For my mission prep class we had to write a letter about why we wanted to serve a mission... :) Here's mine. Addressed to my sweet family.
Dear Family, As you know, I have been called to serve as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I have been called to serve in the Rancagua, Chile mission. I will go to the MTC in April to prepare for my mission in Spanish. Recently, a lot of people have been asking me why I want to serve a mission. I’ve been asked if I am going because of the hype about mission service. I honestly don’t care about that. I was planning on going when I was 21 if I was still single. It amazes me that at this time the mission age was changed. It makes going on a mission so much more meaningful for me. When the age was changed I knew specifically that God answers my prayers and was looking out for me. It has been amazing to really look and see God’s hand in my life. Having my call with full intent to serve I can tell you many reasons why I want to serve the Lord’s mission for me. Among these reasons are selfish reasons, reasons that bless my family and my new ability to bring the gospel to others.
My first reasons for wanting to serve a mission, which are completely selfish in nature, are that I want to serve for myself. I want to serve to strengthen my knowledge and testimony in the gospel. I believe in the gospel and have a testimony of it, and at most points in my life I know that the things I practice and believe are true, but I want to have an unshaken belief and knowledge of the truth of the gospel. I want to be able to take time out of my life, which would otherwise be spent doing comparatively unimportant things to develop myself and what I know to be true. I want to find out who I am while I am on my own and discover my strengths and weaknesses. I want to be away from all my distractions and find myself. I want to develop and become more like Christ. In order to do that I must single myself out as one called from the Lord. That’s another thing; this call was sent directly to me. His mission is for me to serve mine and out of all the places in the world I was called to serve in Rancagua, Chile. In Chile I will discover myself. It will be extremely difficult, and I know that I cannot do it on my own, but through Christ I will know why I was called to serve in that area.
Another few reasons I want to serve a mission is for all of you. I look at us now and hope we can become closer to Christ. Too often we all complain, tease and argue, and don’t remember to serve each other and spend our time wisely at home. I hope that my serving will serve as an example to you and our extended family. I want to show them the happiness I can bring to others’ lives and inspire them to want to serve. I feel like being away from home will be hard for me and they will miss me but I will invite blessings into my home that wouldn’t otherwise be there. I am hoping that my serving will bring us all closer to Christ and develop our testimonies of the gospel, of missionary work and of eternal families.
More reasons why I want to serve a mission for this restored church are because it is the only true church on the earth. I know that it was restored and brought forth in these times. As I read the Book of Mormon, I receive a personal witness of the truth of it. I know it was written for our times to help us. It is an excellent model of how to live our lives. It teaches so many doctrinal principles that are imperative to our salvation. I know that God lives and sent his son to us. The Book of Mormon testifies of his earthly ministry. The gospel is the only true church on the earth. Its principles are so simple, yet proclaim the everlasting joy of the plan of salvation and Christ’s atonement. This book will bring us closer to Christ and expand our horizons. I want others to read it and have a foundation for life as I do.
Not only do I believe the Book of Mormon to be true, but I have a testimony of the restoration of the gospel. I know that simple people and simple means can bring about great works. Having been where Joseph Smith was killed and seeing other areas where the church was established I know the great pain that the early saints suffered. They didn’t know the impact they would have on the gospel, and that it would now start rolling among the whole earth. Similarly to Joseph Smith, I like to believe that although I am just one person, I can make all the difference. I know that the things Joseph Smith did were correct and righteous and it’s amazing how the faith of one boy can bring the restoration of the gospel to so many millions of people. I know that President Smith restored the true church on earth and saw the Father and His son in vision.
Because I know these things I am able to understand my purpose in life. I am so happy here on earth and realize it is a probationary state. How much easier does that make it to follow the commandments and serve others if our time is limited? We should be doing the best things with our time. I want to teach people the joy that the gospel brings me. I want them to know that although my grandpa died when I was 11, I will see him again and be with him after this life. I want people to know that God is good. So many people don’t know that. God loves his children and does what is necessary in order to teach them. He blesses us for keeping his commandments. The gospel is a happy thing. I know that I can be saved through the atonement of Christ if I keep his doctrine. I have faith in his gospel, I have been baptized, and I repent and have received the Holy Ghost. If I but endure to the end I can attain eternal salvation.
Something that blesses my life immensely is the Holy Ghost. I have felt his presence countless times in my life and know I don’t always realize when I am prompted by him. Through his sweet teachings I have learned the most valuable lessons in my life. That God lives, that he is aware of us, that Christ atoned for our sins, and that the Book of Mormon is true. I want others to have this guiding force in their lives to help them along their way as he has helped me in my life.
I want to serve a mission to bring others the profound joy that the gospel brings me, to bring others –my family and myself—closer to Christ, share the simpleness of the gospel and invite others to follow it and to spend my time productively, meeting and serving others. I know that my mission will be the hardest thing I have done in my life so far but I know that with Christ at my side, it will be the best thing I have ever done in my 19 years on earth. I love this gospel and cannot wait 56 more days. This is why I want to serve a mission. I love you all so much. I am glad we can be with each other forever.