Monday, May 7, 2012

Why There are Missions

So, I had a very cool experience this last weekend. It involves some of the missionaries that taught my family. Oh yeah, also if you didn't know, I'm a member of the LDS church.

Let me give you a little bit of background. You see, both my parents were sort-of Catholics, which meant we went to mass on big holidays, mainly Christmas and Easter. I was taught very spiritual principles from a young age though. I could bust out the Lord's Prayer faster than the alphabet. My grandmother gave me a cross that I cherished, I had a small statue of the Virgin Mary I kept in my room, and I remember wondering many times about the nature of God, the purpose of life, etc. Well, insofar as an elementary school student can delve into these questions. Then, one Sunday in October, our whole family was in the backyard raking up leaves and we hear a knock on the fence. There were two guys standing there in suits who both had the first name "Elder". I can remember this like it was yesterday. We invited them to come back later that week (since we were all covered in leaves).

Well anyway, it took us a while, but eventually we all joined the LDS church and my whole family has stayed active since. My brother served a mission, and I graduated from BYU. I have often thought about the missionaries that taught us. I could remember their faces, their spirit, their sincerity and hard work. But I could not remember their names and I had no idea where they were or what they were doing. I guess part of me also didn't even think that teaching and baptizing my family was something they'd remember very well so long after it had happened. Well, I went several years thinking about getting ahold of the missionaries, but never really trying very hard. Then, a couple weeks ago, a friend told me I really should do it, that it would be something that the former missionaries would really appreciate, and that I should start off looking for the mission president at the time and go from there. I thought that was a great idea... but I kept telling myself I'd do it later (which, if you've ever changed my car's oil, you know that for me 'later' means up to 8 months in the future). It did keep nagging at me though. It wasn't until the CES devotional, which was held up by the Sacramento temple, my temple, that I suddenly realized it was something I really needed to do, like now.

So, I went on the internet, and within 10 minutes I found a way to contact the one missionary whose name I remembered. The one who was there working with my family the longest. I sent him a message, just kind of updating how we all were and saying thank you. I did get a little sentimental, I'll admit. I'm kind of a huge sap that way. A few hours later, I got an email back from him saying how he'd been trying to find contact information for years on my family, how he wanted to take his family down to his old mission and to meet mine, and how he thought about and spoke about us often. I can't tell you how awesome this was to hear. If you have been on a mission or even just touched someone's life, let them know what it meant to you too. That's the fabulous thing about doing something for someone else. Not only do you help them out, but they help you too. If it was something big enough, take the time to let them know how much that opportunity to serve has effected your life too. I originally thought that getting in contact with our missionaries was something nice I could do for them, but it ended up being very meaningful to me.

Getting Sealed at the Oakland Temple
I apologize for the cheese, it's my dad's birthday so maybe my emotional side is coming out.