This article really hits home for my family and my Mom. With one missionary out and one missionary home we know those feelings of excitement as you wait for them to return home and those feelings of longing when you are doing the waiting.
Mormon woman responds: 'How can you go two years without seeing your son?'
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As I stood back watching this sweet moment between mother and son, a family friend, who isn't a member of the LDS Church, leaned over and said to me, “How can you go two years without seeing your son? I don’t understand how they can go two whole years.”
He caught me off guard. I wasn't prepared to explain why missionaries leave for two years because I honestly didn't know. I missed this missionary opportunity and mumbled in agreement, "I don't know. I know, it would be so hard!"
But I've reflected on that question for the last few weeks.
Why? Why would someone go on a mission for two years? Why would someone leave their family, the comforts of home, and put off an education, career and relationships? I think there are many answers on the surface: Because of duty. Because it was expected of them by their family. Because that’s what 19-year-olds in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints do.
I listened closely the following Sunday when Elder Hinckley spoke in church and reported on his mission. I suddenly had my answer. There is really only one reason to stay out in the mission field for two years without any real contact with your family, and that reason is love.
Elder Hinckley loves the Lord, more than his family, more than his friends, more than his education, career, home-cooked meals, and, yes, even A&M football games.
Elder Hinckley may have gone out on his mission because of duty, but he stayed out in California for two years because of love. He went and taught, often without success, but many times with it. He knows that the LDS Church is true. He knows that Jesus Christ died for his sins. He knows that because of Christ, he can return to live with his Father in Heaven and be with his family forever.
And because of love, Elder Hinckley went door-to-door for two years to preach the gospel to the people in Southern California because he wanted them to know of God’s love, too. He wants them to be able to be with their families forever, too.
Missions aren't always easy. You don't always know why you're out there. You don't always meet the nicest people. It can be discouraging. But it can also be joyful. You can have the Spirit to guide you. You are not with your parents, but you know they love you and are out there waiting with anticipation until you return home to them again.