Monday, October 8, 2012

8 October 2012 Letter (Szombathely)

This week I decided to write about many of the benefits and changes I have experienced and noticed during my mission.  (I’m sure there are many that I haven’t noticed as well).  While there might be too many to list, and while there will definitely be some I forget, I hope the email from this week will help you see some of the many personal benefits one received by serving a mission (granted, some of these might not apply to everyone, such as a second language).

On my mission, I have learned how to better plan.  I’ve always considered myself a fairly effective planner, but on a mission, one becomes concerned daily about making sure that one remembers everything, and doesn’t miss or postpone anything important.  I have developed many healthy habits, such as learning better cooking and laundry skills.  On a mission one makes and breaks many habits.  I feel that each missionary comes on their mission with some habits they wish to get rid of, and on their mission tries to replace them with better routines.

I have learned how to better deal with stress, and cope while under stress; as well as how to reduce it.  I have become a better budgeter.  On a mission, one deeply studies all of the basic gospel principles and fundamentals.  As you teach them every day they become engrained in your mind, heart, and soul.  You learn how to teach each them simply and clearly, and as you do so, you learn how to embed them into your life with that same clarity.  On my mission, I have better learned how to study.

I have also become more appreciative of friends and family.  (“Absence [does indeed] make the heart grow fonder”).  I have learned how to be stuck to someone 24/7 and have good teamwork with them, communicate better, increase my social skills, and have prepared to one day be a better spouse and parent.

I have learned a second language; had my testimony strengthened; and increased in knowledge.  I have had a shift in values, the many of the earthly, temporary things losing their attraction, and eternal things increasing in status.  I have moved out of my comfort zone time after time again, stretching myself.  I have learned how to appreciate a fully operating Ward and Stake.  I have seen differences between our Gospel and the other churches of the world.  I have learned how to better prioritize and spend more time on those things that matter most.  I have also learned how to better serve others.

I have learned “why every young man should serve a full-time mission.”  As one serves a mission, they come to realize that there is great “worth” in being “worthy”.

Due to the events of these past two days, aka General Conference, I must write that I had already decided to do this and thought about this throughout the week.  It was a great surprise to me, as I’m sure it was to everyone else in the world, to hear about the change of the age-eligibility limits of missionaries.  I guess now this would also apply a lot more to both genders.  The change in missionary age limits has already begun to affect my life in a very personal way.  Already I am hearing of some of my female friends seeking out calls to serve.  For any that do, it will be 3-4 years before I see any of them again…  That missionary communication gap just doubled.

In conclusion, I would re-emphasize that a mission, just like the gospel, isn’t just about doing, it is about becoming.  And my mission really has proven to me that it has been the “best two years for my life.”

That’s it for this week.  If any of you need anything in the meantime, “Ask the missionaries… they can help you.”

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