“I know every worthy and able young man should serve a mission. But I have no desire to serve. How can I gain that desire?”
You can do many things to gain a desire to serve. First, you can pray for this desire (see 3 Nephi 19:24). Since a mission call comes from the Lord, He can bless you with the desire to fulfill that calling.
Strengthen your own testimony and conversion. Notice what happened to people in the scriptures after they were converted. Paul, Enos, Alma, and the sons of Mosiah wanted to share the gospel only after they gained testimonies and had a change of heart.
Consider serving simply because you love the Lord and because the gospel brings you so many blessings. Most likely, you will become more excited about a mission as you think about your love and gratitude toward Him.
Find out what a mission is like. Ask current and returned missionaries why they went on a mission and what they experienced. President Gordon B. Hinckley said, “What appears today to be a sacrifice will prove instead to be the greatest investment that you will ever make” (“The Question of a Mission,” Ensign, May 1986, 41).
Elders and sisters come home from their missions more confident, converted, and committed. They are more knowledgeable about the gospel, life, and relationships. A mission prepares them for school, work, marriage, and future Church service. They’ve learned how to work hard, pray with faith, and teach by the Spirit. They’ve learned that joy comes from service and that the gospel brings people happiness.
“Sometimes people ask me challenging questions about the Church, and I’m not sure how to answer them. How should I respond?”
Whether people are asking a sincere question or are just trying to upset you, your response should always be honest and genuine. Don’t be defensive or argumentative.
If they ask about something you don’t know much about, just tell them what you do know, along with a simple, humble testimony to help them feel the Spirit. Or if you want to give a quick answer that will lead them to more information, visit www.mormon.org with them, which gives straightforward answers to many common questions.
Be honest about the things you don’t know, but tell them that you can find out. If people are interested in finding out about the Church, they won’t mind waiting for an answer. If they’re really interested, go ahead and offer to arrange a meeting with the missionaries.
People have been asking challenging questions about the Church practically since the day it was founded. You’re not the only one who has had to deal with them. Talk to your parents, your bishop, the full-time missionaries, or other members. They’ll either know how to answer or where to look for an answer. A couple of good resources you can look up on your own are: Preach My Gospel, which can help you learn how to talk to people, and the book True to the Faith, which contains basic information about a wide variety of Church topics.
Often people have simply heard strange things about the Church and just want to know whether they are accurate. You can reassure them by telling them about life in the Church as you know it—the fun, the love, the caring, and the spiritual growth you have experienced. Let them know how being a Latter-day Saint has helped you draw close to Jesus Christ.
“My best friend doesn’t want to know anything about the Church, but I want to tell him more. How can I do that without making him upset?”
First and foremost, love him for who he is. If he’s your best friend, then he probably won’t be upset if you share your deep feelings with him. Maybe the time isn’t right now, but he could come around in the future. Don’t give up on him, and remember to always be a good example.
When the time is right, you can invite him to Church meetings, youth activities, or family home evening. You can also share a copy of the Book of Mormon with him. If he has more questions than you can answer, ask him to look at www.mormon.org, or invite him to your house to visit with the missionaries. There are many ways to tell him more about the gospel. You can ask your local full-time missionaries for more ideas, too.
Heavenly Father knows what you need to do about your friend. Pray and ask Him for guidance. (See 3 Nephi 14:7–8.)