Today, while sitting in sacrament meeting, I happened to glance over to where two of my children where sitting. The meeting was fabulous (particularly the speakers) , so I hadn’t planned on diverting my attention for too long. But what they were looking at caught my attention for longer than I expected.
It was my sons journal. I knew he had been keeping a journal – I had often seen it lying around the lounge room and in his bedroom – but it surprised me to see he had it at church. I’m still not sure why he had it there…but I noticed that he and his sister were looking at some photos towards the back.
Those images took me back to what seemed a lifetime ago. Well, actually it would have probably been less than 5 years ago, but since we had moved countries and settled into a new life in that time, it definitely felt like a lifetime ago.
For as long as I can remember my son has eagerly anticipated serving a mission. The year we brought home his first suit (at about age 5) it included a tiny little missionary badge declaring him to be a ‘Future Missionary’. He wore that badge (and that suit) for a long time. He was proud of it and what it represented; a kind of badge of honor towards his future.
But on further contemplation, I have realised there were many other events that have helped pave the way of his missionary path. Those photos represented one of them. They depicted a time when one missionary in particular made a lasting impression on my son.
The images drew me back to the day that this missionary and his companion – serving in our area – had made a connection with my 13 year old son. This missionary had recognised within him a desire to know what it takes to be a servant of the Lord. Through inspiration, they invited him to walk door to door with them, up our street, and share what it would be like.
I remember the fear I had at the time. Would this harm the utopian view of a young man who had dreams of striding from door to door in his crisp new suit, preaching the gospel to everyone he came in contact with? I tried mentally to go through all the people I knew in the street, determining whether they would present a positive or negative response. But unfortunately (or fortunately in this case) I didn’t know anyone beyond my neighbour next door.
Oh ye of little faith!
That opportunity was perfect for my son. It really didn’t matter what kind of response he got at the doors. The look of pride on his face in those photos said it all. He was living a dream and the missionary who stood beside him represented everything he wanted to be. That experience for my son helped him along the way.
I sit here now and reflect on both the glimpse I had in church today, and the experience my son had those few years ago. My conclusion is this…
While missionaries have a sacred duty to find those who seek for truth and teach them the true and everlasting gospel of Jesus Christ…they also have the ability to affect the lives of many young men and women who are preparing for this same service.
As a mother I am grateful for two young missionaries who came into my home (probably on just two or three occasions) and recognised a tiny flame of desire within a young man. It took a simple invitation to join them for just 1/2 hour, to cement in the mind of my son that this is what he needed to prepare for.
As my son is now in the final stages of preparation to serve his mission (in just over 12 months), I am grateful for their example – that they were inspired enough to lay down some bricks on the road to his future.
I only hope that as part of my sons missionary service, he may be the means of inspiring at least one other young man to do the same. I pray that he will be galvanized enough to identify a similar tiny flame burning within the heart of another future missionary.