I wanted to share a letter that Elder Bateman was asked to write to the youth of his ward in Florida about being a missionary. Elder Bateman has been in Romania for 6 weeks and is currently Blair's companion. My hope is that as we read this we can better understand what our missionaries are dealing with daily. I am touched by the strength of this missionary and by his testimony of our Lord Jesus Christ. I know that the people of Romania can only benefit by having our missionaries there. ~Kim
"Today I want to write a little bit about what it feels like to be a missionary. I hope that through this, you can understand what a missionary sees, hears, and feels and how it differs from a normal person.
If you followed me around for a day, you would see a lot of people, but not a lot of smiles. You would see tons of gypsies begging for money, deformed because of what their parents did to them to make them better beggars. You would see people trying to get by by doing anything they can, like getting meals out of trash cans. Even in the people that are better off, you wouldn’t see real happiness. You would see a lot of anger, mostly directed towards my companion and I. You would see constant rejection and sometimes full days without a single conversation. But let me explain to you what you don’t see. Let me explain to you what a missionary sees. I see God’s children. I see people kept from happiness only because they don’t know where to find it. I see my brothers and sisters who need direction. I see people I love, people I want to see again one day in the presence of God.
Now what would you hear if you followed me around all day. You would hear cursing, mostly at me. You would hear yelling from everywhere, it could be coming from across the street or right in my face. You would hear discrimination, mostly based on my religion. But again, you don’t hear what a missionary hears. I hear evidence of how powerful the adversary can be. I hear voices of anger from good hearts, which simply got influenced by the adversary. I hear evidence that these people need the atonement in their lives.
If you followed me around one day, you might feel sad. You might feel lonely and rejected. That is also not what a missionary feels. I feel hope, not hope defined by baptisms or lessons, but hope that the atonement of Jesus Christ can change lives. Paul once said that “hope is an anchor of the soul.” I have realized that I need to anchor my soul in a firm foundation. The only unchanging thing in this world is Jesus Christ. When I meet other missionaries at district meetings or zone conference, I see the hands of God. I see people doing what I do every day, people doing exactly what they love... I see people that left the people they love most because they love God more.... we are happy.
A mission is a trial, but every trial is just an opportunity to make a choice. As I have done God’s work with my eyes, my ears, and my heart single to his glory, I have learned that there is no such thing as a bad day in the service of our God. As I have anchored my hope in a firm foundation, I have realized what makes this the best 2 years. I have already seen the blessings of this mission in my life and what I want you to know is that, if you go on a mission, no matter where you go, no matter what you do, you will be the miracle in other peoples lives. God will bless you, God will help you, and you will be happy every day. Don’t worry if you don’t think you are adequate, because the truth is, nobody is adequate. It is God’s promise that he will make us equal to his work. God doesn’t take away our burdens, he makes us strong enough to carry them ourselves. That is what makes a mission a huge opportunity to learn and grow. We find happiness when we stop looking for it for ourselves, and start looking for it for other people. This mission is a blessing in my life, and I am so grateful for this opportunity to serve."