Wednesday, February 11, 2015

The Effects of Service

As I was working on a project for a family foundations class I attend from Brigham Young University-Idaho, I began thinking the effects my mission will have on my future family.  As I thought about my mission, I thought of my blog which I haven't updated for a while.  I strolled down memory lane and realized I have over 25,000 views on my blog! (WOW!).  To anyone reading this, I hope I can make an impression on you to reach out to your fellow brethren.  Whether through religious activities or other activities you see fit.

Let me pour some of my thoughts on this page:
My Mission Set the Mark
Elder Holland gave a fantastic talk about serving missions in October of 2011.  It was the latter part of my mission and I thought my service would end in 2 months.  Elder Holland pursued the idea of serving missions at a senior age.  This was an idea that crossed my mind, but I never thought too hard about.  This past Sunday, a wonderful couple had just returned from their mission in Singapore and Malyasia.  They were preparing to go on a second mission.  As my wife sat at my side I couldn't help but think of what our future holds in the term of missionary service.  Senior missionaries make no small amount of sacrifice.  They must find a way to have their belongings taken care of, provide full support of their mission without receiving payment from the Church for their service.  An impression came upon my mind to begin preparing for this next stage in my life, even if it's 30-40 years down the road.  I do not know when that time will come, except that it is quite a few years down the road.  But I want my household to say "In this home, we serve missions" as Elder Holland proclaimed.  I want my mission to be the starting mark for my children to serve, for my wife and I to serve, and to put our hands in the service of the Lord.

Undying Influences
My mission brought opportunities to meet people that I would never forget.  I met people who have made impressions on my mind for the rest of eternity.  For example, a wonderful member in a military ward I served in, Brother Johnson(Name was changed for confidentiality).  Brother Johnson served in the high rankings of the army and had little to no time for himself.  He was called as an Elders Quorum president in the midst of a busy time in his military career.  This was no excuse for him.  He gave 100% of his heart to his calling and the church.  One bishop I served under was such a tremendous influence on the members of the ward that I believe he sets the bar for other bishops in the church.  All bishops I have met are inspired men, and this Bishop was a tremendous man.  He made a great effort to visit many members in the ward regardless of his busy schedule with work and family.  He truly cared about the well being of everyone he came in contact with.
Some converts I taught instantly gave up some lifestyles because of their belief in God.  Alcohol was thrown out, tea was dropped, cigarettes were smashed as they strove to live by Gospel ordinances.  I am so truly grateful for each individual I met on the islands of O'ahu and Kaua'i.  I will never, ever forget these great saints and those I taught.

The Most Important:  My Savior
Of all the sacred and important things I learned, the most important came over the course of my two years.  My Savior was real, and His atonement is eternal.  I had a testimony of Him before my mission, but as you spend time in His service (For two years or even a few hours) you truly begin to understand the love that He felt for those who didn't love him.  I consider this knowledge so fragile because if I do not exercise it often, I will lose it.  The influences of the world want to take this knowledge away from me no matter how much I want to hold on.  My Savior is real.  He lives.  All of us can come to know Him by seeking Him and living the life He wants us to.

I testify that no matter how hard times get, the Lord knows what you are going through.  Whether you are losing a family member to an illness, the pains of death, the pains of an emotional loss, physical suffering, or anything you may feel, Jesus Christ knows what you are going through.  Reach out to Him and get to know Him.  He is Jesus Christ, He is your Lord.  I am grateful for the love that He has for all of us.

To all those reading this, I strongly encourage you to look for opportunities to serve your fellow brethren.  In any way possible, reach out to them.  Simple acts of kindness make an everlasting impression.