Missionary Work

This month’s sacrament meeting theme is missionary work.  There couldn’t be a more appropriate theme for my family and me as we just dropped our son off in the Provo MTC.  What an emotional experience.  It is a little surreal to think that I won’t see Spencer for 2 years (104 weeks, or 730 days or 17,520 hours).  In the past 18 1/2 years I haven’t gone more than one week without seeing Spencer.  I love Spencer and am missing him like crazy.  I know many of you have sent a son or daughter off on a mission and can identify with the feelings that this sacrifice brings.  As I think about missionary work, I really think about a love story.  Not the kind of story that Hollywood would want to tell, but a quiet, persistent love story.  I know that missionary work is all about loving people.  Loving perfect strangers, or sometimes even harder loving our neighbors or family members.  To love enough to challenge each other to be better.  To love enough to overcome our fear that someone will reject us or laugh at us.  To love someone enough that we don’t judge, gossip, or whisper their shortcomings.  Jesus Christ is the perfect example of love and missionary work.  In Matthew 22:37-40 it reads “Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.  This is the first and great commandment.  And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” Unconditional love is the key, it is the “first and great commandment”.  It is the higher law that Jesus Christ established when he completed the atonement.  It is the basis for all things good.  If unconditional love motivates us, we will all be amazing missionaries.  We will see the good in everyone and work hard to make bad men good and good men better. Just as Spencer, Trent, Tyler, Brady, Austin, Bradyn, and Dax learn and grow and enjoy the blessings of missionary work.  We too can enjoy those same blessings.  I look forward to the day when I see Spencer again, I hope that I can report to him that I have successfully incorporated missionary work into my life.

-Bishop Applegarth

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