Thursday, 25 June 2015 marks one glorious year of being a full-time missionary. And as my dear MTC companion, Sister Stastny, put it: One year of having the privilege to wear the most beautiful accessory we've ever owned.
A missionary's purpose is to "invite others to come unto Christ by helping them to receive the restored gospel." At this time, we all have been called to be anxiously engaged, and to hasten the work, showing the way of salvation to Heavenly Father's children.
The longer I am a missionary, the more Heavenly Father opens my eyes to this way of salvation. The more I learn how dependent each and every one of us is on Jesus Christ and His Atonement.
I see that as we have been called to hasten the work throughout the world, Heavenly Father is hastening the work within us. He sees us where we are and where He wants us to be and then helps us to get there. But that requires stretching. If you have tight hamstrings or stiff pride like me, you know that stretching hurts, but it's the hurt that "hurts so good." You know that later, you'll be better and you'll move further, and so you keep bending to touch your toes or bow your pride to accept Heavenly Father's will.
I love Jesus Christ. I love my baptismal covenants to take His name upon me, to always remember Him, to keep His commandments, to become His disciple, to follow Him.
I understand now that if we really want to be His disciple, we must walk some of the paths that He walked. Sometimes that is passing through persecution or rejection of our compassionate efforts to help others. Sometimes it's resisting Satan when he tempts us to deny who we are and question if we are capable of completing our divine mission. We follow Christ when we take up our cross of pain, weakness, and heartache. We follow Christ when we spend a moment or two in our personal Gethsemane and question if God has forsaken us.
The path of a disciple is not an easy one. But we can take heart because we are walking in the footsteps of the most loving, most selfless, most obedient being to ever live upon this Earth, the Savior of mankind.
We can also take courage because as we follow Him on this path, He becomes our personal Savior, our Redeemer, our Prince of Peace. And while the path is long and weary, we are never alone. His hallowed hand makes us whole. His wondrous power raises us up. He fills with sweet our bitter cup. I testify of these things in His name, Jesus Christ, Amen.