Hi, I’m Aaron Pavlakos, and I served as a young Church-service missionary at the bishops’ storehouse near my home in Everett, Washington. I received my call about three years ago, and I’m so glad I made the choice to serve the Lord in this way!
When I came to the storehouse, I realized right away that they could use my organizational skills. I’ve always been really great at organization. You see, I have high-functioning autism, and I can just look at something and my brain will figure out the best way to sort and organize it.
Now, there’s a place for everything and everything is in its place. Things run smoothly around here, and that makes me feel good. All food cans are facing label-out, the shelves stay neatly stocked, and the back room is always squeaky clean. I can’t stand having clutter around! And serving here at the storehouse has allowed me to not only get better at organizing but also to use that talent to help others.
Serving as a young Church-service missionary has also helped me grow in so many ways as a person. Before my mission, it was really difficult for me to talk to people—especially people I didn’t know. But now I’m definitely a lot more comfortable with it. If I see someone that needs assistance, I just run over and help them. I never would have done that before my mission!
I think it’s safe to say that this experience has totally changed my life. I’ve been able to learn and do things that I never thought were possible for me. In fact, after my two years of missionary service were up, I signed on for more as a volunteer! My mom jokes that I would work at the storehouse forever if I could. And she’s probably right—I love it there.
I really enjoy driving the forklift, and they let me drive it a lot. Being able to work with the other people is pretty nice too. And I like organizing things. I’m pretty good at it.
But my favorite part of my mission?
I’d say it’s knowing that what I’m doing is helping other people in need. Making a difference in other people’s lives makes me feel really good.