As a missionary, I experienced something that I have heard many other missionaries express. I experienced an incredibly deep love for the people that I served. At times, even in the face of rejection and scorn, I was able to see people as God saw them. I know that the gift of Christlike charity came because I was serving with all my heart, might, minds, and strength.
Elder Bednar described the process as follows
We come to know the Savior as we do our best to go where He wants us to go, as we strive to say what He wants us to say, and as we become what He wants us to become. As we submissively acknowledge our total dependence upon Him, He enlarges our capacity to serve ever more effectively. Gradually, our desires align more completely with His desires, and His purposes become our purposes, such that we would “not ask that which is contrary to [His] will.”
Serving Him requires all of our heart, might, mind, and strength. Consequently, selflessly serving others counteracts the self-centered and selfish tendencies of the natural man. We grow to love those whom we serve. And because serving others is serving God, we grow to love Him and our brothers and sisters more deeply. Such love is a manifestation of the spiritual gift of charity, even the pure love of Christ.
I wonder how blessed our communities, and our homes would be if we served with the same degree of intensity once we came home. Somehow it is harder to feel that same fervor and intensity when not serving for 18 months to two years, but when living life. We lose sight of the savior as we slip more and more into the mold of the natural man. Constant and consistent service is the remedy to that tendency. We must give our all in all facets of our life just as we did as missionaries.