Hey everyone, this is Meghan with the Latter-Day Disciples podcast. I’m excited to come at you with a solo episode today, we haven’t had one in a little while. First off, I want to say happy birthday to my daughter today. She’s turning seven, which is crazy and exciting. And for our episode today, as I’ve been seeking revelation on what to talk about, it struck me that yesterday, April 3rd was the 10th anniversary of me leaving on my mission and going to the missionary training center ahead of my mission to Japan and I wanted to honor this occasion, this event, while also illustrating some true principles from my experience that I believe will be helpful in our collective and individual journeys to becoming what I call a true Latter-Day Disciple.
Something that I think was interesting and unique for me, at that time, was that pretty soon after leaving on my mission, having been set apart, having gone into the MTC I came to know really quickly that I wasn’t actually a missionary yet. And that was kind of different. I don’t think that was an attitude that many people felt or had, but I came to see that rather, I had been given an authorized invitation to become a missionary, and I even wrote about this on April 6th, 2013. So I had been in the MTC for three days and I said, “I do not feel like a missionary. I am lacking that powerful, humbling feeling I had when I was initially set apart. Obviously, I haven’t been doing this right. I’ve been having fun, which is fine, but perhaps I haven’t been accepting the full importance of my calling in the hopes of avoiding feeling overwhelmed and inadequate. This is not in accordance with my capacity and potential. I have been learning much, but I could be learning more.”
I found it interesting reading this again this morning as I went through my journal–and I’ll be sharing some direct quotes from my journal, some of them are fairly incriminating, so please be patient with me–but that really stuck out to me because I’ve learned that that is actually a true pattern. And there are a number of events that we experience that we think are just automatic things that we check the boxes on and then we’re good. When in reality there is a process of becoming. There is a process of becoming a missionary. There is a process of receiving the Holy Ghost, and there is a process, I believe, of becoming a Latter-day Disciple.
You could define a Latter-day Disciple as just someone who lives in the latter days and is trying to follow Jesus Christ. But to me, since I had that phrase revealed to me, and over the last year plus while doing this podcast especially, the Lord has taught me that a Latter-day Disciple is actually much more than that. They are someone who submits their whole selves to God. They are seeking the requisite ordinances and covenants that they need to anchor themselves in Christ. And they have a deep desire to participate in the events that are going to be forthcoming, most especially as it relates to preparing the world for Jesus Christ. So I hope that, as I share some of my experience today, you will listen to this sort of like a parable and I pray that each of you will have the companionship of the Holy Ghost and be able to receive for yourself revelation on where you are in this process of becoming a Latter-day Disciple. It is a process, a continuous one and one that we’re all at different places on, and so I hope that perhaps you can glean something from my experience of becoming a missionary.
So to give a little bit of background, I received my patriarchal blessing when I was almost 15–I think it was like the month before I turned 15–so I was on the younger side and my patriarchal blessing explicitly talked about serving a full-time mission. And that was a little bit unique at the time, women didn’t go on missions very often. The missionary age was still 21. And I had kind of tried to work around it honestly in my head because when I received that blessing, it was the first time that I really recognized that I had a desire to serve a mission and it made me weep.
But later on, I met this boy, his name was McKay, and I really liked him and I just knew that he was going to serve a mission when he was 19, and then I would be 21 when he got back. And so I was going to have to serve a mission after he got back. And I really didn’t love the idea of being apart for three and a half or four years. And so I tried to rewrite my blessing in my head and ignore what I knew to be true, which was that this was explicitly about serving a full-time mission and I just left it at that for a while. And then in the fall of 2012, I was at school, at BYU and in the quiet moments between wake and sleep, in the morning when the opportunity to receive revelation is highest. I had the thought to ask my bishop about going on a mission early, and that was random. I didn’t really pay too much attention to it, although I think I was waiting to see what would happen. It was the week before general conference in the fall, so it was the first week of October and I was just going to sit on it, I think, and then maybe talk to my bishop the next Sunday after general conference.
