This must be my day for all things military since I just posted about the Army of Helaman. Probably because Veteran’s day is just around the corner. It is what I feel prompted to write today so hang in there.
When my active duty husband left to go for an extended military training he received a special blessing from our Stake President. At the time, my husband was serving in the Bishopric of our ward. Since my husband was going to be gone for over six months he needed to be released so our Stake President was in attendance at our Sacrament meeting that Sunday. As is customary in our ward when any member of the Stake Presidency is in attendance, he is usually given a few minutes to speak towards the end of the service. On this occasion our Stake President also gave the closing prayer. It was in this prayer that he asked for one of the most special blessings that I’ve ever heard for my husband.
You should know that our Stake President is a veteran. He served in Vietnam as a young man so he is fully aware of the kind of environment that the military can be. In his prayer, he asked our Heavenly Father to bless my husband so that “he would be strong, that he would be able to withstand the many temptations that will be thrust upon him, that he would remember who he was, that he would be a soldier for the Lord, and that he would return with honor to his family.” I believe everyone that was in attendance that day felt the power of that blessing. I know I certainly did.
During the months that followed, my husband would call me frequently and talk to me about this blessing. He talked about how the words of this prayer came to him when he needed it the most. He talked about the many temptations that were indeed placed in his path but he never once wavered. Tempations such as inappropriate movies on television or on the Internet. Tempations such as his soldier buddies asking that he go with them to places that he knew would be offensive to the Lord. Temptations such as forgoing Sunday worship because he was so tired from having to train all night long the night before. Tempations such as being a party to foul language and humor.
He did return with honor. He was and still to this day a soldier for the Lord just as much as he is a soldier for his country. He really is my very own Captain Moroni!
What’s my point? My point is that all of you who serve in the military can all be soldiers for the Lord. The environment and circumstances you find yourselves in are not always going to be ideal. They are not always going to be conducive to the Spirit. However, if you remember to rely on the Lord and to remain strong in the path of righteousness, you too can return with honor. Some of our General Authorities are veterans. They are men who served their country well. They did so without sacrificing their values and their beliefs in the gospel and in Christ. Look to them for guidance and inspiration.
In a message specifically for those in the military, President Hinckley said, “Your example will become a quiet and powerful testimony of the convictions of your heart. There are thousands of members of the Church today because of the example of men in the service. We have a mission in Europe which is responsible for the work in the Mediterranean. We noticed the converts suddenly increased tremendously in numbers in that mission. And one of the brethren who was responsible for that area came back and gave a glowing report on how the converts had increased in that mission. We did a little checking and discovered that 90 percent of the converts that were made in that mission when things took a surge were made by our brethren in the service who were on military bases in the areas for which this mission was responsible.”
This coming Monday we will officially remember all our veterans who gave so much for the freedoms that we all enjoy. I thank you, you’ve given me a gift that I can never repay you for. Those of you who are now serving in the military, I thank you also for your courage and love. Whether you are a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or of another faith, I pray that our God, who loves us all, protect and bless you and yours.