Mon, Apr 21, 2014 3:03 pm
I was recently asked by a good friend, Emily Schlieff, to explain what it is I am doing out here in Idaho as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. So I decided to tell everyone!
My purpose as a missionary is to, "Invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the Restored Gospel, through faith in Jesus Christ and His atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end." That comes from our missionary manual called, Preach My Gospel, p. 1. As of today there are almost 85,000 missionaries like me all around the world in almost every country doing the same thing I am doing - inviting others to come unto Christ and inviting them to increase their personal relationship with God, our Father in Heaven, and His Son Jesus Christ, our Savior and Redeemer. The reason I am out here in Idaho for two years of my life is to help people realize and know the happiness that comes from a personal relationship with our God and our Savior Jesus Christ which fills in the empty places in our hearts in a way that other worldly things cannot. I can barely even start to explain how much the Gospel of Jesus Christ has blessed my family and me. We have been blessed with peace, love, happiness, unity and an abiding joy in our lives. I hope others have been lifted by my testimony as I share it every day.
How we fulfill our purpose as missionaries is through deep study of the scriptures and then applying it to teaching people. I have taught people from ages 1 to 93 years old, people from Italy, France, Iraq, Mexico, and Hawaii and all over the United States who somehow end up in south central Idaho. You have probably seen missionaries like me walking the streets in your own town. We wear white shirts, ties, dress slacks and a name tag which distinguishes us as representatives of Jesus Christ. The only two names on our black name tag are our name and Jesus Christ.
Now you probably are wondering what this "Gospel of Jesus Christ" we are teaching about really is. The three main discussions that we have with people are The Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, The Plan of Salvation, and The Gospel of Jesus Christ. I will briefly explain about these three discussions. If you want to learn more about them there are probably missionaries in your area who can explain them in more depth. The teachings of Christ are simple, yet they take a life time to understand. I don't believe anyone during this life can fully understand the Gospel and what it means to us, though we need to learn all we can.
The first of the discussions is about the Restoration. There is a distinct difference between the words restoration and reformation. To reform is to change. Restore is to bring back to its original form. We know that God has called prophets and provided us with truth during all ages of man. He gave knowledge to man through prophets such as Moses, Abraham, Isaiah and even Adam, our first father. There is a pattern of rejecting the prophets in the Old Testament and New Testament. Even after God sent His Only Begotten Son to the earth, mankind still rejected Him and His Gospel. Jesus Christ set up His church by calling 12 disciples and commanded them to preach His word everywhere. Again we see rejection from the human race and the gospel truths were turned to fables. We share a message of God once again calling a Prophet to restore His truths and authority in the earth. In 1820 a man named Joseph Smith was called as the first prophet of the latter-days. With the Restoration of the gospel came another testament of Jesus Christ called the Book of Mormon.
The Plan of Salvation can answer three questions, "Where did we come from?", "Why are we here?" and "Where are we going after this life?" Everyone has asked themselves these three questions. We are blessed to know we lived with God before we were here on this earth. We will be able to live with Him again.
The Gospel of Jesus Christ incorporates the principles and ordinances that we all need to do to follow in Jesus Christ's footsteps and one day return to live with our Heavenly Father. The gospel entails all of Christ's teachings with these being the first principles and ordinances - Faith, Repentance, Baptism by immersion, Receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost and Enduring to the End. All the principles and ordinances work together to help us through this life and continue on in happiness.
As missionaries, we start our day waking up at 6:30 am. and are ready to study our scriptures by 8:00. We study for about two hours. Then we are out the door finding people to teach, teaching, visiting people and giving service until 9:00 pm. Some night we don't get in till about 10:00 because we always have something to do! Just as the Apostles of old we teach on the street, in people’s homes and at church. All of our time is used to help better people’s lives by helping them understand the truths of the gospel. That is what makes it all worth it, to help people find the truth and change their lives for the better, to bring happiness and peace to all of God's children. It does get very challenging at times being rejected so much but the good out ways the bad by a hundred times! Being a missionary of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the greatest calling I have ever had.
I know what I am doing here in Idaho, what 85,000 other missionaries all over the world are doing is the work of the Lord. The Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ in one hundred percent truth! With the Holy Bible, the Book of Mormon and guidance from modern day living prophets and apostles, we can find the "One Lord, One faith, One Baptism" that Paul talks about in the book of Ephesians. I have prayed to God to know if this church and the Restored Gospel are true. With all of my hear,t I tell you IT IS! I encourage you to explore this truth and ask God for yourself. Don't take my word. Find out for yourself. I know as you do, you will feel a witness from the Holy Spirit and will be filled with the love of God. I love you all. I hope you take to heart what I have shared with you. It comes straight from mine! Any questions you can ask me or my family or search out the missionaries in your own town! God bless you all.
- Ethan Howard