Conquering the Unexpected
When new missionaries arrive in Rome, there is a feeling of great excitement and zeal for the work. Sometime during the first or second transfer (sometimes the third), they start saying how hard a mission is and that it isn’t what they expected. In addition, there is always the inevitable bout of home sickness.
A recent article stated we can compare these times to the Zion’s Camp that the early saints experienced. It was a difficult assignment and many of the saints complained. They experienced all kinds of challenges including hunger, fatigue and illness. Many of them wished they had never gone on the trek.
Zion’s Camp was not what those involved expected. Your mission is obviously much different than some of the preconceived expectations you had before you came.
In our day we have difficult times, too. In our mission we have had experiences with persecution, physical trials, illness, temptations on the internet and by Satan’s angel’s, family problems at home, loss of scholarships, loss of employment, missed weddings, births, ordinations, and baptisms, and mental struggles that have tried and tested many.
We believe these trials, like those of Zion’s Camp, are refining you. You are the future leaders of the mission and of the Church. From your ranks we will see future elder’s quorum presidents, relief society presidents, youth leaders, bishops, stake presidents, and general authorities. You will become patriarchs and strong teachers.
After withstanding the trials of a mission, you will be blessed with temple marriages and become loving fathers and mothers.
For those who complete honorable missions, we echo the statement of Joseph Smith to the members of Zion’s Camp “The Lord has accepted our sacrifice and offering, even as he had Abraham’s when he offered his son Isaac”. And like Joseph Smith, we ask Heavenly Father to “ bless us with eternal life and salvation”.
In the end, Zion’s Camp was a refiner’s fire. Many of the soldiers involved grew spiritually and became great leaders in the church. Nine of the original Apostles, all seven presidents of the Seventy’s quorum, and all sixty-three other members of that quorum had all served in the army of Israel that marched to western Missouri in 1834. Instead of giving up, complaining all the time, or losing their testimonies, they put their trust in God, met the challenges, and endured to the end.
As a mission, we have accomplished much, and we will accomplish even more. May the Lord bless you and protect you as He always has His worthy saints.
Presidente and Sorella Waddoups