what is a missionary and why are we so happy?
Who are these people you see all over the world with these little black name tags? What exactly is a missionary? Sure, being a missionary for me included lots of laughs, dancing, and videos and pictures of sunsets, but it is so much more than that. Being a missionary was something so much deeper. The external joy that I have shown comes from a source so much deeper. This pure happiness that I feel comes completely from embracing the gospel of Jesus Christ and coming unto him. I love the gospel and I love the Lord, and because of that, I am happy. The gospel gives me an unexplainable amount of confidence and joy. It is as simple as that. So sure, the mission includes many silly moments and smiles, but it is just a reaction to the deeper, purer joy I have been able to experience within my heart.
In the Book of Mormon, this principle is taught in one of my absolute favorite verses. In the book of 4 Nephi, it teaches us the key to happiness itself. It says, “And it came to pass that there was no contention in the land, because of the love of God which did dwell in the hearts of the people… and surely there could not be a happier people among all the people who had been created by the hand of God” (verses 15-16). Happiness is much simpler than we realize. Having the love of God in your heart is a chain reaction. The love of God is going to make you act better, which will bring many people together in peace. With that, we all start to love each other more and help one another. And as time goes on, the love of God will radiate off of so many people, and we can become our most happy selves.
This is what I have experienced on my mission. There has been a chain reaction of the love of God in my heart and in others that has created the happiest environment and lifestyle I could imagine. Missionaries every single day go out and dedicate their whole might, mind, and strength to serving the Lord and helping those around them. This whole-hearted service brings an inexplicable joy and peace. Some of the most common things that I was able to do on my mission included community service, either in a larger group setting or in a personal way; ministering to those in need of help emotionally, spiritually, and mentally; being a friend and someone to talk to; and most importantly, sharing the restored gospel of Jesus Christ to all we came in contact with – the purest source of peace and joy you can find on this earth. Every day, we would walk the streets and talk to every person we saw offering a helping hand, sharing gospel truths, inviting them to come unto Christ even more, and asking for any other people they might know that are in need of a message of peace and truth. As each day went on, I would lose myself more and more in the work. I began to not care about myself but only strictly care about my brothers and sisters and my father in heaven’s will. It is true what is taught that when you lose yourself, you find yourself. I have become someone so much better and someone so much happier because I have lost myself in the service of others and the service of God.
The missionaries you see walking around your neighborhood and around the cities are not people to be afraid of. We have a completely innocent desire of just wanting to share the happiness that we have felt with others. To go on a mission is a choice we all have, it is not something we are forced into. It is a choice that we make because of the burning testimony inside of us and a desire to share. We volunteer our time, talents, and all of our efforts to this cause. We leave our families with very minimal contact for 18-24 months and even have to make monthly payments so that we can serve. There are lots of sacrifices that go into serving. Many people wonder why we make this choice. It often seems like we are sacrificing and giving up too much. My answer to that question has always been very simple and straightforward – I served a mission and sacrificed all of this because it is all TRUE and it makes me so HAPPY. That alone makes it worth it. It is so important to me that every single person on this earth gets the chance to hear the most life changing truths of the gospel. To know that Christ’s church is on the earth today; that we have a living prophet at our head; that Jesus Christ’s priesthood authority is on the earth; that God has a very specific, loving plan of happiness for us; that there is more light, knowledge, and direction we can receive through other volumes of holy scripture; and that revelation and miracles have not ceased is life changing and so important.
Because of my opportunity to serve, I am happier. I have become even more converted to the Gospel of Jesus Christ because of my mission and that gives me such greater peace, purpose, and confidence. I have been changed for the better. I have put myself in the hands of my loving Heavenly Father, trusting in him, and he has made me someone so much greater and brighter than I ever was before. He is completely aware of us. Heavenly Father knows us so personally and loves us so deeply. His son Jesus Christ atoned for our sins, which is the greatest blessing ever imaginable. These are reasons to rejoice. These are reasons to be happy. I have been so happy on my mission because I have embodied and embraced the gospel in my life. All things that I have done have reflected back and directly related to this most precious gospel. I can testify with all of my heart and soul that the source of happiness itself comes from the pure love of god in our hearts, and I know that as each of us embraces it and lives it with all of our being that this pure joy can be in each of us always.