“Why Are You So Different?” Liahona, Sept. 2002, 34–35
I was converted to the gospel when I was very young. Throughout my youth, I held different Church callings, and it is impossible to describe the joy I received from them. But one of the most remarkable experiences I had as a young person came the week before my mission.
I turned in my mission papers in January 1976. After some time, which seemed very long to me, I received a letter calling me to serve in the México Monterrey Mission.
Because my stake president was about to be released, he set me apart a week before I was to leave for my mission. He cautioned me about how I would need to live now that I had been set apart, but we agreed that I would continue at my job for one more week—as I had planned. I wanted to continue working as long as possible to earn more money for my mission and to help my family. As I left the stake president’s home on the Sunday evening I was set apart, I felt a beautiful warmth fill my entire body.
The next morning I got up to go to work as usual. As I entered the office building where I worked, I greeted the elevator operator and told him which floor I wanted. The operator did not answer but just stared at me. Then the owners of my company got on the elevator, and we greeted each other. After the elevator doors closed, I noticed my bosses were staring at me too. They asked me what had happened. I answered that nothing had happened.
When I walked into the department where I worked, my coworkers stopped talking and looked at me. I still could not understand why.
Later that day my bosses called me into their office. They asked me to recommend someone responsible to take my place. Then they asked why I seemed so different. I told them about my religion and my mission. They congratulated me and refused to accept my resignation. They said they would instead allow me to take leave for a year and a half so I wouldn’t lose my job benefits. And they asked me to return to work as soon as I finished my mission.
As I looked at my coworkers on my last day of work, I realized how much I loved them, even though their standards were very different from mine. María, who worked near me, asked, “What is happening to you? Why are you so different?” She said she could see a light in my countenance. “Why is that?” she asked.
Finally I began to understand the importance of missionary work from a new perspective. I had been called as a servant of the Lord, and the influence of the Holy Ghost was shining through me.
I am grateful to our Heavenly Father for that week of preparation before my mission. I am also grateful for my coworkers. They strengthened my testimony of the gospel by letting me see the importance of my calling through their eyes.