President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints advises us to encourage young men and young women of our Church to prepare serving Jesus Christ on full-time missions.
In our last General Conference, Elder M. Russell Ballard shared how his mission helped shape his life.
“My missionary service prepared me to be a better husband and father and to be successful in business. It also prepared me for a lifetime of service to the Lord in His Church,” he reported.
I love encouraging young people to prepare serving full-time missions and thought I would outline how my mission of nearly five decades ago in North Carolina continues to bless my life.
Here are one-half of a dozen of the most valuable things I learned while serving. Some of our spiritual nature, others are on the more temporal side of the ledger, although all things to the Lord are spiritual.
#1 – Far and away the most valuable thing I learned was that Jesus of Nazareth is the Christ, the Only Begotten Son of our Eternal Father.
As a youth, my parents taught me this principle in word and deed. The truthfulness of His Divine mission was brought to light as I studied the New Testament in Seminary. However, it was on my full-time mission that the divinity of Jesus became embedded in every fiber of my being.
#2 – I am fully confident that I would have been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder as a youth if ever tested. In short, I had a hard time sitting still for any length of time. Just ask any of my parents, friends, coaches, or teachers.
My first semester of college was extremely challenging because I knew I needed to study two hours for every hour of classroom time. However, on my mission I disciplined myself to not only sit still and read, but to actually delve into the scriptures on a daily basis. This habit continues for me.
#3 – I once read a note on my mission that said, “If you can’t get along with a companion the Lord chooses for you, how are you ever going to get along with a companion you select.”
I do not necessarily agree with all of that, but the message of getting along in day-to-day living with others is clear. A mission is the only place that you spend 24/7 with a complete stranger. You learn to accept people as they are, overlook quirks, focus on positive traits, and peacefully resolve differences. This proves invaluable to me in my family, career, and community service.
#4 – Although the method of financing missionaries is completely different now than for my generation, the budget principles of planning, differentiating between wants and needs, and wise spending are learned on a mission.
These basic finance principles prove instrumental throughout life.
#5 – Over 2,300 years ago, Aristotle said, “It is well to be up before daybreak, for such habits contribute to health, wealth, and wisdom.”
You develop the habit of retiring early and rising early while serving a full-time mission.
#6 – I discovered first-hand the eternal joy of sharing the fullness of the Gospel with people and witnessing them embrace the Savior and follow his path. For me, there is no greater joy.
These, and countless other blessings, await those who faithfully serve full-time missions.
Charlie Roberts is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints living in Stansbury Park.