Serving the Lord in our youth

  Lauren Townsend

  • 17 August 2012

The transformation of Zac as he prepared to serve his mission.   Image courtesy of Chris Flaxman (left) and Bradley Wood (right) and used with permission.

At the age of 19, Zac Wood, a professional wakeboarder with blonde dreadlocks, made the solemn decision to serve a mission. Zac was the face of the Rip Curl brand, but has now given up a lucrative two year contract with them for a more divine path.

Knowing his professional lifestyle was not always in harmony with church standards, Zac prayed about what he should do, and decided to meet with his bishop to discuss his situation. “I had the desire to go on a mission”, Zac said, “and I knew that there were things I needed to be doing at this time, more important than what I wanted to be doing. I believe that serving the Lord as a missionary is a way of giving thanks to Heavenly Father, in return for all that I have.” Zac has since been called to serve in the Australia Melbourne Mission.  

In April conference this year, Elder M. Russell Ballard said, “We can serve Heavenly Father’s children through missionary service - as missionaries, as friends and neighbours. Through our heartfelt kindness and service, we make friends with those whom we serve. Small and simple acts of kindness and service will accumulate into a life filled with love for Heavenly Father.”

With strong faith in the gospel of Jesus Christ, members of the Church have a responsibility to do missionary work, and are encouraged to share the gospel message and help prepare those who are not of our faith to be taught by full-time missionaries. There are other ways, even small ways, that missionary work can be done.

Emma Robinson, a diligent high school student in Western Sydney, participates in the Premier’s Volunteering Challenge, where participants are encouraged to perform a set amount of service at different levels. At Bronze level you complete 20 hours of volunteering, Silver requires 40 hours, Gold - 60 hours, Diamond - 80 hours, and the Black Opal level requires100+ hours of service. Emma completed 288 hours of serving her community and volunteering in schools, which resulted in her receiving a Student Volunteering Award.

One of the projects Emma chose to work with was the Samaritan’s Purse Charity. It involved a global Christmas gift exchange project called ‘Operation Christmas Child’. Shoeboxes are filled with toys, school supplies, personal items, and other gifts and are then collected to be distributed as gift boxes throughout 130 countries, for Christmas.  “My Mum, grandma and I made shorts, pants, bags and gathered other things as well for the gift boxes. I’ve been brought up to serve, and if I have the opportunity to serve, I grasp it. It’s good to be able to help people and see their reaction and how it brings a smile to their faces.”

President Gordon B. Hinckley noted that members of the Church who serve others, are a great family bound together in a unity of love and faith. “Our blessing is great”, he said “as a people and as individuals. We carry in our hearts a firm and unshakable conviction of the divine mission of the Lord Jesus Christ.”