Cover image via ChurchofJesusChrist.org.
Have you ever wondered why you are in this branch, this ward, this district, this stake, this mission, this town, this city, or this country at this time? We know that wherever we are, we are participating in the gathering of Israel on both sides of the veil in these last days. We know we are hastening the work. We know we are preparing for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. That is the big picture. How did we get to where we are right now?
I was converted and baptized at age 21. Then I was called to serve in the France-Switzerland Mission in 1974-1976. I was called to serve far from home. I was called to live in a foreign country. I was called to learn a new language. What did the Lord want me to do? What did he want me to learn? In our mission, the growth of the church was slow. The average number of baptisms per missionary in two years was two baptisms. Of course, the success of a mission is not based on the number of baptisms. We wondered if there would ever be enough members in France to have a temple. Now they have a temple!
The Lord knows the end from the beginning. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9)
Personally, I never questioned my call to serve. I knew I was called by a prophet. I never imagined that learning French would also provide me an opportunity to serve French-speaking missionaries 46 years later in Africa. But the Lord knew.
How about you? As you serve, what is the Lord teaching you? How is he preparing you? Who are the people that you will meet that will be a blessing in your life? Who will you meet that you can serve and be a blessing in their lives? Where will He use your experiences and provide more opportunities to serve in 5 or 10 or 20 years from now? How will that bless your life now, in the future, and eternally?
There are many words from the scriptures and from modern day prophets and apostles that motivate us to learn and to serve: “Here am I, send me. Not my will but thy will be done. I will go and do. Stay on the covenant path. Line upon line, precept upon precept. Whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it. Look unto me in every thought; doubt not, fear not. Love one another. Return with honor. All these things shall give thee experience and shall be for thy good. Let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power; and then we may stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed.”
Elder S. Gifford Nielsen of the Seventy said “When we hear stories of God’s mighty servants who came before us—like Moses, Mary, Moroni, Alma, Esther, Joseph, and many others—they seem bigger than life. But they were not that different from us. They were regular people who faced challenges. They trusted the Lord. They made the right choices at pivotal moments. And, with faith in Jesus Christ, they performed the works required in their time.” (General Conference, April 2021).
Shortly after becoming President of the Church, President Russell M. Nelson said: “Our Savior and Redeemer, Jesus Christ, will perform some of His mightiest works between now and when He comes again. We will see miraculous indications that God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, preside over this Church in majesty and glory” (“Revelation for the Church, Revelation for Our Lives,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2018, 96).
May the Lord continue to bless us wherever we are as we participate in His work.
[Note: The ideas and suggestions contained in these articles are not intended as a substitute for consultation with a qualified mental health professional. In addition, if you are experiencing thoughts of self-harm or suicide, please seek medical or mental health assistance immediately. In the U.S., call or text 988 to reach the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline, available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Or use the Lifeline Chat at 988lifeline.org/chat/. Services are free and confidential.]