Joyful chatter and some laughter filled my home as the newly arrived missionaries and a few well seasoned missionaries interacted. Other than the clothing it didn’t seem much different than the times my children’s friends had congregated in my kitchen.
The newly arrived missionaries had left the MTC at 3:30 am. It was now 8 pm and reason dictated that if there weren’t breaks in the orientation they would be asleep despite their best intentions.
When a lot of missionaries come to the mission at the same time, the office missionaries and assistants do a lot of the orientation while President and I visit privately with each missionary.
Elders Wi____ and St_______ had just finished instructing, and President and I were in his office inteviewing.
With a humility and honesty I greatly admired this missionary simply stated, “I’m terrified.” Locked up worry released and tears flowed. I felt great compassion. Maybe because I had felt those same feelings several months before coming on our mission.
After his confession I watched in wonder at President’s response. With kind compassion he offered to give the Elder a blessing of comfort. This was no longer an earthly experience. The Priesthood was at work.
President called in this Elder’s future zone leader to help administer the blessing.
As Elder M_____ crossed the thresh hold of President’s office his easy, nonchalant, casual chatter, changed into compassion. Words of comfort were said. I was no longer watching a teenager; I was watching a man. I was watching a disciple of Jesus Christ who knew he had been “called of God to say and do what He himself would say and do if He personally were ministering” to this Elder. And he said it! With each sentence I saw hope increase and felt the love of the Lord lift the spirits of this new Elder. And I knew I had witnessed the wonderful transformation that occurs when we serve God.
So what’s so important about those simple 35 words known as “Our Purpose”?
When we fulfill our *purpose we become someone so much greater than we previously were.
We become a Disciple of Jesus Christ.
"Our purpose is to invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restosred gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and HIs Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end." p 1 Preach My Gospel.
I shook his hand the same as the others. I Poignant personal lesson. him in the eye. Great love welled in my heart. But no words would come. Where moments earlier expressions of specific gratitude for the service of a particular missionary flowed; now the words would not come. This disturbed me. Why could I not express what was in my heart?
Later, I realized it was a powerful object lesson meant for both of us.
I loved this missionary the same as the other missionaries. He had served well and done many hard things. President had counted on him with specific assignments. But there was on thing he hadn’t done.
At the last zone conference he had accidentally let slip, “I don’t read President’s weekly emails.” As I reflected upon his accidental confession, I wondered why he would want to serve without knowing what the Lord had revealed for the whole mission - because that is the content of President’s weekly email. As I thought about possible reasons why, I realized that President’s emails come on preparation day when a missionary writes their friends, family, other missionaries, and has time for some personal pleasures. Perhaps those things took precedence.
That thought was followed by a much, more powerful realization. When I get busy and only give the Lord a glance at His words found in the scriptures, instead of the serious seeking I do on other occasions, I am doing the same thing. How ridiculous not to daily know what the Lord wants me to know because I didn’t give myself enough time for serious seeking.
This has been a personal lesson. The Lord still has great love for us. The Lord still extends his arm to us. But when we do not read His scriptures, we are not able to hear His voice. A voice He so wants to use.
After a two hour delay we were very glad to have our missionaries get here. Because we wanted plenty of time to interview and because they had gotten up at 2:30 am and didn't need to stay up "'til all hours of the night", we had the new assistants, Elder Stev____ and Elder Wilc___ teach when we usually we do. We interviewed straight through and didn't stop to teach. I'm pretty sure the assistants got about 5 minutes notice. They didn't complain nor act like they were nervous. I smiled within myself. President has always believed our children could do whatever. So often he would tell them to do something and they learned while they were doing it. I guess the assistants got that kind of training too. last night. As I type the thought comes. He has faith that the Spirit can prompt them to say what the Lord wants said, just as much as he can prompt us. I've seen that enough to testify the thought is true.