Of course, many of you will know that October of 2012 is when President Monson announced the mission age change. And I’m going to be emotional multiple times in this episode. Sorry. But that Saturday morning session, I was sitting on the floor of my apartment. I was doing my nails. My roommates were in the kitchen making breakfast and we were listening and he changed the age for the elders and we rejoiced. And then he changed the age for the sisters and I wept. And it was an answer to a prayer that I didn’t know I had at that time, but it was my answer and I knew for a fact that it was for me that the Lord made that change. Now, obviously, it was for many, many wonderful women and elders who served thereafter.
But it was monumental. So after that session, I called my parents. My parents hadn’t been watching. I think my dad was at football practice with my brother, and my mom was out grocery shopping as she does on Saturdays. And I told them what happened and I just told them, I’m going, I’m going on a mission and I was going to be serving, basically at the same time, McKay was serving his mission and it was just so perfect. And so I moved home after that semester and I began preparing. I was an absolute wreck waiting for my mission call. My worst nightmare was that I was going to be called stateside English speaking because I am just that proud. And finally after weeks of endless worrying, I’m sure I was absolutely unbearable to be around,
I got my mission call on January 25th of 2013 and found out that I would be serving in Japan. And I was so excited. I was so thrilled. My mother was thrilled because my mother had been to Japan and she knew what a safe place it was. And so I think that really allayed a lot of her fears too for me serving a mission was just knowing a little bit about where I was going to be. It was perfect. And so I started really intentionally preparing from there on, I read the Book of Mormon again. I had done that–who knows how many times before–but I decided, “I’m going to read it again before I leave on April 3rd.” I read James Talmage’s, Jesus the Christ. I had been really intentional about working out and exercising and making workout plans. And my mom, in her wisdom, even bought me an elementary Japanese study book, so I started very, very small amounts of study of the Japanese language in preparation for my mission. And then on Wednesday, April 3rd, my parents and my best friend from college dropped me off at the MTC and I didn’t look back. I hugged my parents. I think I got a little emotional when I hugged my dad, especially, but I took my suitcase and I went with the missionary that was helping me, and that was that. I wrote in my journal, I said, “I can honestly say nervousness never came. I was constantly excited. Even the pain of leaving my family was mostly overshadowed.” So it started off on this high note going into the MTC. I recorded how thrilled I was to get my name tag officially with my Japanese name, [her name in Japanese] written on it.
And I had a giant bag of Japanese study books. I think there were something like 8, 10, 12 books. They were all massive. I was so thrilled about it because I’m a nerd like that. And I met my companion and when we went to our classroom for the first time and I was just feeling a ton of love for the MTC and for my companion and for my calling to become a missionary.
Now I want to stop before I go on and just give, honestly, some disclaimers. I was not the same person when I left on my mission. I had grown up in an environment where being very blunt was kind of standard. My dad and my brother and I, we all participated in sports and so I was a fairly physical person, even if it was only in play. Like I was never trying to hurt someone, but I would just knock you on the arm if you’re being silly, that sort of thing. I didn’t really understand a lot of the finer touches of interpersonal relationships. I hadn’t had a ton of real world experience. I had been away from home for maybe a year off and on but that was that. I was pretty proud. I like to call it confidence, but there was definitely pride there too. And it’s actually funny, I’ll read some of my quotes from my journal where my hypocrisy is just astounding. Like it’s so embarrassing and hilarious at the same time. But I was just a lesser version of myself. At the same time, I recognized that I was also a child and I didn’t have that experience. I didn’t have that know-how, especially of working with other people who had very different lives than I had. And so when I look back on myself, I feel a lot of compassion towards my younger self. And I also have felt Jesus Christ’s loving grace as he’s molded me over time. So I want to lead with that just to make it clear that although I’m going to be sharing my experience, I don’t excuse myself. I know that I could have been better. I wish I had been better. Unfortunately, this was the process of the Lord making me better. So I just, I want to lead with that.
So I would like to talk a little bit about my companion and our relationship. And I have chosen to keep her name anonymous. Because I don’t want this to come across in any way demeaning towards her or anything, that’s not my intention at all. I have a lot of love for her. And although our companionship was very challenging for me, I know it was for her too. And so I want to just respect her in that way.
