Missions are all about change. The initial change of leaving home, family, and friends. The changes to lifestyle. The changes to … well, just about everything from how you dress to how you interact with others!
In addition to these initial changes, there are changes every six weeks in the field. Every six weeks, your heart beats a little faster and you breathe a little quicker, wondering what this transfer will bring to your life. Will you stay in the same location, working with individuals who you have grown to love? Or will you be moved to a new area?
Will you get a new companion, or will President know how much you desperately need your current companion and let you stay together? Will you be asked to be a senior companion, or to … gulp! … train a new missionary?!? There are so many possibilities every six weeks!
Change can be wonderful—like when you change out of sweat-filled clothing, take a shower, and slip into fresh, clean clothing.
Change is also hard. It often makes us feel uncomfortable. We experience ourselves in new situations, causing us to see ourselves differently. Sometimes a new experience will help us to realize potential and talents we didn’t know we possessed. Being senior companion might help us to step up how much we speak during a teaching appointment and we realize that we are actually pretty good at teaching! Serving in a new area might help us to realize that we have hidden skills at making fresh introductions!
However, change may also cause us to see qualities about ourselves that we don’t like. The realization sinks in that we may need to make additional changes—only these ones will be within, and that is also hard. Perhaps we realize that we need to work on patience and compassion when we discover that we’re quite judgemental in our thoughts.
These changes to our mindsets and how we look at others are often the hardest changes to make, yet no one sees the efforts, only the eventual results.
Both the good and the bad are why the Lord has us make changes to our lives frequently within His kingdom. A mission is similar to post-mission life.
You’re going along, minding your own business, when the bishop calls you in to ask you to serve in a new calling, doing something completely out of your comfort zone. Believe me, I have served in several callings that were way, way out of my comfort zone. I would never have voluntarily done these things without the Lord asking me through His chosen servants.
Do you embrace change? If so, good on you! You are one of those wonderful individuals who understand what some of us struggle with—change helps us improve.
Unfortunately, many of us often cling to our old, comfortable, and perhaps smelly old ways. We LIKE knowing what to expect. We like knowing where we fit and how we relate. Upending everything, just when it’s become routine is not our favorite activity.
But it is necessary.
Just as each new spring brings new growth to plants, each new change brings growth to our lives. We might need to prune and dig around ourselves a bit, and that can hard, but the Lord only ever asks us to do things for our own good.
The next time the Lord asks you to make a change in your life, whether on a mission or no, remember that all things work together for the good of those who love the Lord. Maybe you won’t rush excitedly into the change with arms wide open, ready to embrace the possibilities with abandon … but perhaps you won’t run the other way either!
Growing up all over the world gave Emlee Taylor an opportunity to see the incredible differences the Lord created in humanity; and even better, the passions we all share as members of the human race: love for family, faith, & a desire to make a difference. Emlee lives life with passion—focusing her time now on raising four children and teaching them to recognize truth and to live true to that truth, regardless of others’ expectations. Emlee is passionately in love with her bestest friend and husband of more than 20 years.