This has been a week of ups and downs for sure. But I just had HuHot for lunch so I’m probably gonna be pretty positive. I love HuHot. While every area is unique, as is every person in any given area, a question that comes up from time to time in every area goes something like this “What’s your favorite part of your mission? Why did you come out?” Once again please understand that I’m no saint, my first answer to that question is almost always the food. Favorite part? The barbecue bacon wrapped meatloaf I had yesterday, that’s my favorite.
However, that being said, I do normally follow it up with a more serious answer (more serious to them that is, they don’t know me well enough to understand just how intense my feelings about food are) and it just occurred to me that I don’t know if you all know why I’m out here either. I would hope that most of you who read this, if anyone does, would know I’m on a two year mission to serve Jesus. But that’s not what I’m talking about, I’m talking about what drives me, why I’ve made the decision to sacrifice this time and be out here when I could simply choose not to, choose to go home with essentially no temporal consequences. I’m not forced to stay. I can leave whenever I want to, all I have to do is say, “I’m done, send me home.” I didn’t have to come out. I didn’t have to fill out the paper work and jump through the hoops and get my physical and dental work and interview. I don’t have to live up to the standards I teach and that are required for this service. I chose all of this, and this is why.
All of you who might be reading this have seen only a fragment of who I am, of my character. You have only a small keyhole view of my life, my choices, and my mistakes. Even my parents, while they do have a far larger view, don’t know all of my thoughts, the whole story of my life and existence, or everything I’ve experienced. I am unique, just like each of you, and God is the only One who knows just how unique we are. I’m not here to confess anything, but in order to understand why I’m here you must understand who I am.
I am on my mission because I’ve made mistakes. I’ve not always been nearly as good as many of you think I am. I’m still not in many cases. I am on my mission because I’ve screwed up, thousands of times. I’ve hurt people I love, my friends, my family, and people I haven’t even met yet. Selfishness and Pride, that’s why I’m on a mission. At this point some of you are probably panicking, I’ve painted a rather bleak picture of my reality, of my life, and it also could be taken to mean shallow reasoning and motivation, but there’s more.
I am on a mission, my mission, because I have hope. Because my family and friends and church leaders loved me so much that they taught me the right path, the right things to do. They taught me who my Savior was and is, and how to find Him for myself. I was raised in an environment of love. But I’m not here for my parents. I’m on a mission because of their love.
I am on my mission for just two people, and for the whole rest of the Human family. I’m here for myself, and I’m here for my Savior. There were many who showed me the way to him but I had to take it. I’m here because He, still bruised and hurt and bleeding from the cross, picked me up every single time I fell, or stubbed my toe, or tripped myself. I’m here because I know Him now, and He loves me. He healed my broken heart and soul, that’s why I sing. I was raised from many places of darkness to the abode of light, I was touched and changed as clay in the Master’s hand, and I love Him. He loves you. I know that because I know him. That’s why I’m on a mission. He asked me to come, to lift someone else, show them the way so He can heal them. And I still fall. Every day. And He loves me and lifts me up again. And again and again. I am on my mission because the Atonement of Jesus Christ has filled me with love and strength in my weakness and I love Him.
The way to Christ is His true church. That church is this church. I know that with every fiber of my being because I’ve experienced it. The Book of Mormon is like my passport to him, the Bible is my Visa, the words of the modern Prophets, of President Nelson, are my road maps leading to Him. If you want peace in your life, find the Christ. This is the way. He’s calling you, all you have to do is follow in the name of Jesus Christ. AMEN