So she was a very likable and very friendly person. She also had a lot of deep seated trauma. She had had a very hard, unfriendly life. She had been adopted and her adoptive parents were horribly abusive to her. She shared a lot of that with me, but I’m sure there was even more that she didn’t share. And as much as they tried to show and appear to be disciples of Jesus Christ, they were not. They were not. And so because of that, because of our differences in background and her history it was really challenging. It was really challenging to work with her–again, I had my own issues–but our companionship was toxic to both of us and it was very, very painful. We had very little in common, even aside from our family backgrounds growing up. We had differences in just about everything; like I loved gym hour, I would go play volleyball with all the Polynesians and it was crazy and they hit the ball really hard. And I loved that. And she was in a lot of pain physically and so that wasn’t something that she found to be fun or a release. In terms of learning the language–I love languages and I had studied several [before my mission] I had studied French and Spanish and Greek and Latin roots, and of course none of that had anything to do with Japanese but I had a lot of experience trying to learn languages and feeling somewhat successful at that. And the language was really hard for her.
So within the first three days, it became clear that there was going to be some struggle, neither of us really knew how deep it was going to go. But at the same time, I’m on a mission and I want to focus on that. So within three days of being in the MTC, I really committed to myself that I was going to set aside the fun, right? Like the social aspects of being in a [dokey] or in a district class, and really just focused on my calling and on the opportunity I had to study and to prepare. And I realize, looking back, that probably made me seem pretty standoffish and uninterested both to my companion and the others in my district. That really hadn’t been my intention though, I just really really really wanted to be a missionary. And that ended up being a lonely journey for me in a lot of ways. I think sometimes becoming a latter day disciple is the same way, it can be quite lonely at times.
I really did have true desires to help my companion. Throughout our time together, I saw her struggle with the language and with these other things, and I really wanted to help her. What I didn’t see at the time was that me helping her came across as controlling and pushy and trying to get my way, when in reality I was trying to accommodate her. And I’m sure that I miscommunicated that at times. But it never really came across. And while even my leaders and teachers and others encouraged me to help her–and I tried to– I realize, looking back, that wasn’t what the Lord would’ve had me do to help her. So we get into this companionship, and as you guys know, the MTC alone is a really challenging place emotionally and mentally and physically. The food there is probably toxic too, and it was just a really challenging environment and things started to go downhill really quickly. We could never communicate, as much as both of us tried, and I think that was very frustrating. It almost was like we were speaking two different languages even though we were both speaking English most of the time. I found myself becoming really defensive, I know my intentions were good, but again, it probably came across like I was just really demanding. And everything I said seemed to be misinterpreted. I felt completely misunderstood, both by my companion and also my whole district. Because again, I was putting my head down, trying to study, trying to learn and I was picking it up, which was probably hard for some people who might have been struggling more with that. And again, there was this friction in our companionship that was tangible, like everyone knew it. It wasn’t a surprise to anyone that that was the reality of what we were experiencing. And I felt very alone and I felt very unseen by the people around me. And it was really really painful. I had never had an experience like that up until that point.
And I began really quickly to see that I had to have the Lord’s intervention, particularly in our companionship and I started turning to him. I started praying for forgiveness, for my own anger and for my frustration, and I started seeking his solutions. And the answer that I got was to serve her. And I had no idea how to do that. But I did know that it was revelation and I knew that this was happening for a reason and that it was designed by a loving God for me and that I needed this experience.
I found this really insightful quote that I had written, probably a week or less into the MTC and it says, “Today it hit home to me that we go through the conversion process with our investigators. We need to be constantly growing closer to Heavenly Father, I need to, especially in this situation; praying, relying on Christ and my Heavenly Father. As I turned my focus on that, I finally felt more like a missionary, specifically as I mentally determined to serve those around me.” So I had these little insights, these inklings that were coming to me and that were slowly starting to sink into my hard broken heart. Hard heart, not yet broken. It will be.
