"The message of the restored gospel we share is absolutely vital... When that message is understood and lived, it can replace turmoil with peace, sorrow with happiness and provide solutions to life's persistent challenges."
"The worldwide study and application of the concepts in Preach My Gospel by every missionary has strengthened our capacity to proclaim the message of the Restoration and to teach the plan of salvation and other gospel principles... There is more devoted service in the field, stronger companion relationships, much more effective teaching, and improved retention of converts."
"I am constantly amazed at how the Holy Ghost matches the characteristics and needs of each missionary and couple to the widely varying circumstances of missionary service throughout the world."
"I have observed how some of the strongest, most capable elders and sisters are called to the United States and Canada to keep the roots of the Church strong there."
"My life has been richly blessed beyond measure because I served a mission."
These quotes are from Elder Richard G. Scott's talk: "Now Is The Time To Serve A Mission!" I love that he touches on so many different aspects and blessings of missionary work. These parts stood out to me the most as I read through this talk.
Now, to basically take this post somewhere you probably didn't think it would go:
This post is for those of us who live in the United States and Canada who are not called to serve foreign missions.
One thing that's been bothering me lately is that many missionaries tend to glorify foreign mission calls. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with being called to a foreign mission. There's nothing wrong with being excited for someone who's been called to Brazil, Russia, Africa, Antarctica, wherever. My own best friend will be serving in Argentina. My point is: missionaries who are from the United States being called to serve somewhere outside of the country are awesome. Missionaries who are from the United States being called to serve in the United States are awesome. All missionaries are awesome. The Lord needs every one of us and He needs us in different places. The thought I've always kept in the back of my mind ever since I got my mission call is, "Every mission is the most important mission." Its a good thing to think about if you're experiencing disappointment with where you've been called.
I've been called to serve in the Pennsylvania Philadelphia mission. I guess I would have liked to have been called to a place that isn't the hard core version of Utah, weather-wise. In fact, I prayed "hard core" that I would be placed in a pretty-much-perfect-weather-all-year-round part of the world. It was disappointing to me that I'd have to suffer through unbearably hot and humid summers and cold-to-the-bone winters. But I can deal. "It'll build character" ha ha (Calvin and Hobbes reference).
It's not wrong to feel emotion, I'm not saying anything like that. Feeling is normal. But I feel a little heartbroken every time I hear a missionary say something like, "I was disappointed when I opened my call. I wanted to go somewhere exotic and cool but I got called to Kentucky." (Kentucky IS cool - home of the Kentucky Derby). :) Keep in mind I'm not saying you're a bad person for feeling disappointment. I'm saying you're human.
I'm not telling you there's a certain way you should be feeling when you read that first paragraph that tells you where you will be serving for the next 18-24 months. It's different for everyone. If you are one of these missionaries called to serve in the U.S. and or Canada when you in fact grew up here, who felt disappointment for any reason, I want to tell you something: Your mission is important.
Scroll back up and read what Elder Scott said about missionaries called to serve in the United States and Canada. Your mission is so important. It is so important that the roots of the church stay strong here. Your mission is not worth less because you weren't called to serve out of the country. Think about what would happen if the church fell here. Your call is specific to the mission and areas in which you will serve. But the bigger picture here is that you are keeping the church strong in North America. Others are helping to build the kingdom of God elsewhere while you maintain and build upon what has been established in this part of the earth. Your mission is amazingly cool. :)
Maybe you've come to terms with your mission call and have acknowledged that it's not your decision where you go, that the Lord needs you there
for a reason and you've begun to go about preparing with a smile and ultimately
you've become excited and have discovered that Kentucky is the ultimate-awesome-est spot to
serve and everyone else should be jealous that you get to serve there and they don't. Good for you. :) But some of us struggle a little more.
It's a personal journey. If you're not happy about it, hopefully you have the desire to be happy about where you will be serving. I can't tell you how to be happy about your mission call but there is something else I can tell you: Your mission is important. :)