Many of the readers of Elder Smith's blog are parents of LDS missionaries or close friends and family from an LDS background. But I often wonder how many of you are not. How many of you wonder why we as parents would send our son to a third world country to live amongst the people living in the harshest and most humble of conditions? Why would a 19 year old young man put off his college education, his social life with friends, leave behind his girlfriend, and all the comforts of home to serve a mission for his church?
It's a little hard to explain because so much of it has to do with faith. And faith is a belief or knowledge in something yet unseen. It's hard to put into words. Yet faith is also strengthened by experiences and feelings that are undeniable and become a testimony. Around 50 years ago, two young missionaries knocked on the doors of my grandparent's home in Sao Paulo Brazil and two others found my young, newly widowed grandmother in Guatemala City with her 3 young children. Their message changed the eternal course of my family forever. My parents both joined the church as teenagers, both moved to the United States, met in California, and started an eternal family which I was blessed to join a few years later. I'm so thankful for them and all they have done and continue to do for me!
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is a way of life for me and my family. It always has been. The gospel is the cornerstone of our daily life and it is what gives us strength, hope, happiness, and purpose in this life. How thankful I am to know that we have a living prophet today who receives direct counsel from our Heavenly Father to guide and direct us. How thankful I am to live in a day where I can learn and study and be blessed by the truths and teachings found in the Bible and in the Book of Mormon. How thankful I am to be blessed with the priesthood of God presiding in our home to bless and strengthen us. I believe in Jesus Christ. I believe that He is our Savior and our Redeemer. I believe that all of the keys and authority to lead His church were restored through our prophet Joseph Smith. I believe that through Christ's Atonement we can be saved and live with our families forever if we serve Him and obey His commandments and serve our fellowmen. And how thankful I am to be able to personally witness the blessings and miracles that come to a missionary and his family because of dedicated service and sacrifice.
Sometimes it's hard to have Jordan gone. Some days we REALLY miss him so much that it hurts. Most of the time each of us feels that our home is empty and boring without him. I often catch my kids telling their friends about their brother's stories. Not a day goes by that Brendan and I don't talk about and worry about our son.
But we didn't send our son to Guatemala. The Lord did. He has a purpose for Jordan that only he can fulfill. I strongly believe that. Each missionary has a unique personality and set of strengths and weaknesses that help him/her connect with certain people. We feel so blessed that our son has made this decision in his life to dedicate two precious years to our Heavenly Father and be an instrument in His hands. Sometimes his message isn't received because so many people are just trying to get by and feed their families and live day to day that they can't worry or think about one more thing. But there are those who are searching. Those that feel that something is missing. There are those that know there must be more to this life than just merely surviving. That is why Jordan is out there. To find them and to help them and to teach them. And if this happens to be you, may I suggest that you pray to find out for yourself and ask if these things are not true.