This week has been interesting. One of the missionaries in my district went home. He came out on a mission because his girlfriend told him to. I guess that wasn't good enough. I really don't care what reason a person comes on a mission for so long as they stay. One of the main reasons I came on a mission was that it seemed a good idea at the time. Still is. Never really prayed about it if it was a right a decision.
Didn't need to. It felt right and any attempt at something else ended poorly. Several of us felt like failures though. Nothing we said could get through to him. I asked him if the church was true. He said yes. He said the spirit was telling him to stay. His parents are not members and his mom started taking the discussions while he was out here. Everything was telling him to stay and he just threw it away. I've heard several stories of people who were converted when they were older. Their patriarchal blessings said that they would have accepted the gospel years ago if the missionary who was called to teach them had just accepted the call long ago. God has back up plans but that is a lot of missed blessings.
This sure seems to happen a lot these days. I'm not sure if the whole 'raise the bar' idea is to blame (i.e. some people feel like perhaps they're not worthy enough) or if some youth are just more non-chalant about missions. I find it really disappointing. Logically I can understand some of the reasoning. No one is less of a member for having not served a mission. You can still be active, still serve in other ways, still develop your testimony. Of course you can. Not serving though, when you can and ought to, in my opinion, can be a real hindrance on your growth. My experience has been though that nothing will impact your life like a mission. It's not easy. And it's not always fun. But it certainly is life changing. I wish somehow I could express how impactful a mission is.
When I was growing up there were a few ladies I knew that had served missions. I felt like there was something different about them. They were confident while being humble. They were always fun. They knew the scriptures well. They were smart. They were people you could always count on. They weren't flakey. They weren't wimpy. They weren't whiney. I wanted to be like that! I don't know if I'm confident enough, humble enough, or really that much fun. I wish I knew the scriptures better and I'm not sure how smart I am.....but I know the experiences I had on my mission ratcheted all those things up a notch for me. I'm so glad I served. It really did change my life. I'd like to say all girls should serve. I think all girls would benefit from it. That really isn't the program though. Maybe that's why it's as unique an experience as it is. I don't know. I hope my daughter serves though. I think she'll be great!
A mission: there ain't NOTHING like it!