Dear Brother Albright,

redheadWe all love to hear faith promoting stories of the big miracles that happen to missionaries. Those “Golden” investigators being miraculously found and baptized, converts getting shunned by their family for joining the church but still pressing forward because they have a testimony of the Book of Mormon, elders struggling with their new foreign language and all of the sudden being able to speak clearly and fairly fluently unto the confounding of the wise and learned, finding $20 in your pocket while doing laundry on Preparation Day in time to buy needed groceries.  These and many more are all big, bright, and shiny stories.  They are praiseworthy and absolutely fantastic testimony builders that are very fun to listen to and read about!  But so often the other twenty-three months of a mission are not discussed as often. You know, the “nitty-gritty” part of missionary work; the “behind the scenes” days of hard work on hot days and cold days that take place first in order for those other big events to happen. 

For example, the countless hours of morning studies, the daily planning sessions, the hours of weekly planning sessions, the piles of paperwork to mail in, the district trainings meetings, the zone training meetings, the ward council meetings, the hours of knocking on doors when no one is home, the scrambling before church to try to get people to attend, the last minute phone calls to find a member for a lesson after another member had to cancel; the countless hours of meeting all sorts of different people who come from all sorts of different backgrounds with all sorts of different needs and interests, the many times we try to explain the need for Priesthood authority and they still don’t understand, and even the times where it looks like a quarter on the ground but it’s actually just a round flat rock. All of that and much more go into moving this great work forward!

It’s all important, it’s all necessary, and it’s all worth doing, not just for the big, bright, shiny moments but because of all the many little miracles that we don’t always write home about. All of the little rays of light that warm our spiritual faces every day. Those smaller moments when we look into the eyes of someone we have been teaching for two weeks and feel a deep love for them. Those spirit filled moments with investigators who light up our day, whether or not they will listen to us present another lesson. The moment when, after many prayers and hours of hard work, we feel a small glimpse of joy, just for a moment, that gives us enough hope and courage to go on and do it again tomorrow. That is what makes up the majority of a mission.  It sounds like nitty-gritty stuff, but it is all worthwhile and very necessary.

So, nothing huge has happened this week. But still, so much has happened. I feel like a rubber band being stretched further, and further. It’s fun and very worthwhile!  I would not trade this mission for anything.


Elder Brandon Vance
Georgia Atlanta North Mission