Thursday, December 11, 2014

Enduring Bonds

"Some say a bond is made when people are tied to an emotional experience. For us that emotional experience grew over two years"

 Often times we take for granite the people that have blessed our life. Look at your average teenager today. Far from their mind is what someone means to them. They are caught up in hanging out with their friends, playing video games and just trolling through their fancy phones. You can’t really blame them for this behavior. After all they are teenagers, responsibility isn’t in their vocabulary yet. Relationships with others just sound awkward to them, especially the thought of telling someone how they really feel about them.

It wasn’t until I served my mission for the church of Jesus Christ that I came to understand this. Not until I started to think of others besides myself did I begin to appreciate the role people have had in my life. A new missionary leaves his family for 2 years to share the Gospel of Christ that has blessed their life. I remember those first few days having to look around the room and see other young men feeling lost like me. We had to come together and form a relationship, a bond you might say to be able to endure the journey ahead. 

The Book of Mormon provides great examples of men coming together to lift each other. Alma, Ammon, and Amulek, embark on the same mission I did with my new friends. While teaching the Gospel they experienced heart ache and difficulty. People rejected them and removed them from their cities. Remaining diligent in their purpose to share the Gospel they were able to find joy and peace from enduring it together.

During the course of my own mission I can remember many of my own occasions similar to these examples of the Book Of Mormon. Stopping strangers in the street with a companion to testify of our message. Being yelled at to leave someones property and never come back. Questioning if I was really in the right place only to look over and know my companion had over come the same doubts and fears. We became strengthened together under our purpose. 

Lifting each other up with encouragement and sometimes helpful reproof, we all grew closer together as missionaries. Like Alma and Ammon there were times when we would not be able to see our fellow missionaries for weeks or even months at a time as they were assigned to labor in various portions of the mission boundaries. 

Ammon is quoted specifically for his joy and how full it was when he was reunited with his brethren after their long and strenuous effort. I recall vividly the memories of those final days as a missionary. Coming together in the mission home to share of our experiences and testimony. Having fast forwarded now through our two years it was hard to comprehend that the difficult, trying and exhausting experience was already over. It had been so long, but seemed so short.

I sat in that room that final night scanning across the faces that I had personally watched grow. Memories and moments that I have had with each missionary flooded back as they stood to testify of Christ. Instantly, I was reminded of specific streets and faces of people as we stood shoulder to shoulder and testified of the Savior and His work.

Each missionary that gloried in God that night was a witness to me of the love the Gospel of Jesus Christ carries. It brings us together under the greatest cause ever to be imagined. I was heavy with gratitude and appreciation for all God had given me the past two years to build these types of friendships.

The memories of walking different streets in the rain, cold and scorching heat, the meetings of coming together and unity are memories never to be washed from the mind. They are imprinted permanently upon the soul of each missionary.

Once a young teen uninterested in anyone else's life but his one, I had grown up. I had seen the blessings of caring for others and building something special with them. Creating a bond that would be unique only to us and our experiences. 

Some say a bond is made when people are tied to an emotional experience. For us that emotional experience grew over two years in to many ways to list. We knew that as we boarded the plane the next day to return home after two years, we would join with Ammon and his brethren in boasting of our God and tasting of the great joy that was ours to have. We can endure anything when we have a true bond with one another. 

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