So within a few days, there were a lot of ups and downs and at one point, I guess I felt impressed–I don’t know if this was a real revelation or not–to share my experience with my companion of praying to the Lord and his answer to serve her. And her immediate response was that she didn’t need my service.
And that really hurt to have what I believe to be true revelation thrown back in my face. That’s something that I’ve always been really sensitive to no matter how odd or crazy someone else’s revelation is, I’m not going to be the one to tell you it’s wrong. I just won’t. I just think that personal revelation is personal and so I have a lot of respect for that. And it was really painful for me to basically just hear, “Nope, you didn’t hear the spirit right. I don’t need it.” However, I decided I was going to hold to it anyway, and this is when my heart really began to break, and it continued to break for a month. I remember I could barely breathe, honestly, because there was a physical sensation of just being ripped apart. I really really wanted there to be unity and love and the guidance of the spirit in our companionship, and it seemed impossible. We still couldn’t talk to each other. We would interrupt each other. We both felt so misunderstood and misplaced.H
Eventually, after we’d been there–I think for a week and a half or two weeks–she told me that I was triggering her PTSD from her abusive mother. And that was the moment that I think really broke me. And I remember just calling out to God and I don’t know if there’s been another time in my life when I’ve done this, but a moment when I really was questioning God and I was appalled almost, and I said, “How and why would you be doing this to both of us? I want to help. I can’t because I’m the problem. She doesn’t want my help anyway. But she needs something. She needs something that I can’t give her.” And I think that was probably one of the lowest moments for me, I was just feeling like my very being was wrong. I didn’t linger in the questioning though. I pretty quickly turned it over to the Lord and even in my journal, I wrote, “I’m not going to stick on this.” I said, “I’m not even going to try to carry this. And the only reason I’m even semi okay is because my Savior is carrying me.” And I think that was a really defining moment for me as a person.
I wrote later in my journal, I said, “I have a testimony and I am converted in some ways, but I have not yet enacted the atonement enough to have experienced that true conversion. However I’m working on it or rather, Christ is working on me.” That’s so true. I don’t think I even knew. I didn’t know, I had no idea at the time how true that was that my conversion, that all of our conversions, my becoming a missionary, our becoming latter day disciples, it has very little to do with what we do, and it has everything to do with what we let Christ do to us.
So there were some ups and downs. Every day was a little bit different. Mostly it was still trending downward. My district leader was Elder Bullock, he was fantastic. I felt a lot of kinship to him. We had really similar personalities and he advised me to just do my best, to be the best missionary I could be and not to worry about what I couldn’t control, especially since everything I tried to do was misinterpreted anyway. And I think I really took that to heart and did start to just focus on what I could control. At the same time, I was just as blind in all my effort to help her and all the times that she expressed to me that she didn’t want my help. There was a day that I was struggling and just feeling down for other reasons, and she was really frustrated and I wrote about it. I wrote in my journal, I said “It made my companion frustrated that she couldn’t help me. She hasn’t yet learned that sometimes there’s nothing you can do.” And I read that again for the first time a couple of months ago, and I was like, “Oh my gosh, the hypocrisy of this child is unbelievable.” Because literally I was doing the exact same thing. I had been frustrated that she wouldn’t let me help her and that I couldn’t help her. And so it was really funny to just see like, ‘oh look, I’m here.’ But I began to turn my focus to submission and to truly letting go of those things I couldn’t control and instead to just focus on my study, the gospel and the language.
I think it was around this time that I started building walls around myself. I would take her criticisms in and do my best to not share any and to just do what she asked me to do as best I could. I distinctly remember receiving revelation at one point that said “She can’t change right now, so you have to.” and that thought had never crossed my mind in my life, that some people might be in a place where they literally cannot change. Not just won’t, but can’t. And I don’t know, maybe that was something specific for me. Maybe I misread that a little bit because I believe in the power of the atonement to change everything if you let it and I suppose that you could surrender your agency to the point where you don’t let it, ever. But anyway, that was just interesting to me and it allowed me to feel more compassion. And to start having more help from the Lord.
