A lot of people wonder why someone who is in the middle of their college career would abandon school and work to travel to an unknown place and serve the people for a year and a half. The answer to this query is different for and personal to every missionary of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I will try to express some of the feelings and commitments that I have made that led me to the decision to serve.
I am choosing to serve because of my testimony of Jesus Christ. Through all the vacillations in my life, one thing that has always remained constant is my belief in Jesus Christ and gratitude for His atoning sacrifice. During Winter Semester 2013, I took a New Testament class at BYU. I studied the life of Jesus Christ and his works when he walked among men. I realized that he spent his entire mortal life ministering not only to his people but also to the Samaritans, the Gentiles, the sinners and anyone who would come unto him. I want to become like Jesus Christ by serving God's children.
I know that it is through the atonement of Jesus Christ that we can repent and return to the presence of God. One of my favorite scriptures is found in the Old Testament in Isaiah 53:3-5, which states "He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed."
I love what these verses teach about the Savior. A lifetime of service culminated by Jesus offering himself as a sacrifice for sin. I know that he suffered personally for each of us in the garden of Gethsemane and that he overcame death on the cross. I will forever be grateful for this selfless act of service.
I also have a testimony of the Book of Mormon. I have read it and prayed to know for myself if it is true, and I received that witness through the Holy Ghost bringing a peaceful feeling to my heart and a surety of truth in my mind and in my heart. I have also prayed to know that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God and I witness that he is. He translated the Book of Mormon through power given him from God. I testify that there is a living prophet on the earth today named Thomas S. Monson. I know that families can be together forever and I am so grateful for that because I love my family and want to be with them for eternity.
My testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ is the reason I am going on a mission. I want to share the precious gift that I have. It is the most valuable possession I have and the most worthwhile gift I can share. I have come to this knowledge through study and personal prayer and I know that God will witness the truth to anyone that seeks it.
The introduction to the Book of Mormon contains this invitation that I would like to share:
"We invite all men everywhere to read the Book of Mormon, to ponder in their hearts the message it contains, and then to ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ if the book is true. Those who pursue this course and ask in faith will gain a testimony of its truth and divinity by the power of the Holy Ghost. Those who gain this divine witness from the Holy Spirit will also come to know by the same power that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world, that Joseph Smith is his revelator and prophet in these last days, and that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the Lord's kingdom once again established on the earth, preparatory to the second coming of the Messiah."
This is a true promise and it has blessed my life more than I can express. The promise is there for you too.