So what is it really like to be on a senior mission? We've been out three months and it is time to fess up. Here is the truth about the whole thing.
It is utterly amazing.
It is incrediblyexhausting.
It is extremely bewildering at times.
It is undeniably inspiring.
It wasn't what I thought it was going to be. I thought a mission would be loads of fun, being able to get out and meet lots of people and teach them about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I knew it would be challenging and I thought I knew what “challenging” meant. I was told we would work hard and I thought I was already a seasoned veteran at that. And then we got called to an office mission….
We are office missionaries, and we do office stuff. From early in the morning till late at night. And prepare for meetings. Or go to meetings. Or present information at meetings.
But it turns out that it's WHAT we do on the computer that makes this all worthwhile. It’s what the meetings are ABOUT that makes this a most incredible experience. It’s who the meetings are WITH that makes it an inspiring journey, unsurpassed by any imaginations of the heart.
We are talking about people. Getting people dignity, giving people hope.
This kind of thing is going on all the time, all throughout Asia. Wheelchairs, walkers, prosthetics, vision care, neo-natal resuscitation for babies, asthma training, supplies for earthquake victims, supplies for schools, hospitals, clinics, families, and children. Food supplement programs. Teaching principles of self-reliance, industry, thrift – and helping the poorest of the poor.
I keep a picture of Mrs. Du right in front of me at the office where I can see it all the time. And tomorrow I will sit at the computer and do more office stuff. But I am happy. Because people like Mrs. Du are happier.
Plus, we get to visit amazing countries like Myanmar and China and Nepal to check on humanitarian projects, serve in the Hong Kong Temple weekly, teach Sunday classes in a Philippine branch (small congregation), speak in sacrament meetings of 6 different branches, and consecrate all our time and money to the Lord’s work.
There is a spirit of peace that comes at the end of the day, even while exhausted and out of strength, that buoys us up and lifts us. I think it goes something like this:
"Can that be called a sacrifice which is simply paid back as a small part of a great debt owing to our God, which we can never repay? It is, emphatically, no sacrifice. Say rather, it is a privilege!" David Livingston