During this time, I learned some interesting insights. I really liked this one that I shared in my journal. It says, “Our purpose defined in Preach My Gospel, has a dual meaning; the missionary purpose is to invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and his Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end.” I wrote, “The obvious meaning here is that it is through the listed principles of the gospel that we invite others to come unto Christ but it also reads that it is through these same principles that we become able to invite others to come unto Christ. We have to apply the principles ourselves to become able to give that invitation. It is these simple things that will shape us into the missionaries Heavenly Father needs us to be. This is profound to me.” I love that because it’s still true. As we are striving to become latter day disciples–serving others is a part of that–but we only become qualified to serve others as we apply and obtain the principles and ordinances and covenants that are available to us. That is key to becoming a missionary, becoming a latter day disciple.
So time went on. I continued to struggle emotionally. I felt really dis-included from my district. I felt a lot of disdain from my companion. My mom wrote to me at one point and shared with me some beautiful wisdom that I found really helpful at the time. She said in her letter, “Despite this great challenge, I can tell this is making you stronger, even stronger than you already were.
Learning to truly love someone who may not return those feelings for you is very difficult, but isn’t that what Christ did when he lived on the earth? So many people feared him, hated him, even, but he loved them regardless. I think that is true love, after all, loving and not expecting the same in return as I think of it now, that’s actually empowering. It’s empowering because if we truly love in that way we’re not reliant on others’ love or feelings and are not affected by what or how others think of us, and therefore, we can act out of love without fear or hesitation.” From the wisdom of a mother. I’m so grateful for her and the things that she taught me, and I knew that my parents, my loved ones were in my corner supporting me even though they weren’t present. And I was so thankful for that.
I began working to seek the light of Christ more, and I was praying to be more sensitive to spiritual promptings. Actually, I prayed all the time. It was like breathing for me because I really felt like I was in a position that I could not endure unless Christ was with me in every thought, and I started making it so that everything I said, everything I did, how I did it, I ran by him first. Because I had to. I felt so attacked at times when I tried to do anything myself. Satan was there all the time. But as I turned to the Lord, I received answers and hope. It was really easy for me to feel downtrodden, unappreciated, and even hated at times by those around me. I felt really lonely. At one time, I was the only person in our whole district that hadn’t received a letter or a package from someone from home, and I was really depressed by that. I wrote, “It was hard to see so much love and support and not have it be for me. When my mind started to really get to me, I think I heard the spirit whisper, ‘That is what your companion and the others need, not what you need. That’s for them.’ As I thought about that, I decided it was really true, I don’t need family or friend support. I need my Lord. I need to continue relying on him. I can do this everything, only with and through Christ. I need to trust and have faith that he is really all that I need.”
So as I continued to grow through this process of torture or purifying, I guess is a nicer word for it it shook me down to my foundations. Absolutely the most humbling thing I’ve ever been through. And then once I had shown that I would submit, through those situations, the Lord started rebuilding me.
And that was just as intense and painful. But you know what he started doing–something that was so interesting to me was this intense hands-on learning experience of Doctrine and Covenants, section four. And many of you will know that this is kind of the prototypical missionary section where ‘if you have desires to serve God, you are called to the work and this is how you’re qualified and this is your work and the field is right already to harvest…’ And what I saw happening; this unique pattern that every day would be a focus on one of the qualities that are listed in that section, so faith, hope, charity, brotherly, kindness, patience, temperance, et cetera. And seriously all day long would be focused on just one quality. And I would have experiences from sunup to sundown that would focus on the quality that would teach me about it, and that would give me opportunities to apply it. It was so unique. It was not something that I ever could have orchestrated for myself because again, all of these experiences were completely out of my control, and yet, all day long the Lord was teaching me patience.
And then the next day it was similar but a little bit different and was ‘Oh, it’s temperance.’ Like seriously, it was the most unique learning experience I’ve had with the Lord. I wrote in my journal, “I realize I did not come out here with these things even remotely close to developed. There are still so many things that I am learning about all these characteristics, but I’m so thankful because I see how in the last month my heavenly Father has been developing these things in me. He is qualifying me for this work, his work, and I’m glad he is because I know I could not develop these to the capacity that I need to in order to do what he asks me to do.”
