Tuesday, October 19
I’d go in a heartbeat.
I thought I’d reply to two suggestions at once - (1) tell about my own mission, (2) should guys who are attracted to other guys serve a full-time mission?
My mission was amazing. I served in the best mission in the world. Really. And of my slew of companions, some continue to be friends to this day. Many of my areas were renowned for their people – and notorious for a lack of the traditional markers of ‘success’… but I was definitely an outlier in that respect. With the Lord, my companions and I found people who wanted to learn about the gospel and make covenants everywhere we went.
Serving a full-time mission allowed me to practice gospel habits and skills in a structured environment. It’s like an apprenticeship program for becoming a teacher in the Church and a friend to neighbors and acquaintances. Everything I practiced in the mission field I can continue to use today. Following a schedule. Studying the gospel with people in mind. Praying for others, by name. Praying for miracles and having the faith to act on their happening. Talking with everyone and helping them become better people. Serving. Communicating with family and friends regularly. Keeping a journal. Helping people apply the gospel in their lives to face trials and temptations. Listening to the Spirit. Learning to love others, including companions, no matter what choices they make – seeing others as sons and daughters of God.
I am not exaggerating when I say that I think that serving a mission is the best thing any worthy, able young man can do. And that he should do it. The Church agrees. Specifically on serving missions, you can find this statement:
“…merely having inclinations does not disqualify one for any aspect of Church participation or membership… In this life, such things as service in the Church, including missionary service, all of this is available to anyone who is true to covenants and commandments” ().
I know, for a fact, that dozens of young men come into the MTC wondering if their inclinations bar them from the blessing of serving a mission. Others never submit their papers and feel the same burden.
Do we bar missionaries who suffered child abuse from serving? How about those who have lost family members? Do we ask those who were converts to the Church and have amazing stories of success to stay at home?
The greatest missionaries in the Church are those who understand the power of the Atonement in their lives, who have experienced the healing and comfort that comes from having a personal relationship with God, who have seen the blessings of living righteously in the face of temptation and trial. If you are worthy and able, serve a mission.
The mission didn’t make my trials disappear. But the habits I developed brought me closer to God and gave me strength to face the trials that came after my mission and the years since… and in the years since I’ve had hundreds of missionary experiences that rival and surpass the experiences I had on my mission.
I was never released from the calling of being an elder in the Church... only reassigned to serve in a new capacity. And as a member, my ability to share the gospel only increases with my understanding and ability. The title of this post is “I Hope They Call Me On A(nother) Mission.” And I guess, when I look at the people I can serve in the world, He already has.