My mission companion left her camera sitting on the table next to me. I was delighted. Whenever she got hold of my camera, she would take random, funny pictures for me to find later. Now it was my turn.
I was a young missionary. I was in a new area but serving with a companion I knew well from the missionary training center. We were attending a branch family home evening with some investigators. Lots of people had been taking pictures of the games, including my companion. I picked up her camera and turned it on. I was sitting by a whiteboard, so I decided to write my companion a note and take a picture of it. Using our mission language of Czech, I was about to write “Jsi bláznivá!” meaning, “You’re crazy!” I knew she would take it as a joke. But something stopped me. I was a representative of Jesus Christ. I didn’t want anyone to misinterpret my actions. So I wrote instead, “Jsi úžasná!” meaning, “You’re amazing!” I took a picture, erased the message, and set the camera back down.
As I turned back to the game, I caught the eye of one of our investigators. He had been watching me the whole time. He smiled his approval.
Throughout my mission, I tried to be aware of my actions and act as a representative of Christ. I often gave up my seat on public transportation. One companion taught me to notice mothers with strollers in the Prague subway. None of them ever refused help in carrying a stroller up the stairs and out of the subway. I made a conscious effort to thank others for little things they did to serve, and I avoided negative remarks.
In my last area on my mission, I had another experience that caught me off guard. My companion and I were speaking to a man on the street when a lady tripped on the cobblestone and fell nearby. Without thinking, we both turned to her and took a step forward to see if she needed help. She quickly stood up and walked away unhurt, so we turned back to the man and continued our conversation. He asked a question that surprised me. “As soon as that young woman fell down,” he said, “you both turned to help her. It was your natural reaction. A lot of people don’t do that. Why do you? And why don’t we?”
These experiences taught me about being a disciple of Christ and serving others in love. On my mission, I spent a year and a half focusing on being more Christlike. And it changed me. What started as conscious choices became second nature. I started out trying to act more like Christ. In the end, I was becoming more like Christ.
The Savior’s Example
“Jesus loved all and He served all. Centering our lives on Jesus Christ will help us acquire this attribute of benevolence. For us to develop these same Christlike attributes, we must learn about the Savior and ‘follow in His ways.’”
Mary N. Cook, first counselor in the Young Women general presidency, “‘Remember This: Kindness Begins with Me,’” Ensign, May 2011, 118–19.