Missions allow youths to share the Lord’s glory
When people find out that our youngest son is serving a mission for our church in Mexico, I'm sure they wonder why parents would allow their child to do that. Our youngest son, Travis, continues a tradition I started when I was a young man of 20.
My wife and I are lifelong members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Our parents and grandparents were also members. My wife was born in Southern California, while I grew up in Hawaii. Her parents are both Hawaii-born and raised. We met and married while attending Brigham Young University-Hawaii.
I was the first to serve a mission in my family since the time of my grandparents' conversion to the church. Our three older children, two sons and a daughter, have also served missions. After completing a semester at the University of Utah, Travis was called to serve a two-year mission to Mexico.
Why do we do this? We have been taught since we were young children that we should take the opportunity to share with others the joy we receive through our faith in God and his son Jesus Christ. What better way to do this than to spend a few years of your life dedicated 24/7 to serving the Lord? That's as simple an explanation as can be given.
Our children were not compelled to serve. However, they are taught from childhood that it is a sacred obligation to serve our fellow men in this manner. Young men serve for two years, while young women serve for 18 months. Each young man or woman must provide their own support, or their families may provide financial assistance as they serve.
Young men and women are sent throughout the United States and the world to spread the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Many who serve in foreign countries learn languages that they will retain and use for a lifetime.
When they return from serving on a mission, they are mature, humble and motivated to get on with their lives through higher education or vocational training. Many also marry and start families of their own.
They return prepared and eager to serve in the church as well as in the community. The experiences they have gained while serving missions will forever influence the quality and direction of their lives.
The benefits our children have received through performing this selfless service far outweigh any time given or money spent to serve missions.
Bode Uale is president of the Honolulu Hawaii Stake, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.