“Soldier for the Lord,” Liahona, June 2017
Many years ago I served as a full-time missionary in the Mexico Monterrey North Mission. I felt it a great privilege to give missionary service.
When I began my mission, I left one matter unresolved. I had not yet received the paper relating to my discharge from military service. This document is extremely important. It means that a young man has completed his mandatory military service and has the right to work and study. He is recognized as a citizen of Mexico.
As the date for the issue of this document approached, I began to worry. I wrote to my parents and asked them to see if it was possible for them to pick up my military service book. When I received their next letter, I worried even more. They told me that they had already been informed that it could be released only to the person to whom it belonged.
I felt an urgent need to pray to the Lord and ask Him what to do. The answer, which did not come immediately, was that I should explain my problem to my mission president. During my conversation with him, two alternatives were discussed. One was that I could simply “trust in the Lord.” The second was that I could go in person to pick it up. The decision was mine.
I was unsure about what to do. I confided my concerns to my companion, and we were strengthened as we read this scripture: “Know ye not that ye are in the hands of God? Know ye not that he hath all power, and at his great command the earth shall be rolled together as a scroll?” (Mormon 5:23). This scripture dissolved my cloud of confusion. From that moment I read it, I knew that it was my duty to give my complete efforts to my missionary labors. My problem was in the hands of the Lord.
A little while later, I received another letter from my parents. My father wrote the following:
“Son, I went back to the National Defense offices one more time, to try to find a person who could help us solve your problem. After speaking with a great many people, I was directed to a certain place. I arrived feeling quite discouraged and desperate. The first thing I saw was a huge door, which was opened wide and guarded by very imposing two soldiers. I gathered my courage and passed through, and found the office to which I had been directed. As I knocked, I felt nervous but also that I was being guided by the Spirit of the Lord.
“When I went in, I saw an officer seated behind a desk. On his chest were a great number of medals, and the walls of his office were covered with colorful certificates. He shook my hand firmly and solemnly, and asked, ‘What is the purpose of your visit?’
“‘I have a son who is serving a mission,’ I replied. ‘Because of this, he could not come to pick up his military service book. I have come to see if I can pick it up in his place.’
“‘No, you cannot. It can be released only to the individual to whom it belongs,’ stated the officer.
“At that moment, the Lord enlightened me with His Spirit, and I said, ‘Sir, you have many soldiers under your charge who are responsible to you for the fulfillment of their duties. In the same way, my son is fulfilling his duty to preach the gospel of the Lord at this time. At this very moment, he is a soldier for the Lord.’
“At this, the officer arose from his seat and said, ‘Do you have any identification? What is the name of your son?’
“After I had answered his questions, he called a secretary and said, ‘Bring me the papers for this young missionary.’
“He signed them, sealed them, and turned them over to me. Nothing else was required. I shook his hand firmly and gratefully. My son, your papers are now in order and you must show your gratitude to the Lord by serving Him as a true soldier.”
After receiving this letter, I thanked the Lord for using His great power to intercede on my behalf, for the answer He had sent in response to my prayers, and for enlightening my father. I pray that we may all place our full confidence in the Lord, and never forget His promise: “Ask, and it shall be given unto you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asketh, receiveth; and he that seeketh, findeth; and to him that knocketh, it shall be opened” (3 Nephi 14:7–8).