“Should I Give Up School for a Mission?” Ensign, Apr. 2009, 73–74
I graduated from high school in 1992 and immediately turned in my papers to serve a full-time mission. At the time my call came, I had just been admitted to one of the best universities in Nigeria to study medicine.
In Nigeria admission into medical school is competitive and not to be forfeited. When I received pressure from some friends and family members to abandon my mission call, I explained that I had a responsibility to serve and had looked forward to doing so since I joined the Church six years before. I was sure I could get readmitted to medical school after my mission, but many thought I would regret my decision.
I am grateful to the home teachers, family members, and Church friends who supported my decision to serve. Attending seminary, studying the scriptures, and living the gospel enabled me to stand by my convictions.
As a missionary I set personal goals and worked hard. Twenty-four months later I received an honorable release. The Lord blesses returned missionaries but has not promised that they will be immune to trials. For the Nigerian returned missionary, those trials include unemployment and lack of funds for education.
During the first three years after my mission, I took and passed three entrance examinations, but I wasn’t readmitted to medical school. During those same three years, I couldn’t find a job. I was tempted to believe that some of my friends and family members might have been right and that it was a mistake to have forfeited my admission to medical school.
On my mission I learned to cast my burden on the Lord, so I let Him direct my life according to His will. As soon as I did, things started working out for me—but not as I had planned.
One fast Sunday I decided to fast and intently pray for the Lord’s help. That evening a knock came at the door. When I opened the door, I was astonished to see an acquaintance I had met during security training I had attended six months before. He told me that an opportunity for a security operative had opened in a company his elder brother worked for and that the company urgently needed to fill the position. I was the only person who came to his mind.
The next day the company hired me. That singular experience confirmed to me that Heavenly Father had not abandoned me and that I needed to trust in Him. The job proved to be a springboard to other jobs.
Divine blessings are not measured by temporal achievements alone. I struggled for years after my mission to find temporal stability, but the Lord blessed me spiritually. My patriarchal blessing directed me to get married and told me that the opportunity of higher education would come. It did.
Though I never went to medical school, I have earned the equivalent of degrees in accounting and mathematics. The Lord eventually blessed me with sufficient material stability that I was able to marry.
If we serve an honorable mission, the Lord is bound to bless us as we seek opportunities for higher education afterward. Nothing in the life of a young man or young woman can surpass the experiences, learning, and blessings of full-time missionary service.