Cover image via Gospel Media Library.
Not long ago, I asked two assistants to the mission president what counsel they would give to help missionaries adjust to missionary life. Both said, “Patience.”
Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf said “Patience is a godly attribute that can heal souls, unlock treasures of knowledge and understanding, and transform ordinary men and women into saints and angels. Patience is truly a fruit of the Spirit.” (Continue in Patience, General Conference, April 2010).
Adjusting to Missionary Life teaches us: “As you begin any new experience (like joining the Church or attending a new school), you feel excited about the opportunity—and nervous because you don’t know quite what to expect. Over time [with patience] you learn to meet these challenges, and you grow in the process.
When and where can we develop more patience?
Patience with ourselves: Remember what you’ve already learned and experienced to successfully cope with difficulty and change your whole life. Be patient. It generally takes about six weeks to begin to adapt to a new environment. Enjoy being a beginner when you are new at something. You aren’t expected to be an expert. It is enough to be curious, interested, humble, and willing to try. Enjoy it!
When learning to rely on the Spirit: Practice with patience. Learning to recognize the voice of the Spirit is much like learning a language—it takes practice, patience, humility, and a willingness to learn from mistakes without giving up.
Patience with our companion, our spouse, our children, our parents, our extended family: Don’t feed anger. Be calm [patient], curious, and compassionate. Be curious about what others are thinking and feeling.
Patience with mission leaders, our priesthood leaders, our boss, our co-workers: Ask a leader or trainer for help and patience. Pray for humility to be a good follower.
Patience with friends of the church: Don’t try to control others. “Therefore, dearly beloved brethren, let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power; and then may we stand still [patiently], with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed” (D&C 123:17).
Patience with the Lord: Understand what faith is. To have faith is to trust the Lord’s perfect goodness, love, wisdom, and fairness, even though we do not perfectly understand. Be patient. Time and experience will help you make sense of some things that are confusing now. Remember Nephi’s assertion: “I know that [God] loveth his children; nevertheless, I do not know the meaning of all things” (1 Nephi 11:17). Build on what you know by the Spirit to be true about God.
Elder Uchtdorf concludes: “… the work of patience boils down to this: keep the commandments; trust in God, our Heavenly Father; serve Him with meekness and Christlike love; exercise faith and hope in the Savior; and never give up. The lessons we learn from patience will cultivate our character, lift our lives, and heighten our happiness. They will help us to become worthy priesthood bearers and faithful disciples of our Master, Jesus Christ.”
May the Lord continue to bless us patience as we strive to gather Israel on both sides of the veil.