The Lord taught me an interesting lesson about obedience and the law of obedience. My companion–I remember one morning–we had left the dorms late, we were going to our class and I had recently been really drawn to say, “I want to be exactly obedient.” And that’s a big deal on missions is to follow all the rules to a ‘T’. And so I was stressed because I wanted to be exactly obedient and we were going to be late. And I wrote in my journal, I said “My companion was moving really slowly because she was really tired and I was focused on keeping our slightly hectic schedule because I’ve been trying to focus on exact obedience. It was pretty obvious that my personal patience was not going to cut it. I prayed for Heavenly Father’s help with giving me patience and helping me control my thoughts. Man, he followed through.” But what I remember, that is so interesting, I remember it was a cloudy day, in the spring, like it was going to rain and we were walking to class and I was trying to walk faster while also staying with her and in my head, because I learned to pray all the time, I was just like, “Heavenly Father, what do I do? I want to be exactly obedient.” And the answer that the spirit whispered to me is, “You don’t know how much pain she’s in right now, trying to move at the pace that she is.” And that was really eye-opening to me. And so I slowed down and I walked with her at her pace at that time. And we were late. And perhaps many would look at that and say, ‘You weren’t exactly obedient. Darn. You tried.’ But what I’ve come to see is that I gave exact obedience to the light of Christ, and that education, that inspiration that he gave me was superior for me and for my companion compared to just staying within the strict schedule that we had been given, this was a higher law that the Lord wanted me to follow. The other rules had a purpose, right? And it wasn’t like I was going to throw the little white book out the window and say, “Oh, no rules for me. I’m just going to go with wherever the breeze takes me today.” Like those set the scaffolding. They lay a foundation for us, but focusing only on them would’ve made me absolutely ineffective for my companion. It would have not shown her the love and the service and the care that she needed, and the Lord knew it. And so from there, I began to see that obedience to our personal revelation, that’s the cream of the crop right there. That’s the rod of iron. That’s the word of God to you, and obedience to that is sometimes more paramount than it is to all the little rules that we like to give ourselves.
So all of this persisted for six weeks, and then my companion went home. She had, as I alluded to in the previous story, horrible pain in both of her knees.
They weren’t even in the sockets. She had gone to a lot of doctors and specialists and a physical therapist and found out that she had no cartilage in her knees, like it all, and somehow she had been assigned to an all biking, mountainous mission. So we went to a physical therapist and he said, “You need surgery Monday, and either you get the surgery and have a hope of going to Japan, or you’re not going to go to Japan.” And she was devastated. I had been to those appointments with her. I had done my best to be loving and supportive and again, with my walls up to just take whatever she needed from me and do it. And I had come, throughout that last month and a half, to feel genuine love for her. And I was genuinely sad about her diagnosis. I was more sad at how her parents reacted to her because they were horrible. Unnecessarily horrible. Not supportive at all. They were very cruel, telling her that she can’t finish things and that she’s never going to serve a mission and all of this. And I was heartbroken for her.
I wrote in my journal, “I think I knew to some level that she would go home. I didn’t know the reason. It’s her goal to recover from surgery quickly and return to the mission field. And I know that if she sets her heart on it, she can do it. I know that it was Heavenly Father’s intent to have her in this mission for six weeks if only to grow me. I’ve learned and grown so much from struggling through our companionship. I don’t know if she got anything out of it, but I know I did and I’m thankful for that.” So she went home and she ended up not getting the surgery, but she did go back on a mission and she served in Hawaii and I am incredibly proud of her for doing that because I know that she didn’t have support and she had a lot of reasons that could have kept her home. And she went and she served, and I was really proud of her for that.
For myself this was the most excruciatingly painful process I had ever experienced in my life. And honestly, in a lot of ways it still is. If I look back on it and on my life, this was so hard. When I talked about it, I always related it to an old fashioned antiquated torture table where they lie you on a table and they tie your arms above you and they tie your legs down, and then they pull on both ends until you’re literally pulled apart, and that’s how I felt for a month and a half. I couldn’t escape it even as I relied on the Lord it was still painful.
