First let me say that I belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. That is the actual and proper name for our church. Our church is often referred to as the LDS Church, or the Mormon Church. This series of posts was at the request of some of my friends on Facebook. You can read more about that here–on my Landing Page or introduction for the Write 31 Days Challenge.
One of the most important and difficult things that any potential missionary will experience is to actually make the decision to serve. It isn’t an easy decision and it takes a lot of thought and prayer to come to actually make it.
When I made the decision to serve a church mission, I was actually living with my Aunt and Uncle in Oregon. I had moved there after a broken engagement and was looking for a different direction in my life at the time. I had tried several things to find a good job while living there and had even tried out for a part in a musical production. But something just wasn’t gelling in my life and I finally determined that I needed to ask my Heavenly Father if I was supposed to serve a mission. I had avoided this previously because I was afraid of the answer I would get. But I finally asked with a willing heart and I received a firm “YES” in response. So I returned home to my parents to begin my preparations for my mission.
My son, Chandler, had a different kind of experience when he was making his own decision to serve. In his own words:
There comes a point in time when you have to stop, look at yourself after high school and ask yourself “…What the heck am I gonna do now?”
Am I going to college, am I gonna try out for competitive football, should I go out and get married… or should I go on a mission?
Basically, it’s entirely up to you. But may I suggest just asking God, as he knows what you should do. And if you sincerely pray about it, He will answer you.
During my Senior Year while I was homeschooling, I told my parents “I feel like I should go on a mission when I’m 19.” Because honestly, that’s what I felt like I should do. (And the fact that you’d be able to go on a mission at that age before President Monson lowered the age gap a little)
And when I was 19, and I began to think “…Is going on a mission that much of a big deal?”
To be fair, I have high anxiety, and also a form of Autism, called Asperger’s Syndrome. Those both present me with special challenges and it would make it very difficult for me to serve a full time proselyting mission.
So I asked Heavenly Father what he wanted me to do and he said “You can choose to go on a mission or not, it is entirely up to you and I will still love you no matter what.”
So I began thinking after getting the answer and with a deep breath, I decided my answer that I will not go on a mission, much to the shock of my parents. (And as dad put it: A slap to the face.)
Around a couple months ago, Mom asked me “Have you thought about maybe serving a different kind of mission? Have you considered a Church Service Mission?”
Needless to say, I was pretty much all for that idea as I will be doing a service mission here at home where I can still serve my Heavenly Father as a missionary.”
Making the decision to serve is a personal one. A decision that you will make with the guidance of your Heavenly Father if you have an open heart and are willing to do as He asks. Your answer might be that you need to serve a mission. It might be that you shouldn’t serve a mission. It might be a decision that the Lord leaves up to you as either is fine. But no matter what you decide, your decision to serve or not is one of the most important decisions you will ever make.
I found a wonderful video of a young returned missionary who talks about making the decision in depth. I think it will help you understand the weight of this decision in the life of the LDS Missionary.