Tag Archives: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

My Short Service Mission

If you haven’t seen Elder Holland’s pre-Face-to-face video, I highly recommend watching it by clicking here.

I’m grateful that Elder Holland talked about those that can’t go on proselyting missions at all.

I served a seven month service mission. It was not in the plans. I was supposed to go on a fulltime, 18 month proselyting mission. I was supposed to return from that mission and get my doctorate in clinical psychology. None of that happened.

For a long time, I felt inadequate. I felt like I was not enough because I couldn’t go on a regular mission. I wondered if it was because I was unworthy. I wondered if I had made different decisions, if I would have been able to go. I wondered if I was letting someone down somewhere because I wasn’t going on the mission everyone thought I should be on. I wondered if I chose the right service mission. I wondered if I should have pushed myself more or tried harder to step out of my comfort zone. I wondered if my service was adequate and if my efforts made a difference. I wondered why I was given all the challenges that prevented me from serving a fulltime mission.

I don’t wonder anymore.

It has been a year and a half since I ended my service mission early to start fulltime employment with the church. In the past 18 months of employment and the previous 7 months of my service mission, I have grown exponentially. I still feel like I am on a mission. I still have that same spirit with me and the same motivation to serve and to give my best to the Lord, possibly even more so now than while I was a set apart missionary. I am a better person because of my mission and I am continually becoming better because of the effects of it.

My service mission was a miracle, and so many things after it have been miracles. The fact that I chose the Humanitarian Center, and that I even found the Humanitarian Center. That once I found the center that I chose to serve as an office assistant. That after 6 months of service, the admin assistant job opened up and that those 6 months gave me just enough experience to qualify for that job with my previous job experiences. That the week after I got my first paycheck, I found out my best friend was homeless and could afford to help buy her food. That I was able to meet wonderful friends here that have changed my life. That I am now able to help other service missionaries and early returned missionaries at my job. That I have been able to serve in the various positions I have held in the church, including being a temple worker. That I was able to serve as initiatory coordinator for a year during my temple service. That I was able to be present for all of my nieces’ births. That I was able to forgive and love people I never thought I could. That I was able to discover a new career path that I am excited about and that I never would have considered otherwise. That I was able to prove residency for college tuition because I had been employed nearly exactly one year from when I applied for school. The list goes on.

The miracles that have come because of my service mission are innumerable. But I still believe that the greatest miracle of all has been the change in me. I don’t know if I would have changed so much for the better on a proselyting mission. I don’t know if I would have been humbled as much on a proselyting mission. I don’t know if I would have discovered who I am or become what I am meant to be.

We all serve differently. My service mission is no less noble than any other mission. It may have been short. It may have been relatively small and insignificant in the grand scheme of things, but it was significant to me and to my family and to those I served and am serving.

There is no small mission. There is no insignificant mission. There is no insufficient mission. There are simply different missions. I served with faith and love and diligence, and I hope to continue to do so. My mission is not over, and neither is yours. We are simply continuing our more significant mission. We do not serve for a couple years or a couple months. We serve our whole lives, we simply wear a name tag for that long.

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Mission Updates

I originally started this blog to have a place to update people about my service mission. When that mission ended early, I decided to convert this to a place for spiritual insights and experiences.

But right now, I just want to pretend that I went on a mission like other people’s missions. I want to talk about companions and mission stories and spiritual experiences. I want to feel like I have a story to tell, and no matter how dull or everyday it may seem, it’s important because it’s my story.

So even though I don’t wear the name tag and I’ve done my job as an employee for about as long as my mission would have been and if I was a missionary, I would have been released 6 months ago… I’m going to post like I don’t know any of those facts, like I’m serving a regular mission and writing updates for everyone back home to read.

Here goes:

I got a new companion last week. She’s with me three days a week, which is nice because I have my other companions the other two days. It’s been interesting talking to her and getting to know her. We have a lot in common.

I’m really starting to like Utah. I know I’ve been here for two years already, but the first year kind of didn’t count because I was just getting used to the idea of being a missionary and didn’t do much else but learn my job and try to cope with not going on a regular mission. The second year was a lot better, but it mostly just focused on me becoming better and learning to be the person God needs me to be. This year, I feel like I can actually focus on other people and have fun without worrying about my own insecurities.

I still feel like a missionary even though I have been released for 17 months and only served for 7 months. I kind of feel more like a missionary now, like a trainer, like I have companions. Being an extended missionary is hard, but it’s worth it. I love my work. I love knowing I’m contributing to the kingdom.

