While full-time missionaries of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and bicycles have been linked for decades, missionaries currently in training can liken their preparation and service to learning to ride a bike.
Relief Society General President Jean B. Bingham reminded training missionaries of their wobbling, imbalance, falls, limited confidence and hesitancy when first learning to ride a bicycle. Improvement meant worrying less about mechanics and paying more attention to where one was going. Other joys came in going to more places, riding faster and experiencing the thrill of racing down a hill.
But learning to ride also meant struggling to go up a hill, having the chain slip off the gear wheel and facing other challenges — some fixed by one’s own self, and others needing expert repairs.
“Each of you are metaphorically getting on your bicycle as you begin your mission service,” said President Bingham, speaking at a Tuesday, Feb. 22, devotional in the Provo Missionary Training Center. Brother Bruce Bingham also spoke during the devotional, which will be broadcast to MTCs worldwide and be available to all full-time missionaries on their online portal.
New missionaries first concentrate on the “hows” — of language, contacting, teaching, cuisine and culture. “As you gain experience, you’ll understand that you don’t have to know all the answers at once, and that the Holy Ghost will prompt you to respond in loving, even miraculous, ways,” she said.
With increased experience and growth, “your missionary service will become joyous to you, even as if you were flying effortlessly down a hill with the wind of success in your face,” she said. And other days will seem like trying to cycle uphill — or walk the bike up the hill — as illness, homesickness, rejection and fatigue hit.
“All of these ‘learning opportunities’ that none of us would choose are inevitable and essential components of spiritual growth,” she added.