With a good dose of both struggles and joy, hardships and humor, missions change us forever. Listen to the lessons learned by some recently returned missionaries:
An elder: I’ve realized that I have a testimony of my own I’ve been converted myself.
A sister: You don’t always see the fruits of your labors, but then some small thing happens and you know you were in the right place at the right time.
An elder: I learned that Christ is more than amazing, more than intelligent, more than incredible. Not only are there no words to adequately describe him, there are no words to describe how I feel about him. I always knew he was my Savior, but now I understand more about what that means.
An elder: I grew more spiritually on my mission than I had my entire life before. I can count the books I read before my mission on one hand. Now I honestly can’t stop reading.
An elder: My outlook on everything has changed. I simply don’t think the same as I did before (and that’s good). What was important to me then isn’t that important and what I didn’t care much about has become my priority.
An elder: I always wanted to see Christ. I always felt like that would be the ultimate, but if you think about it, everyone will see him one day. Just seeing him doesn’t change a person. The goal isn’t just to see him, but to be like him. That happens over time as the Spirit works with us and molds us. The ultimate is not seeing him, but Him seeing his countenance in us…. My children and my children’s children will hear about the people I have met on my mission and the difference that came into my life.
A sister: The mission has been like an onion—sometimes it made me cry, but it was worth it because of the flavor it added.
A sister: A mission is like walking through a field of rose bushes. I felt the prick of the thorns and got mud on my shoes when I was going through it, but now that I look back, all I see are the roses.
An elder: In the Bible you read of how Christ took a few loaves of bread and fishes and used them to feed thousands. I think that is what he does with missions. He takes a few Elders and Sisters and then multiplies our efforts to bless thousands.
An elder: I’ve learned that if we don’t sweat in the sector we will never get wet in the baptismal font. I’ve learned to work my heart out for a good cause.
An elder: Before the mission I was happy with my accomplishments in football, school, and student government but I never had the joy I experienced in the baptismal font. .
An elder: I always knew I should go on a mission, but I never dreamed of all I would become on a mission.