Maybe service missions aren’t like other missions, but I feel like I am doing a great work. I am strengthening my testimony. I am becoming closer to Christ. I love my Savior and I am so grateful to be able to serve him in this capacity.

Inadequate to Visit Teach

I visit teach this amazing girl in my singles ward. I’ve been doing it alone for a few months because the singles ward is constantly changing and I haven’t been assigned a new companion yet. I have a visit tentatively scheduled for tomorrow, but today I just feel so inadequate for this calling.

I feel inadequate to visit someone else. I look at the holes in my shoes, my somewhat messy room, and my growing stack of letters I wrote but never gave, and I think, “who am I to visit someone else?”

I, myself, haven’t been visited since I came to the singles ward. I wonder if it’s for the same reason. Maybe everyone feels inadequate to visit someone else. Maybe we all look at the holes in our lives, the messiness, and the regrets, and we wonder, “who am I to visit someone else?”

The thing is, the person I visit teach thinks I’m completely amazing just because I show up, because I try. Yes, I still feel inadequate. But I keep trying. I keep going, not because I’m great but because I’m small. “By small and simple things are great things brought to pass.

Visiting teaching is a small and simple thing. Reaching outside of yourself and helping or talking to someone else is small, but it can do great things. If we don’t reach out to each other, we are only a church about Christ. It is only through visiting, serving, and fellowshipping that we become Christ’s church instead of simply a church about Christ.

It wasn’t Me

While working in the temple tonight, one of the ladies that came in said that she had been feeling really confused and overwhelmed, but that I had brought her peace. I didn’t know what to say and just kind of said, “I’m glad” and gave her a hug. But I kept thinking after that that it wasn’t me.

It wasn’t me that brought her peace. It wasn’t me that had calmed her soul or helped her feel better. I was just the person God worked through to do that for her. It wasn’t me; it was God.

At a young church service missionary conference, someone sang this song called “Window to His Love” by Julie de Azevedo Hanks. It basically talks about wanting to be so much like Christ that when people see us, they’re really seeing His love. I want to be like that.

And so to that lady and to anyone else that I have helped feel better, I want to tell you that it wasn’t me. It was God and His love that worked through me to help you. So even when there’s no one around for God to work through, I hope you still feel His love because it really has never been us; it is always Him.

Service Missionary Questions

I have been thinking recently that service missionaries are the perfect people to ask certain questions- questions that other people may not be able to answer as well as we could.

So… here is my list of questions that would be perfect to ask a service missionary.

  1. How do you live a Christ centered life when you’re out in the world doing regular things and living a basically regular life?
  2. How do you keep focused on the things that matter when there are so many distractions around you?
  3. How can I improve my scripture study while not overloading my schedule with it?
  4. What kind of things are considered service and how do you find ways to serve?
  5. How can you find joy in serving while doing mundane tasks?
  6. Can I help serve more in what you are doing?
  7. Is it possible to have a job and a social life and still find time to serve others?
  8. What does it take to be a service missionary?
  9. How is a service mission different than a proselyting mission?
  10. Can you still date as a service missionary?

General Conference

If you have never watched a general conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, you don’t know what you’re missing out on.

General Conference is pretty much the best weekend of the year for me.

The past two days have been filled with words of wisdom and warning and guidance from our prophet and apostles and other church leaders. I have definitely felt spiritually nourished and strengthened and I’m excited to apply the principles taught to my life. I know that as I do I will draw closer to Christ and learn more about Him and from Him.

If you haven’t watched a conference before, I invite you to take Elder Bednar’s challenge and “come and see.” You can find the conference talks here. I highly recommend the Saturday sessions if you only have time to watch a few talks.

A Plea to Temple Workers

I love going to the temple. I love being in the temple or at the temple or just looking at pictures of temples. Temples are houses of God and places where we make promises to God and He makes promises back to us. The work done in the temple is work of salvation and exaltation.
So… why wouldn’t you be happy when you’re at the temple?

And yet… every time I go to the temple it seems like some people aren’t happy to be there. They don’t smile. They go quickly through the ordinances and promises. They seem to just be going through the motions instead of enjoying the experience. And that makes it hard for me to feel the Spirit. I love the promises given in the temple, but when someone says it like they’re reciting dull facts, they don’t seem as special as they really are.

