Monday, March 21, 2016

What My Mission Means to Me

The day or so before I started my mission, as I was sitting among piles of clothes to put in the suitcase in front of me, I started thinking to myself about my testimony. I thought, "What do I have a testimony of?" But then a better question came to my head, "What do I not yet have a testimony of yet?" But then the question that started my true conversion came, "Do I have a testimony of the atonement of Jesus Christ?" As I sat there thinking about that question, I came to the conclusion that I didn't, or at least not to the degree I desired. Throughout my years of Sunday School, Seminary, and Young Women activities, I knew what the atonement was, but did I know it and understand it in my heart? Had I had the experiences needed, tailored to my spirit, that would teach me the true joy and give me the real understanding of the atonement? No... No, I didn't. The night before I left, I knelt down and said a prayer to Heavenly Father, just before I started the craziest journey I had thus experienced. I asked Him to give me have a strong testimony of the atonement before my mission was through.

And boy, did He give it to me.

I had never had so many joys and tears before. I had never loved so many people before. I had never had so many trials before that would rip my heart right out of me. I had never felt the joy and peace of my Elder Brother patching me back together even stronger than before. I had never seen (or at least recognized) so many miracles, whether great or small, before. I had never seen so many things that testify about the Savior's hand in every part of existence. I had never felt so close to my Father in Heaven before.

So what does my mission mean to me? My mission means everything to me, because Jesus Christ means everything to me. I love Him dearly. He has been with me through each and every step, mile, tear, smile, and laugh. He has been with me through every moment of joy in a show of progression in one I love. He has been with me through every moment of extreme frustration in someone preventing another's conversion in the gospel. He has been with me when I thought I couldn't go any further. He has been with me when He taught me eternal truths of His love and devotion.

I testify that Jesus Christ lives. He lives eternally and He loves eternally. He is the author of my faith and anchor to my soul. He is the beginning and end of my testimony. His atonement is real. It is all powerful and ever reaching. There is nothing the atonement and love of Christ cannot heal, even when the world or that little voice in your head tells you otherwise. I am eternally grateful and indebted to my Savior for all He has done for me on my mission and for all He will do for me in the future.

D&C 76:22, "And now, after the many testimonies which have been given of him, this is the testimony, last of all, which [I] give of him: That he lives!"

Sister Smyly Crawford

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