The day comes fast and next thing you know, it’s your turn to serve – a year away from being 18 or 19 years old. Being a young man who grew in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints sometimes gives pressure-inducing but oh-so-rewarding experience. Young members of the Church are encouraged to leave their families and serve voluntarily for the cause of reaching out to friends to be better through the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is an immense sacrifice all for charity and service.
Recently, the Church made a declaration in hastening the service age a year earlier. In Philippines, this means we are encouraged to go during our junior year in college – just barely adjusted to college life with hopes of earning our own salary and be independent soon. However, our commitment to serve is both an opportunity to personally mature and to follow Christ’s examples.
In every single young man’s life, the very common question from members everywhere is “KAILAN KA MAGMI-MISSION?” (When are you going to mission?) Read the rest of these exciting questions members have in mind whenever they see a young fresh-blooded bright-white-shirted young man:
- “Uy! Diba 17/18 ka na? Nag-pasa ka na ba?” (Hey! Aren’t you 17/18, have you passed your application already?)
Bombarded with questions from everyone, this young man will turn to the usual “nagpo-process na po, hehe” response. Ta-da! Don’t not worry though, they are just reminders. Relax, and focus yourself on your spiritual preparations and the excitement. They are excited as you are!
- “May call ka na ba?” (Did you receive your call?)
People tend to expect that you already submitted your missionary application papers even though in reality, you are still a 17 year-old “boy” who finds fulfillment in “dota” (video game) than stories of pag-ibig (love). Haha!
- “Saan mo gustong ma-assign?”
“Only a manghuhula can answer (just kidding!)” Answering questions like this is very tricky, for when you say where you really want to go, an automatic response goes, “ay, hindi ka dun maa-assign kasi dun yung gusto mo” (oh! You won’t be assigned there because that’s where you want to go”). Whereas, if you say you want to be assigned in a place you really don’t want to be assigned in, you will be stuck in the “dun ako maa-assign kasi ayaw ko dun” (I’ll be assigned there because I don’t want to be assigned there) feeling. There will also be a bonus “foreign o local?” question that can sometimes be an alternative. There is no escape.
- Emails from missionaries containing “mag-mission ka na din, masaya dito!”
Weekly emails from missionaries from your home ward can always be exciting, as they contain news on how they are doing, on what area they are currently at, and lots and lots of pictures with their investigators. Also, they contain those “mag-mission ka na din, masaya dito!” (Serve your mission too, it is fun out here) lines that either make you giddy or nervous inside. Either way, serving a mission is really fun as testified by current missionaries in the field.
- “Paano si [insert girl/boyfriend’s name]?”
There will always be the torn feeling between love for God and love for someone else. Question like this is asked to those with commitments. Some other halves wait until that “honorable return” but some just end it before leaving. But, however it is, one must stay focused in serving the Lord in the missionary field.
- When your parents start saying “handa ka na bang mag-MISSION?”
You know you really have to do something when your parents start mentioning it more often than usual. Parents tell their children who are approaching their missionary age to be more prepared spiritually and converted to the gospel because like what the Golden Missionary Rule says, “You can only [help] someone up to your own conversion.”
- And lastly, when other ward members tell you, “uy, magiging primary teacher ka na!”
Young men and young women preparing to serve missions are always called as primary teachers. Pres. John Taylor, a former leader of the Church, even once said, “It is true intelligence for a man to take a subject that is mysterious and great in itself, and to unfold and simplify it so that a child can understand it.” This means serving a mission is learning to teach the gospel to people as if they were young children – innocent and new to the gospel of Christ. So when the time comes when you hear this phrase, show them how privileged you are to prepare children to know Christ and to lead them to a more matured and fruitful life.
People around us can really influence and affect our decisions. Fellow church members who continually ask you about your upcoming missionary life are good people who remind you your potential – like Jesus Christ being reminded of the Father. When these things are asked, be thankful that you have them because you are definitely in a good company. Kaya mag-mission na! (So, go to your mission!)