166th Ask Josh – MTC Entry date, 6 years later

In Uncategorized on May 25, 2011 at 10:35 am

Note: I know there is no question associated with this. So I know this isn’t actually a question. And I know that this is the exact same post I put on my family blog at But I wanted to post it here, too.




Today marks exactly six years since I entered the MTC to begin my mission to Santiago, Chile. It is also six years since I first watched an episode of The Office (I didn’t watch it in the MTC, but stayed up until after midnight watching it with my siblings while we played Risk until 2:00 am the night before).

This morning I woke up in my apartment in downtown Santiago and I watched an episode of “La Ófis”, the Chilean version of the television franchise since I can’t watch the American version since Hulu, Netflix and NBC don’t work down here.

I can’t say that not much has changed in six years, but I can say that things have a funny way of coming full circle.

While in Chile I have had the opportunity to accompany a pair of local missionaries who are currently serving in the last ward I served in. Once I get off work at 7 or 8 pm, I take the local Metro down to the end of the red line, hop on a bus, and I meet the Elders at the chapel or I get to the evening appointment just before they do and spend a while conversing with my Chilean brothers and sisters.

One of these evenings the Bishop (note on the Bishop: back when I was in the ward he was a newly returned missionary, now he is married to the old Bishop’s daughter and has a daughter of his own) had asked the Elders to come to a special Aaronic Priesthood meeting to tell all the young men about the blessings of a mission.

There, in the chapel, were four rows of young men, many in suits, looking like mini-missionaries ready to work. On the back bench, on the end, there was one boy in jeans and a soccer jersey. I recognized the boy because I had baptized him four years earlier in my last month of service. I was sure glad to see him because I could count my converts still active and attending Church on one hand and still have fingers to spare.

After the Elders finished their small presentation the Bishop asked me if I could give my testimony of the blessings of missionary work and the changes missionary work brings to your life.

I have thought about that topic often, and Jeffrey R. Holland’s testimony always comes to mind. To paraphrase, “Every good thing that I have, I have because of my mission.”

In that same vein, I must say, that of every good thing that I have, I have because of my mission or somebody else’s decision to serve a mission. To name a few things:

Were it not for missionary work, my ancestors on my mother’s side would never have joined the Church and headed to Utah.

Were it not for missionary work, my father and grandmother would not have known about the restored Gospel. My parents would never have met in BYU. And I would not have been born to such goodly parents.

I would not have the opportunities I have seen in my educational life, my future professional life, and my current professional opportunities that I never dreamed of ever having.

More importantly, if it were not for missionary work, I would never have met my dear sweet wife, Susan. When I think of where I would be without Susan, I simply would not have any life at all. If it weren’t for members who befriended her and missionaries who taught her.

If it weren’t for my own decision to serve a mission, Susan being the righteous woman she is, simply wouldn’t have any interest in me. Thus I would be without any idea of what I wanted to do with my life, and I would be left a lone man.

So I do not take the invitation to participate in missionary work lightly. I can hardly stand the idea that someone is needlessly on a path to miss out on the blessings of the Gospel. I can’t stand the idea that someone is going to be one husband or wife short of a marriage, or one less father or mother short of a happy family.

One other blessing from my mission is a renewed testimony for how much our Heavenly Father loves us. Being the caring and concerned wife that Susan is she sometimes reminds me that I should take better care of myself by getting to bed earlier instead of getting back to my apartment every night at 11:00, and perhaps I should take the evening off once in a while, or use one of my weekends to do some fun touristy activities. I have trouble explaining to Susan over Google Voice why I feel so compelled to use all my free time on my evenings teaching lessons; or why I choose to walk all the way to work in the morning instead of taking the bus so I can afford to take metro to meet the Elders in the evening; or why I spend my weekends knocking doors trying to track down all my old friends just so I can tell them I love them and that the Lord loves them.

I want so much for these people to be happy. And I just met them one day knocking doors. How much more must our Father desire our happiness. How much more would He be willing to go out of his way to tell us how much he loves us. What great lengths and sacrifices He makes so we can return to him.

Elder Holland said: “Do you know [the meaning of the word succor]? It is used often in the scriptures to describe Christ’s care for and attention to us. It means literally ‘to run to.’ What a magnificent way to describe the Savior’s urgent effort in our behalf! Even as he calls us to come to him and follow him, he is unfailingly running to help us.” (“Come Unto Me”. CES Fireside, 2 March 1997.

I realize that some of my non-LDS friends, family and co-workers may sometimes be uncomfortable when I try to inject a bit of my testimony into the conversation. And I thank them for their patience. They don’t have to accept it, but we have to proclaim it. I have to proclaim it.

Anyway, it has been a good six years. Two of them spent on the mission, two looking for a wife, and two more courting her and starting a family with her. It’s good to be in Chile again. And I look forward once again to seeing my wife at home waiting for me when I return. Boy do I want to run to her right now.

  1. Thank you for this. I know exactly how you feel.

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