Your Call From the Lord
Each of us experience times in our lives where the veil is thin that separates us from God. Births, deaths, illnesses, accidents, baptism, ordinations and temple experiences are examples of these times. We may not recognize it as such. In fact, if we are not spiritually in tune, we may miss it entirely. As President Boyd K. Packer says,
“The Spirit does not get our attention by shouting or shaking us with a heavy hand. Rather it whispers. It caresses so gently that if we are preoccupied we may not feel it at all.” (The Candle of the Lord, Ensign, Jan 1983)
Nephi, Sam, Laman and Lemuel all lived in the same household and shared many of the same experiences. These experiences converted Nephi and Sam but Laman and Lemuel chose disbelief and hardened their hearts so much that Nephi later said to them:
“Ye are swift to do iniquity but slow to remember the Lord your God. Ye have seen an angel, and he spake unto you; yea, ye have heard his voice from time to time; and he hath spoken unto you in a still small voice, but ye were past feeling, that ye could not feel his words…” (1N 17:45)
If we are not listening with our hearts and minds (“feeling”), we may miss the testimonies the Lord gives to us of his love – and his knowledge of us as individuals.
Your Missionary Call
One of the most obvious messages from the Lord that will ever come to you is your missionary call. This letter, signed by a Prophet of God, should be viewed by us as coming from Jesus Christ himself. If the last time you read your mission call letter was the day you received it, we invite you to go right now, find it, and re-read your missionary call. While you read, “listen” to your feelings.
Did you know that your Bishop and Stake President add specific comments to your call recommendation to the Church according to the inspiration they feel about you? Did you know that missionary call letters are not given to a Church committee to decide? They are personally given to the members of the Quorum of the Twelve to assign under inspiration.
Several years ago, in General Conference, the exact process was outlined by Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the Presidency of the Seventy. As you read about it, see if you can feel the veil thinning between you and your Heavenly Father.
Part of my early training as a new General Authority included an opportunity to sit with members of the Twelve as they assigned missionaries to serve…With the encouragement and permission of President Henry B. Eyring, I would like to relate to you an experience, very special to me, which I had with him several years ago when he was a member of the Quorum of the Twelve. Each Apostle holds the keys of the kingdom and exercises them at the direction and assignment of the President of the Church. Elder Eyring was assigning missionaries to their fields of labor, and as part of my training, I was invited to observe.
I joined Elder Eyring early one morning in a room where several large computer screens had been prepared for the session….First, we knelt together in prayer. I remember Elder Eyring using very sincere words, asking the Lord to bless him to know “perfectly” where the missionaries should be assigned. The word “perfectly” said much about the faith that Elder Eyring exhibited that day.
As the process began, a picture of the missionary to be assigned would come up on one of the computer screens. As each picture appeared, to me it was as if the missionary were in the room with us. Elder Eyring would then greet the missionary with his kind and endearing voice: “Good morning, Elder Reier or Sister Yang. How are you today?”
He told me that in his own mind he liked to think of where the missionaries would conclude their mission. This would aid him to know where they were to be assigned. Elder Eyring would then study the comments from the bishops and stake presidents, medical notes, and other issues relating to each missionary.
He then referred to another screen which displayed areas and missions across the world. Finally, as he was prompted by the Spirit, he would assign the missionary to his or her field of labor.
After assigning a few missionaries, Elder Eyring turned to me as he pondered one particular missionary and said, “So, Brother Rasband, where do you think this missionary should go?” I was startled! I quietly suggested to Elder Eyring that I did not know and that I did not know I could know! He looked at me directly and simply said, “Brother Rasband, pay closer attention and you too can know!” With that, I pulled my chair a little closer to Elder Eyring and the computer screen, and I did pay much closer attention!
A couple of other times as the process moved along, Elder Eyring would turn to me and say, “Well, Brother Rasband, where do you feel this missionary should go?” I would name a particular mission, and Elder Eyring would look at me thoughtfully and say, “No, that’s not it!” He would then continue to assign the missionaries where he had felt prompted.
As we were nearing the completion of that assignment meeting, a picture of a certain missionary appeared on the screen. I had the strongest prompting, the strongest of the morning, that the missionary we had before us was to be assigned to Japan. I did not know that Elder Eyring was going to ask me on this one, but amazingly he did. I rather tentatively and humbly said to him, “Japan?” Elder Eyring responded immediately, “Yes, let’s go there.” And up on the computer screen the missions of Japan appeared. I instantly knew that the missionary was to go to the Japan Sapporo Mission.
Elder Eyring did not ask me the exact name of the mission, but he did assign that missionary to the Japan Sapporo Mission.
Privately in my heart I was deeply touched and sincerely grateful to the Lord for allowing me to experience the prompting to know where that missionary should go.
At the end of the meeting Elder Eyring bore his witness to me of the love of the Savior, which He has for each missionary assigned to go out into the world and preach the restored gospel. He said that it is by the great love of the Savior that His servants know where these wonderful young men and women, senior missionaries, and senior couple missionaries are to serve. I had a further witness that morning that every missionary called in this Church, and assigned or reassigned to a particular mission, is called by revelation from the Lord God Almighty through one of these, His servants. (The Divine Call of a Missionary, Elder Ronald A. Rasband, April 2010 General Conference)
As a prospective missionary, you have the right to know your call to serve is inspired. It is of the Lord. It is specific to you. It is specific to the mission you are assigned.
You need to know this so that you will continually seek for the elect – those who will believe when taught – while you serve. You need to know this so that when difficulties come during your mission your faith will not slacken. This is the place He called you to serve. The elect are still here just waiting for a missionary to open his/her mouth.
We testify that God knows each of you. Personally. By name. We further testify that you know God. Personally. By name. He is your Father. You are his spiritual child. “Nothing will surprise us more than when we get to heaven and see the Father and realize how well we know Him and how familiar His face is to us.” (Ezra Taft Benson, Jesus Christ – Gifts and Expectations, December 1988 Ensign). To this we add our own sure witnesses.
President and Sister Sweeney