Friday, August 12, 2016

All About Mormon Missionaries

Why do Mormons go on missions?
I imagine that the individual answers you'd get to this question would vary wildly from person to person, but ultimately the purpose for missionary service is to bring the light of the gospel of Jesus Christ to people, wherever they are in the world.

Why did Cami choose to go? 
It wasn't an easy decision for Cami to make, but in the end she felt absolutely peaceful that this was what she was supposed to do.   Even when life got a little complicated (in a happy way), she never wavered about whether she was supposed to go.    Her reasons for going included:  
1.   She really felt like the Lord wanted her to serve a mission.   2.  She genuinely wanted the opportunity to serve.   3.  She loves people and wanted to share the light of the gospel with others, so that they can share in the same peace and happiness that having the gospel perspective brings to her life.    

Do Mormons have to serve a mission?
Absolutely not!   Young people are encouraged to go, but ultimately it is up to the individual to pray and make the decision that is right for them.  Glen went on a mission to England.  I chose not to serve a mission.  Neither of us has any regrets about our decision.

What do missionaries do on their missions?
The main purpose of a mission is to love and serve the people in the area where they are serving.    This sometimes means knocking on doors and finding people to share the great news of the gospel with, but often it just means rolling up their sleeves and working alongside the people.   On Glen's mission to England, he met people from all over the world, taught them about the gospel of Jesus Christ and served and loved with all his heart. Some listened to the message he shared, some didn't, but he treasures his experiences there.

How many missionaries are there in the world?
According to Mormon Newsroom, 74,079 missionaries serving in 418 missions.  

What's the big deal with the Book of Mormon? 
The Book of Mormon is a powerful testament of Jesus Christ, that complements the Bible beautifully.     Whereas the Bible testifies of the people of the Middle East and of Jesus Christ's life and mission there, the Book of Mormon is a record of the people in the Americas and Christ's visit there after His resurrection.

What does the Book of Mormon say?
Here is a quote from the Book of Mormon that sums things up well:    "And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins."  
2 Nephi 25:26

How do they decide where each missionary will go on their mission?  
Before serving a mission, each prospective missionary fills out a bunch of paperwork indicating their strengths, weaknesses, language skills,  preferences, health issues,  etc.    They also go to doctors, dentists, their ecclesiastical leaders, who all share information as well.   From there the papers are sent in to church leaders and reviewed, whereupon each missionary is assigned to a specific mission by the head of our church, who we believe is a prophet of God on the earth today.   The actual missionary has no say in where they go, but we believe that each missionary is sent where they are most needed.  

How much do they get paid for being on a mission? 
Nothing.   Not only do they NOT get paid anything, but missionaries and their families pay for their own expenses, as well as a monthly amount to be on their missions.   It is a sacrifice to serve a mission.

How old do you have to be to serve a mission? 
Boys can go when they are 18 and have graduated from high school.  Girls can go when they are 19.

How long do they go? 
Boys usually serve for 24-months.  Girls usually serve for 18-months.  Senior couple missionaries serve 1-3 years.

Why do missionaries have to live by such strict rules?  
The rules of missionary life can seem excessive to an outsider, but the rules are there to help them to stay focused and disciplined on their task at hand, which is bringing the light of Christ unto the world.   They put aside their schooling, dating lives, technology, and focus on doing good.  Each missionary spends the first couple hours every morning studying the native language of the area they are serving in and study and reflect on the scriptures and the life of Jesus Christ.  A missionary's life is meant to be simple and unfettered from the pressures and distractions that often overwhelm young adults in that phase of life.

How often can they call or write home?
They can write letters and emails once a week on their P-day (short for Preparation Day).  In the MTC Cami's P-day is on Fridays.  Once she's in France, it will be on Mondays.
They can call home twice per year--once on Christmas Day and once on Mother's Day.

Quote from Cami about serving a mission:
"Inspiration can sometimes come from unexpected places. Recently I watched the movie, "The BFG," with my cousins, when the giant said something that really resonated with me. For those of you unfamiliar with the story of the BFG, it is about a big friendly giant who blows happy dreams into the windows of sleeping children at night. There are nine other giants who go out and snatch children out of their beds and eat them.

When a little girl discovers the BFG and asks what he is going to do, he says: “I be going dream blowing. It be as good as I can do.”

The BFG is living in a world where he was forced to watch helplessly as nine other giants go off and ate children. But instead of just watching, he blew dreams, because it was “as good as he could do,” to combat the evil in the world at the time.

A mission is not something you do, it is something you become. In the words of Elder Bednar (one of our church leaders): Plenty of people go on missions, but never become missionaries. Becoming a missionary doesn’t always mean serving a full time mission, it means simply doing “the most good you can” in whatever stage of life you are in."

Any more questions about missionary life or about Mormons?  
You can call, email, or text me anytime.    Or write Cami an email (address on side of blog).  She'll love to hear from you and for the opportunity to answer your questions.

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