I recently had the sister missionaries join me to help teach my Sunday School class of 12-13 year olds about missionary service. We had a panel discussion where the sisters were able to share their mission experiences and how they prepared for service. Seeing the glow on the face of the sister missionaries made me feel a great degree of nostalgia for my service.
Maybe that’s why I really related to some of the promises that Elder A. Theodore Tuttle made to young adults planning to serve missions in October 1974.
He spoke about the great need for missionaries and how there is no more rewarding service than that performed by a missionary. I was struck when he spoke about the love a missionary feels for those he teaches and the enduring bond that is forged:
“You will learn to love the people where you serve, no matter what nationality or condition. And they will love you. They will love you because you brought them the gospel.
Converts always remember those who taught them. I’ve heard many converts speak almost reverently of “our missionaries.” Imagine having people pray for you. Do you understand what that means? This will always be a purifying and refining influence in your life.”
I am so grateful for my missionary service. I often think about the great trust that the Lord bestowed upon me when he let me serve as one of his authorized ministers on the earth. Yet, I don’t as often reflect on how blessed I am to be called by God to be a priesthood holder, husband, father, and Sunday School teacher. This talk made me want to give the same care that I gave to missionary work to all of my other roles in life.
Elder Tuttle also spoke about the matchless joy that can come from service:
” You may make the winning touchdown, cross the finish line first, swish down the mountain on perfect powder, drive “a beauty” to the left-field stands, or pitch a no-hitter. You may do and thrill to many things. But you will experience few feelings equal to the quiet, even tearful moment when you record in your diary: “Today we baptized Mr. and Mrs. Brown and all their children. They are a fantastic family!””
I agree with Elder Tuttle. There are few comparable joys. Being married in the temple or holding a newborn child can favorably comparable. But few experiences in life top knowing that someone else has come to know Christ through your efforts and that you were an instrument in the hand of God.
I am so grateful to have been a missionary and for the opportunities that I have today to bear my witness of the savior. I know he lives and loves us.