21990_000_006Answers are intended for help and perspective, not as pronouncements of Church doctrine.
How can I help my friends understand why I want to serve a mission?
As a member of the Church, you may sometimes find it difficult to explain to others why you do certain things. People often mistakenly see the Lord’s commandments as restrictive and harsh. Of course, we know that obeying the commandments brings happiness, growth, and protection.
The first step in explaining a mission to your friends is to tell them how important the gospel is in your life. Do you know of interests or activities your friends spend a lot of time on? Perhaps they are excellent students, athletes, or artists. Explain to them that just as they spend time studying, rehearsing, or practicing, you devote time to the Church. If appropriate, bear your testimony. Tell them that going on a mission is an expression of your commitment to the Lord and His gospel and of your desire to help others know the truth.
Next you could explain that while personal benefits are not the reason you are going on a mission, they come as an added blessing. Returned missionaries usually speak of things they learned, such as discipline, hard work, getting along with others, budgeting, and perseverance. Tell your friends that many missionaries also learn another language and live in another country. Most people would consider these experiences educational.
Most returned missionaries are enthusiastic about their missions and are eager to share their experiences. Your friends may be curious about what mission life is like. Meeting a returned missionary would allow them to see that most missionaries are grateful for the sacrifices they made and the blessings they received.
Take opportunities to be happy and positive in response to gospel questions. Show others that you are excited about being a full-time missionary in the future by being a member missionary now.
I tell my friends that I became acquainted with the Church through the missionaries. I tell them that missionary work is the way the Lord’s gospel light is dispersed among the people—and that it is a great blessing to be involved in this labor of love. I tell them that I love them and all people throughout the world, and I want everyone to have the opportunity to receive the blessings of the gospel. I tell them about the indescribable joy that comes if you are able to help even one person (see D&C 18:15–16).
Arnis Kanlinsh, Riga Central Branch, Riga Latvia District
A mission is a blessing for anyone who serves, because missions help us learn more of the gospel. But the greatest blessing is to help in bringing souls to Christ.
Tahia Mou-Fa, Uturoa Ward, Raromatai Tahiti Stake
With the help of the Holy Ghost, your love, faith, and testimony of the gospel will radiate in your countenance. Let those around you know that your source of happiness is the gospel, and the reason you want to be a missionary is to teach others how to obtain that same happiness.
Chiang Ya-Lin, Kaohsiung Sixth Ward, Kaohsiung Taiwan Stake
Tell your friends that all of us are brothers and sisters and you are going on a mission because you want to help people who don’t know the gospel. Pray that Heavenly Father will help your friends understand.
Yekaterina Rodionova, St. Petersburg Tsentralny Branch, St. Petersburg Russia North District
The only way I can help my friends understand why I want to serve a mission is to show them the changes that have happened in my life since I came to know the gospel.
Many missionaries have told me that a mission brings many blessings. Before they left, Heavenly Father gave them a lot of blessings, and they thought that when they went on a mission they would be paying Him back. But on their missions He gave them many more blessings.
Yuliia Ihorivna Kosarets’ka, Poltava Tsentralny Branch, Ukraine Donetsk Mission
My boss, classmates, neighbors, and relatives thought it was absurd for me to abandon work, studies, and family to teach of Jesus Christ. They became even more concerned when they learned I would not be paid for doing this.
I asked the Lord for help. I began to ask people: “What is the purpose of life? Why are we here? Where are we going?” I bore my testimony of the plan of salvation. I explained that many children of God are waiting for answers to these questions.
Elder Carlos Eduardo Faria Boato, Brazil Maceió Mission
As I humbly prayed to God to soften my friends’ hearts, I shared my testimony about the Church, my feelings about the Book of Mormon, and my great desire to participate in the Lord’s work. As a result, some friends began to investigate the Church.
May J. Ticong, Lanang Ward, Davao Philippines Buhangin Stake
At a good-bye party I shared my reasons for going on a mission. As I finished, my friends shed tears. I believe they were touched by the Spirit of the Lord. Today some of them are serving missions. Others are investigating the Church.
Elder Mark Amiang, Nigeria Lagos Mission
My friend Eliana and I had our school and career plans made. But as I prayed about a mission, my prayers were answered in the affirmative. I told Eliana what the gospel had done for me. The influence of the Holy Ghost, which accompanied my simple testimony, helped her understand.
Sister Evelín Álvarez, Perú Trujillo Mission
I explained how the gospel of Jesus Christ transformed my life and how I first heard about it from missionaries who had left everything behind to share these truths. I told my friends it was my turn to share the joy of the gospel.
Elder Roberto Pacheco, Perú Lima Central Mission
Opportunities arose during high school to explain why I was planning to serve a mission and its importance in my life and in the lives of people I was going to meet. I even distributed Church literature that helped my classmates understand the great importance of missionary service.
Elder Humberto Martins de Araújo Jr., Brazil Curitiba Mission
Certain things helped me bring my friends to an understanding of missions: prayer, the scriptures, and experiences I shared of witnessing changes in the lives of Heavenly Father’s children.
Benjamin Mulambo Wa Mulambo, Binza Ward, Kinshasa Democratic Republic of Congo Stake