Monday, 26 January 2015
"So what did you get for your birthday?"
"Oh just some clothing for my mission."
"Some swimsuits and stuff?"
"Uh, no I can't go swimming..." Everyone in the studio turns to face me with looks of disbelief.
"You're going to Australia and you can't even go swimming? Why?!"
"It's just not safe, the church doesn't want us to take any risks while we are out serving."
Now there was definitely an easier answer that came to my head like: "We've been told that Satan rules over the waters of the Earth during the last days, so it's only logical that missionaries, who are doing the exact thing he doesn't want, steer clear of the water. Just to be safe." But I didn't say that for fear of more judgemental looks and being dubbed a crazy pants from people who don't understand religion. Plus, fooling around near water is just a bad idea anyways.
There are so many rules on an LDS mission it's hard to keep up sometimes!:
Wake up at 6:30am, be home by 9:30pm, be in bed by 10:30pm.
No swimming, only listen to church/uplifting music and when you do listen to music it has to be through a speaker.
No movies, no internet, you can only email your family and friends once a week for one hour.
No leisure reading (this one is hard for me since I read novels all the time!).
Wear Sunday best everyday, unless you are working out or doing some physical activity (that excludes biking, must wear a skirt biking).
No physical contact with anyone of the opposite gender, other than fist bumps, a handshake, and maybe the occasional high five.
And the list goes on! Some may say, "Bethany, why on earth would you give up 18 months of your life to do that?"
I'm not giving up 18 months of my life to live that way for the thrill of it. I'm sacrificing 18 months of my life for my Savior. Frankly, I think it's the least I can do. Jesus Christ died for me, took upon himself my sins, transgressions, sadness, loneliness and every other terrible feeling you can think of. He suffered, wept, was tempted, went through everything I have been through and have yet to experience. He did that for ME and for YOU, so that we will always have someone to turn to. He is the only person that knows exactly how you feel.
"And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions andtemptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people.
And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succorhis people according to their infirmities." (Alma 7:11-12)
Through Him we can be whole, we can achieve anything. The enabling power of the atonement of Jesus Christ helps us do the things we otherwise couldn't. If we do all we can He will fill in the rest, that is God's Grace.
Jesus Christ lived a very tough life, and saying that is an understatement. His Earth life was dedicated to his Father in Heaven, doing his will. His whole life per-say was a mission. He walked miles through deserts to deliver the message that there is a loving Heavenly Father who wants us to come back to Him.
He taught them how to go back to Him and was a great example. Christ who was perfect, demonstrated obedience by being baptized, to show others they must do the same. He healed the sick, strengthened the weak, comforted the weary, gave hope to those with crushed spirits. Many listened to His teachings, but many did not. Some hated Him.
"He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed." (Isaiah 53:3-5)
His feet blistered and bled from so much walking, he was temped to do wrong when he was weak, he was betrayed, he was tortured, spat upon, mocked, traded in for the release of a murderer, and crucified. I can't stress enough the intensity of the sacrifice he made for us.
On my mission I will not be subjected to the exact same things Jesus Christ went through, but I will be to some of it. I will be a representative of Jesus Christ, wearing his name above my heart, serving others will all my heart, might, mind and strength. It will not be all dandy and perfect, it will be tough, heart breaking, exhausting, discouraging and I'm sure there will be tears from time to time.
"Therefore, if ye have desires to serve God ye are called to the work;" (D&C 4:3)
All this is for my Savior, because I love Him so much! I will teach others the beauty and truthfulness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I will help those in need, those sad or suffering by bringing them unto their Savior.
My purpose as a missionary 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 gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end." (Preach My Gospel: A Guide to Missionary Work chp. 1)
I love this Gospel, my Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ with all my heart. I have always had a desire to serve the Lord as a missionary. Nothing brings me greater joy than the knowledge that I am loved by Heavenly Father and my Savior. I feel it to be my responsibility to share that joy with those who need it.
"I know that my redeemer lives. What comfort this sweet sentence gives! He lives, He lives who once was dead… I know that my redeemer lives!"
So, I am not going to Australia to live a strangely strict life just for fun, I am going for Jesus Christ and to share the truth that I personally have come to know.
I am so excited to serve as a missionary in the Australia Adelaide Mission. I think about it everyday. I testify to you that this is the true Gospel of Jesus Christ, I know it in my heart and my joy is exceedingly great!
Thursday, 1 January 2015
Dear Sister Coultrup:
You are hereby called to serve as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. You are assigned to labour in the AUSTRALIA ADELAIDE Mission. It is anticipated that you will serve for a period of 18 months. You should report to the Provo Missionary Training Center on Wednesday, June 3, 2015. You will prepare to preach the gospel in the English language.
I was beyond surprised to be called to Australia! I am so excited to be serving a mission. It has always been a desire of mine and the time is finally here. I have to wait five months until I can leave, which is a long time, but that just gives me a while to be extra prepared!
I know that this Church is true. That the Gospel of Jesus Christ is one of happiness, love and families. I love my Heavenly Father and I love Jesus Christ and I am so grateful for his atoning sacrifice. I know that Joseph Smith restored the true Gospel to the Earth and that he was a Prophet of God. I will strive to be a good example and missionary for the Lord.