So my plea to all temple workers is to be happy. Please be happy… Our temple experience means so much more when the person responsible for telling us our covenants and promises represents the happiness that those promises are meant to bring. Leave your troubles at the door of the temple and just enjoy being in the house of the Lord.

Every day I go to the temple is a good day. I hope and pray that the same is true for you.

The End of a Mission

There are times when you just don’t want to leave the temple. The end of your mission is one of those times.

Even though my mission isn’t really ending because I’ll still be doing the same thing in the same place with more or less the same people, it still feels like an end. The thing that hit me today was that I will no longer be wearing my name tag. I will no longer be an obvious representative of Christ by having His name engraved on my name tag. I will still stand as a witness of Christ, but I just won’t have the name tag to prove it.

So it’s even more important for me to show it through my actions.

As a missionary I wanted to do good things so that I could be Christ’s representative. Because I wore Christ’s name I wanted to do what He would do.

Now though I not only want to be a representative of Christ, but I want people to notice that I’m representing Him. I want people to want to know why I am so kind or helpful or honest or friendly or happy. I want people to ask me what makes me different so that I can tell them why I’m so happy and why I want them to be happy too.

I may no longer be a missionary with a name tag, but because of that I aim to be more of a missionary than ever before.

Losing yourself in the service

This week has been incredibly busy. I helped with cleaning the church building the last two weeks. I’ve been helping around the house and playing with my nephew. Things at the humanitarian center were especially busy because the main administrative assistant that I work with has been sick this week. So I was flying solo for half the day all week. I also passed off on some of the Spanish work at the temple. I’m officially done with temple training now, though I still feel I could use some more training, but I’m sure it will come in time. Other than that, I’ve just been going to sleep early and reading my daily goals.

This week has truly been one of losing myself in service. I’m starting to look for more opportunities to serve and focusing less and less on myself. That is one reason for the late postings this week. The things that matter are coming into focus more and the things that don’t matter as much are fading into the background.

I hope you are all well and that you’ll try to find ways to serve and be better this week. We can all do something to help build the Lord’s kingdom and uplift the people around us.

Updates

My post is a little more lighthearted this week because I just wanted to give some general updates on what is going on with me.

During my last temple shift, I was assigned to the main waiting room for the first time. I think I love this post just about as much as I love being assigned to the celestial room. It is almost impossible to keep from smiling in this post. You are seeing people enter the House of the Lord. How could you not smile at the thought of that?

I love watching as they scan someone’s recommend, knowing that that person is worthy to be in the presence of God is an amazing feeling. I wish that everyone coming into the temple could have that view and feeling about themselves and their temple worthiness.

Nursery is a fun calling. I love seeing the children every week. We have been blessed with a full nursery the last couple of weeks. There is one little girl that just turned 18 months a few weeks ago. She cries every time her parents leave her in nursery until I pick her up. This past Sunday the other leaders tried to comfort her, but she kept crying until I held her. I want her to be able to play in nursery with the other kids, but for now she’s attached to me for the full 2 hours. Hopefully she will get more used to nursery and have fun there.

My nephew has also been attending nursery the past couple weeks. It’s been fun having him there since he is one of the few kids that doesn’t cry when he walks in. The first week he just walked right in and started playing and was staring at the other kids wondering why they were crying when there were so many fun toys around.

The Humanitarian Center is a good place to be, but I’m going to start looking into what more I can do. I feel that I still have some time on my hands and I want to start doing more. I have requested information on a few other opportunities and hope to hear back from them soon.

We had a missionary appreciation lunch at the Humanitarian Center this past week. Sister Ubeck, the head of LDS Charities, was the speaker. She told us about some of the stuff that we don’t see that the church does and how the church decides how to help. I was amazed by a couple stories that she told. One story was about a refugee camp that needed washing machines. The government asked the church to provide the washing machines and they would provide the building and plumbing. 200 machines were donated for the project.

Sister Ubeck told us that the church looks for ways we can fill gaps. Like the need for washing machines, there are many other needs that the church has been informed of and filled the gap. After the presentation, one of our service missionaries talked to Sister Ubeck and learned that the church puts out over 5 million dollars a month toward helping people. I’m not sure what all is included in this figure, but it’s amazing to know that the service of the church is never just a one time deal. We continue to serve and will continue to find new ways to serve as long as there is one person on Earth who needs our help.

If you would like to learn more about what the church does to help others, visit the LDS philanthropies site: http://www.ldsphilanthropies.org/. There is a link on that site for LDS charities, which includes the Humanitarian Center’s work.