Thursday, October 1, 2015

Things they dont tell you about pre-mission life- PART 1

Since getting my call I have spent every waking minute studying the gospel, practicing lessons in PMG, speaking my mission language, and buying mission gear. I have not gotten discouraged, scared, or disheartened. I have been excited for the work every second of the day.

Lets get real. I haven't actually spent every waking minute doing those things. I get discouraged way more than I ever thought I would. There are plenty of days that I do not have excitement for the work. There are some days that I am so scared that I cry until my head hurts. I fall back into old habits. Feelings of doubt sometimes feel like they will overcome me.

What if I don't know enough? What if I don't learn the language well enough? What if I get really homesick? Am I even capable of being a missionary? What if it's not what I expect and its just too hard?

Why is the time between getting a mission call and entering the MTC so hard?


Satan knows us. He was with us in the premortal life. He is our brother. And because he of such, he knows us on a personal level. He understands our strengths, weaknesses, and fears. Because we have agency and Satan does not it is his desire to take away our agency. He, the father of all lies, will tempt, persuade, and trick us into losing that agency. The work of salvation, of bringing others unto Christ, allows others to understand agency. Satan does not want the work of salvation to progress. He will do everything in his power to thwart this work.

Whenever one of Heavenly Father's children approaches a decision, event, experience, or blessing that will bring them closer to their Heavenly Father, thus moving forward with with work, Satan hits harder than ever. As blessings increase, so do Satan's attempts to distract, discourage, and destroy us. Joseph Smith stated, "The nearer a person approaches the Lord, a greater power will be manifested by the adversary to prevent the accomplishment of His purposes” (in Orson F. Whitney, Life of Heber C. Kimball, Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1967, p. 132). We see in Joseph Smith's story that Satan tried to overpower Joseph Smith as he knelt in the grove of trees right before seeing God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ. "I kneeled down and began to offer up the desires of my heart to God. I had scarcely done so, when immediately I was seized upon by some power which entirely overcame me, and had such an astonishing influence over me as to bind my tongue so that I could not speak. Thick darkness gathered around me, and it seemed to me for a time as if I were doomed to sudden destruction." (JSH 1:15)

Is it possible to overcome the power of Satan?

Yes! Absolutely. Undoubtedly. Yes.

How do we overcome his power?

 Joseph Smith shows us in his example: "But, exerting all my powers to call upon God to deliver me out of the power of this enemy which had seized upon me, and at the very moment when I was ready to sink into despair and abandon myself to destruction—not to an imaginary ruin, but to the power of some actual being from the unseen world, who had such marvelous power as I had never before felt in any being—just at this moment of great alarm, I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me." (JSH 1:15) Joseph called upon the powers of God to deliver him. Doctrine and Covenants teaches us "Pray always, that you may come off conqueror; yea, that you may conquer Satan, and that you may escape the hands of the servants of Satan that do uphold his work." (D&C 10:5) Not just "making it through" or "hanging in there" but conquering Satan. Moses is another example of conquering Satan. "And now Satan began to tremble, and the earth shook; and Moses received strength, and called upon God, saying: In the name of the Only Begotten, depart hence, Satan. " (Moses 1:21) Heavenly Father is ever willing to help us overcome the adversary and will answer our pleas when we cry. However, like Joseph Smith, we may not receive help until the "very moment when I was ready to sink into despair."

2. WORK 
Mormon says to his son Moroni, "And now, my beloved son, notwithstanding their hardness, let us labor diligently; for if we should cease to labor, we should be brought under condemnation; for we have a labor to perform whilst in this tabernacle of clay, that we may conquer the enemy of all righteousness, and rest our souls in the kingdom of God." (Moroni 9:6) Satan loves lazy people. Lazy people don't help the work progress. But if we choose to labor and keep ourselves busy, then Satan cannot occupy our thoughts, hearts, and actions when we give him no room to do so.

James E Faust counsels, "We need not become paralyzed with fear of Satan’s power. He can have no power over us unless we permit it. He is really a coward, and if we stand firm, he will retreat." The apostle James tells us, "Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." (James 4:7) Satan can only use his power against us if we let him. Don't fester negative thoughts, doubts, or fears. Afterall, "For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." (2 Timothy 1:7) 

President Ezra Taft Benson said: “There is a power in [the Book of Mormon] which will begin to flow into your lives the moment you begin a serious study of the book. You will find greater power to resist temptation. You will find the power to avoid deception. You will find the power to stay on the strait and narrow path” (“The Book of Mormon—Keystone of Our Religion,” Ensign, November 1986).  Personal study of the scriptures brings joy, hope, and excitement for the work.

The bible dictionary explains grace as such: “The main idea of the word, {GRACE}, is divine means of help or strength, given through the bounteous mercy and love of Jesus Christ." If there is every a time when we need divine means of help of strength, now is the time. How do we access this power? By asking for it and calling upon the atonement of Jesus Christ. Ether demonstrates this in Ether 12:36 when he says, "And it came to pass that I prayed unto the Lord that he would give unto the Gentiles grace, that they might have charity." As we use this power we can do and overcome in ways that we could not do by ourselves. Through grace our weaknesses can be turned to strengths.

President Monson in the April 2015 General Conference promised us, "My brothers and sisters, in our lives we will have temptations; we will have trials and challenges. As we go to the temple, as we remember the covenants we make there, we will be better able to overcome those temptations and to bear our trials. In the temple we can find peace." I received my endowment in July and have been so grateful that I did! Having 4 months to go to the temple before I leave has helped me combat the powers of Satan. I gain eternal perspective, faith, hope, and peace as I go to the house of the Lord, just as President Monson promises.

Preparing for a mission is hard. Many times you feel like you are treading water in the ultimate limbo because in reality, you kind of are. :) But it is also a very happy time. (Wait for the next blog post. :)) I have grown closer to my Father and my Savior than ever before. HAVE HOPE!


  1. Leah,
    Thank you! The things you listed strengthened and taught me. Can you see that you're already being a missionary? Thank you! -Emily Hawkins

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