Tuesday, July 16, 2013

I'm going on a mission!

Hi ya'll my name is Marisa Juarez... and I am going on a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints! So, as a future sister missionary I'm commonly asked two questions by my curious clan of a family who are not members of my church. This blog post will address these questions to help them, my friends, and really any curious soul understand my decision. The legendary questions are: Why do you want to go? What is your purpose?
First, let me address why do I want to serve a mission in the first place before I go into what a mission is. I want to start by saying that I did not grow up a member of my church, I always believed in God but never understood my purpose in life or the fact that I am not alone. Two years ago I became friends with a very special person to me, her name is Julie. She showed me that I didn't need to conform to society or peer pressure, and that we can have standards and still be super awesome people just by being ourselves. Long story short I investigated for a year then met the most          (Elder Szab0, Me, my friend Ben, and Elder Nelson)
amazing missionaries in the world! Elder Nelson and Elder Szabo. They helped me concur the fears that were holding me back, if it wasn't for them and their decision to leave home for two years to serve the people in the California Anaheim mission I would not be who I am today! They are my hero's because they put in so much to see me have the same joy that the gospel had given them. So, why do I want to serve a mission? It's simple, I want to work really hard to be able to give other people who don't know about the gospel the same opportunity I had when I learned about the church. Imagine you found the cure to cancer, how urgently would you want to spread the news of your new found discovery? Who would you tell? The gospel of Jesus Christ is the cure I have discovered that can help so many lives and as a Mormon I want to share this good news with as much urgency as I would the cure to cancer. I want to be an instrument in the lords hand in bringing his kingdom together! I want to see the light of Christ come into the lives of those who are seeking the truth of the gospel. I know that to others leaving for a year and a half seems like a long time and like a big sacrifice. However, to me it will be worth it to see the blessings the lord has promised come into the lives of those who are willing to keep his commandments. To me a year and a half won't be long enough. This is my personal experience that has truly given me the desire to serve a mission.    
But why the Mormons? I want to first point out that the lords church has always been one of missionary work. Jesus Christ's life was the perfect example of missionary work! During his ministry on earth he taught the gospel at all times, in all places, and to all types of people. Jesus taught the educated in the temple, the sinners, the faithful, and the unbelieving. He also called apostles and disciples to preach the gospel so more could hear of the blessings of his good news. He commanded them "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature" (Mark 16:15).
So why do Mormons send missionaries all around the world in this modern day? And how does it apply to me? We believe we are all apart of one heavenly family, so missionary work is less of work and much more trying to help out our fellow brothers and sisters.
FACT: Right now there are tens of thousands of missionaries walking, driving, or ridding bicycles around the world, handing out copies of the book of Mormon and sharing the gospel with the people they meet.
Why would these people volunteer to leave their homes at their own expense and dedicate a period of their lives to preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ?  The lord said "Proclaim my gospel from land to land, from city to city... bear testimony in every place, unto every people" (D&C 66:5,&). We take that commandment to heart and look for opportunities to share the blessings we have received from living the gospel with everyone we can. Jesus taught "Except a man be born of water and of the spirit, he can not enter into the kingdom of god" (John 3:5). Knowing that certain ordnances like baptism are necessary to return to live in our heavenly fathers presence we feel it urgent to share this message. While we believe we work out our own salvation, we want to help others around us do the same. If it was not for members like myself I would not have found the Gospel of Jesus Christ that has blessed me so much in my life. Because we are all sons and daughters of our heavenly father, the more of us who can enjoy eternal life the happier we will all be.
Finally, What do missionaries do? (PS. thanks for sticking through all that, I just found it all so important to understanding why). All prospective missionaries turn in an online application to the church head quarters and they receive a call to a specific mission throughout the world. This is where I am in this process, I am almost ready to submit my application. Then missionaries spend a few weeks in a Missionary Training center where some learn a new language and all rigorously study and practice teaching the gospel. Then they depart to their various locations around the world to start their service. For example, my best friend Sister Rubio is about to enter the missionary training center in Provo Utah, then will leave for Peru Lima East. A missionaries life is completely dedicated to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Missionaries put off school, dating, and work for a period of either 18 months, or two years to focus entirely on the lords work. I personally have learned that this not my work, or my churches, but the lords.  
Now we believe that every member is a missionary, but we call those who put other things aside full time missionaries. I'm very much so looking forward to being a full time missionary. I hope this post helped you understand a little more. Member or not.
.... My next post will cover the day to day life of a missionary.

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