Why? Why be a missionary?
Today I, Sister Molen, finished my application to become a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, known by some as the Mormons. I will be gone for 18 months, starting in probably October. And I could go anywhere.
Whew, that was powerful to write.
Saying something can be easier, I find, than writing it down. The finality of those words written out, pressed into such neat letters (that no one could really write. Let's be honest- no one writes like this. No one in the world can freehand a perfect circle). Seeing them like this, I find myself pausing to contemplate the reality of my decision.
And I do not regret it. For those who are unfamiliar with Missionaries from the LDS Church (Latter-day Saints for short), this is for YOU.
For those contemplating serving missions, this is for YOU.
For those who want to follow along on a fun journey, this is for YOU.
Young people in the LDS Church (A Christian Organization. We'll get to that in two shakes) have an opportunity to serve missions when they reach adulthood. For men, it is considered a Priesthood responsibility to go as early as they are prepared (usually at 18 or 19). For women, it is optional and one may go if she likes (19 is when it becomes available.) It used to be 19 for men and 21 for women, but a recent revelation has come where the age has been lowered.
Curious? Hit this link and see for yourself:
That strapping gentleman is Thomas S. Monson, and I and other members of my church believe that he is a prophet of God. The God of the Old and New Testament has made it clear that Priesthood Authority is necessary in order to speak and act in His name. ("No man taketh this honour unto himself, except he that is called of God, as was Aaron [Priest of the Old Testament] Hebrews 5:4) When the apostles were killed at the end of the New Testament, this authority ended and there was a time where a church acting in God's name and under His authority wasn't there. (This time is prophesied throughout the Bible). Then, when a time arose when the Church could arise and never be taken down, the Heavens were opened, and Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, appeared to a contemplative teenage boy in a place named New York.( Joseph Smith History 1:16-17. See another like it: 1 Samuel Chapter 3) This boy had questions about God, and was prepared from before the world was (such as Jeremiah of the Old Testament) to bring this Church back for good. When older, this simple man named Joseph Smith Jr. received the Priesthood from Peter, James, and John.(the Priesthood they received directly from Jesus) and received, through miraculous means, the Book of Mormon, another Testament of Jesus. I testify that God does not change. He will not mute nor hush the way He speaks to man because they found the Americas or Atheism became popular, but will speak to them as He always has: through a Church combined with personalized answers through prayer.
I have not seen an angel, and I do not know anyone who says that they have. But I have prayed and received answers, either in a feeling, voice, or outside experience. They could be coincidences, but after enough coincidence build up (1.believe and trust, 2.pray 3.something happens), coincidences turn into a pattern, then a relationship.
Now for me.
I am going to serve as a missionary because I have seen and felt Light.
I did not want to originally go simply because of the age change (and everyone seemed to be going. I am a rebel like that). I wanted to know I was going because I was needed. I prayed and fasted for many months, and then I felt something. After hearing a Prophet of God speak, I felt everything crystallize. Like when you stare at a math problem or brain teaser, and everything suddenly becomes clear. Like that, but with everything.(it's kinda weird at first, everything shifting, but it is so cool) It made me so happy and at peace, and I felt that following this church would make me happy. I went to work later that day and, while checking a man and women out at the cash register, I realized they didn't have this feeling I did. Or, if they did, weren't quite sure what it meant. How could they not know? How could they not know a prophet of God had just said something so awesome?
That was when I knew.
Am I scared? Absolutely. Do I have faith? Incredibly. I prayed to my Heavenly Father and stated I would go tell people, and if I was not supposed to, that I should be stopped. And all those coincidences I talked about before (I like to call them answers) came as I prepped, and now I have my "papers" in.
I could go anywhere (except China, North Korea, and some parts of the Middle East, and maybe some other places. But yeah, anywhere else. One day those another places will be safe/stop kicking out religion). But (as I wring my hands and pace my floor to figure out where I will spend the next 18 months of my life) I realize it is not the were that matters, but the why.
That Light I was talking about 3 paragraphs ago. It comes when I draw closer to Jesus Christ. I have never felt more free. Sure, I may not smoke, or drink, or "party"(although LDS dances are AMAZING), but I know that not doing those things will make me free. It is...indescribable to anyone who has not felt it. And chances are, whether you are LDS or not, you have felt it.
I believe people have, and that is why I am sending my papers in and praying I will go where I am needed. So people will feel that Light more as they draw closer to Christ.
I am not perfect. I am nowhere as good as that Light feels. I am universes away from being as good as the Person where that Light comes from. But if God is letting me go, and needs me somewhere, I will put on my running shoes and sprint (not literally. I don't own running shoes. But yeah, you know what I mean.) I will put in my all.
That is why I am serving a mission.