“Preparing for a Mission,” New Era, June 2009, 31
As the young men in the Denver, Colorado, area turn their minds to missionary service, they start seeing things a little differently.
Stuart McFadden, 19, of the Denver Colorado North Stake, who was recently called to serve in the Mexico Tijuana Mission, says, “A mission is two years of sacrifice, of showing gratitude for what we’ve been given. It’s a chance to serve the Lord and your fellowmen.”
He feels that his most recent Church calling in the Primary helped him prepare to teach the gospel. “I got to teach the really young kids—CTR 5,” he says. “They’re full of energy and light. Just seeing the light in their eyes is a powerful thing. When you’re talking from the heart, you can see what they feel, that they know it’s the truth.”
His Primary calling was also helpful in other ways. “It definitely helps you deal with some stressful situations,” he says.
He has also been studying the Book of Mormon, which he says is “the truest book on earth.” In addition, he has studied Preach My Gospel, noting how it encourages a sort of spiritual self-reliance. “It always suggests that you write down notes and pray about it,” he says. “It’s like it’s saying, ‘Here’s what you’re going to teach. Take it from here.’”
For Ian Griffey, 17, of the Arvada Colorado Stake, the closer a mission gets, the more focused he gets. “Before, it wasn’t on my mind as much,” says Ian. “In interviews with the bishop it always came up, but I would just say, ‘Of course I’m going on a mission.’”
But, he says, things are slightly different now. “I’m shifting my emphasis,” he says. “When I was 16, it was a little more about fun and stuff. Now I’m more focused on the Lord. A mission gives you a purpose.”
Keeping that focus can be hard, says Ian. “One part of me wants to just mess around with my friends. But a mission shifts your focus, especially with dating and the world’s view of dating.”
But Ian has one bit of advice that has helped him: “Keep your focus on what you truly want for your life.”
Brett Hellbusch, 18, of the Denver Colorado North Stake started thinking seriously about a mission when some of his older friends started leaving. “A mission is something you really ought to do,” he says, “but you actually have to be ready and worthy to go.”
Part of Brett’s preparation has included sharing the gospel now. He frequently goes with the full-time missionaries to teach, and three of his friends have been baptized and confirmed in the past few years. From these experiences, he has witnessed the effects of the gospel of Jesus Christ in people’s lives. “You can see how much happier they are,” he says. “You can tell that their lives are better because of it.”
These and other experiences have also built up his motivation for serving a mission. “You have to come to a point where you really want to go, not just because your parents want you to,” he says. “Have that desire yourself, and work for it. Go on a mission for the Lord, yourself, and the people you’re helping to convert.”
The Savior is at the center of his desire to serve a mission. “Because of Him, you can return to live with Heavenly Father,” he says. “He atoned for all your sins, so the least you can do is go on a mission.”