A little over 25 years ago, I left my home and family to serve a mission for my Savior and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It was a very exciting time for me. I was probably nervous, but I can now only remember the excitement. It was something I dreamed of from the day I first learned that serving a mission was something I could do. I am excited again today for a similar but different reason.
Last night, my daughter was set apart as a missionary for the Church to serve the Lord and her fellowmen. It has been wonderful to witness her desire to bring souls closer to their Father in Heaven and her desire to testify of His Goodness. I often hear from friends and family that she will make a great missionary. And that is good to hear, because honestly as a father, I agree. She will serve the Lord well.
Today we are going as a family to drop her off at the Missionary Training Center. And while my experience as a parent at the MTC will be slightly different than the one my parents had, I am looking forward to remembering some of my memories as she shares hers with me.
I know that she will faithfully serve and that the Lord will bless her with opportunities and experiences that she will cherish for a lifetime. Memories she will cherish because of the lessons she learned. Memories she will cherish because how it strengthened her testimony. Memories she will cherish because of the friends that she has made.
I will pray for her everyday. I will pray that she can withstand the trials that will come to her. Being a missionary is hard work. It will come with sadness, difficulties and trials. But after the hardships are over, she will be a better person for them. And she will be better able to take on the challenges of the rest of her adult life.
I will pray that she will listen to the Spirit of the Lord and be guided in where to go, what to say, and what to do. I will pray that she will be happy. I will pray that she will be healthy. And I will pray for her protection.I will pray that she will find people who are willing to listen.
I love my daughter. I will miss her. I can’t imagine that a day will go by where I won’t think of her. My thoughts may be rejoicing in a story she has shared. They may be worrying about her well being. Or they may be sad for no reason at all. But I will stand comforted in the fact that she is serving the Lord by serving our fellow men.
So, if you happen to be in Southern California, and if you happen to meet a young the lady in a dress wearing a black and white tag with her name, Sister Grant, and the name of the Church. Please treat her nicely. Please giver her a smile. But most of all, please take a minute to listen to her message, it may just change your life. I know that it has changed mine.