It only got easier when I stopped fighting and when I let the Lord pull, I didn’t tense my body, I wasn’t crying out loud anymore. I still shed tears, but I silently just let him pull on both sides of me and he broke me. And then he rebuilt me. And I was not the same, and I never have been. This was not Megan’s ‘self- improving herself for six weeks and then the challenge was taken away’ and it got easy again. No this was the Lord taking raw, corrupted material and shaping it and cleansing it by fire and molding it into something new. And I know that it was Him because I kept my shape, I didn’t go back to who I was. I couldn’t have, even if I tried, I was a different person because of it. I was remade.
This is, in my view, how we are to become latter day disciples. There’s a process. It looks different for all of us, but there are common themes; things that we have to learn, things that we have to experience in order to become what he needs us to become. I had to learn about obedience, not to a written book of rules, but to Him and His voice. I had to learn about sacrifice and putting myself on the altar, letting him take me and kill part of me. I had to submit. I had to be purified, and most especially, I had to be given a gift of grace that I could never have received by myself no matter how much self-improvement I tried. This was not a, ‘Megan did 1% better every day, and then it was enough’. No, this was a, ‘Megan gave herself to the Lord and the Lord remade her. This is how we are transformed. And until we are willing to give everything to him, we can’t be remade like this.
I was struck by the wisdom in the quote that I read about not needing my family, not needing friends, not needing to be liked, not needing to have my emotional or mental needs met by anyone except for Jesus Christ. Once you get to that place, that’s when he can work with you and a lot of the times it takes great suffering before we are willing to humble ourselves that deeply.
But it was worth it. I will always say it was worth it. I don’t know if it was for my companion. And I’m sorry for that. I wish I was the after version of myself the whole time. I’m sorry that she was the guinea pig in my evolution, but I am so grateful, I am so grateful. I would do it again. The Lord created a missionary out of me, and in a similar fashion, he’ll work with each of us to become latter day disciples.
I had been in the MTC for almost that whole six weeks and on May 15th, I recorded a poem that one of the elders–I believe it was one of the elders, could have been one of the sisters in my [dokey] in my district group had found–and it resonated with me and it has resonated with me since, and I will cry when I read it. But I hope that you feel this, because this is the expression–I believe–of what it is to become a latter day disciple. This is what we are trying to become. It was written by an African man. there’s not a ton of background on him other than we believe he was a preacher and a martyr. It’s called
The Fellowship of the Unashamed.
I am part of the Fellowship of the Unashamed. The die has been cast out. I have stepped over the line. The decision has been made, I am a disciple of Jesus Christ. I won’t look back, let up, slow down, or be still.
My past is redeemed, my presence makes sense, and my future is secure.
I am finished and done with low living, small planning, smooth knees, colorless dreams, tainted visions, worldly talking, cheap giving, and dwarfed goals.
I no longer need preeminence, positions, promotions, plaudits, or popularity.
I don’t have to be right, first, recognized, praised, regarded, or rewarded.
I now live by faith, lean on his presence, walk with patience and lifted by prayer and labor with power.
My face is set, my gate is fast, my goal is heaven, my road is narrow, my way is rough. My companions are few. My guide is reliable. My mission is clear.
I cannot be bought, compromised, detoured, lured away, divided or delayed. I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice, hesitate in the presence of adversity, negotiate at the table of the enemy, ponder at the pool of popularity or meander in the maze of mediocrity.
I won’t give up, shut up or let up until I have stayed up, stored up and paid up for the cause of Christ.
I must go till he comes, give till I drop, preach till all know, and work till he stops me and when he returns for his own, he will have no problem recognizing me. My banner will be clear.
Thank you guys for giving me the opportunity to share something that I don’t often share because it hurt for a really long time. But this is my hope, this is my goal, and I pray that we all will choose to do whatever it is the Lord asks us to pass through, whatever fires he asks us to, that we can become these kind of disciples. It’s who he needs, it’s what he deserves, and we will find no greater gratification in mortality than to become these kind of latter day disciples.
I love you guys. Have a great week.
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