I have been pondering for some time the adversity that comes into people’s lives despite the fact that they have chosen to serve God as full time missionaries. Elders and sisters are sent home for health situations. Missionaries struggle with broken appointments and unfulfilled commitments. Family difficulties come up.
Some months ago, two of the missionaries here were informed that their mothers had been diagnosed with breast cancer. This was in the same week. I wondered at the time, and am still wondering, how one deals with such a thing from afar. How does one remain focused on the work we are sent here to do? Does one cry him/herself to sleep at night thinking of the suffering of the far away mother? Does one begin to pity him/herself for the possible loss of a parent? The two missionaries in question seemed to go on with no hesitation. One has now returned home but the other still has several months before release.
When I was originally thinking on this situation, my thoughts then went to my own grandson. On a Sunday morning last May, he was informed that his father had died suddenly. What a total shock this must have been – it surely was to us. To suddenly find out that the man you have looked up to for the past 19 years is no longer around must be overwhelming. This missionary paused only momentarily and then went forward with the work he has been assigned to do. His mother reports that his mission president gives him high praise for his work and dedication. I think that maybe he is trying to be the missionary his Dad (and all who love him) wants him to be. We are proud to be his grandparents and be associated with him.
The early church leaders faced adversity after adversity and carried on. That is probably the reason they were the leaders. We read little or nothing about those that crumbled under the weight of adversity. I must be willing to deal with problems on this mission and life in general – that is what this life is all about – going forward when it would be simpler to just give up.
I am thankful to be associated with my grandson and the two missionaries of which I spoke. They are an example to me of how we should deal with the inevitable reverses that come to us in this life. May we all carry on as they have.