prisoners shall go
The moment I knew I was going to serve a mission was when I was 6 years old. My brother is 13 years older than me, so when I was 6 he was 19, and he was leaving to serve his mission. He was selected to go to northern Spain. I remember my mother reading letter he had written to us, I remember pictures he had sent, and I remember praying for his safety while he was gone. I saw how happy his service made my family and that is when I decided that I was going to serve one as well.
My brother was my idol as a kid, and I wanted to do everything he did. I grew up to have my own reasons for doing the same things he did, like serving a mission, going to BYU for college, etc, but his example paved the way for me.
Just like every kid, I wanted to tell my parents everything about whatever TV show I was watching or video game I was playing. It excited me, made me happy, and I was insistent upon sharing it in hopes that my excitement would be transferred to those I shared it with. Likewise, as I got older and started learning more and more about Christ and His Gospel, I developed a love for not only Him, but His teachings. I had a few attempts at sharing my views about God with my friends in my youth. It was scary, but it was important. For these reasons did I decide to serve. I wanted to emulate the example shown to me by elder brother, but also my love for the Gospel drove me to find a chance to share it and all of its importance, despite how difficult and daunting it would turn to be.
In a later post, sometime in January, I will talk about the specifics of being on an LDS Mission.
But, just like Justin said, “I saw how happy his service made my family”, families of LDS missionaries who support them are blessed as well. My friend, Madison, from A Homemade Happily Ever After, has had a few brothers serve 2 year missions for the LDS Church. Today, she is talking about how those missions blessed her entire family. Click here to check it out.
Do you know anyone of any religion who has gone on a mission of sorts? Why did they decide to do so?