This idea of sacrificing to heed a prophet’s call is especially pertinent to any missionary who has sacrificed for the sake of serving the Lord.
One of the productions I’m managing in Nauvoo is called “The Promise”, which is set in the 1800s and tells the story of two young immigrants who fall in love with a local Nauvoo girl, Julia. While I won’t say whether the Englishman or the lumberjack wins Julia’s heart in the end (you’ll have to come watch the show to find out), I would like to share several lines from the music that struck me this week during rehearsal:
William (the Englishman):
I left so much behind me back in England;
My family, friends, my job and all I own.
Yet here, among the Saints I find a welcome
And in her smile — I find I’m home
Many of the early proselytes to the Restored Church sacrificed all they had to join the body of the Saints in Nauvoo. And though this musical was written to appeal to the modern public visiting Nauvoo, this idea of sacrificing to heed a prophet’s call is especially pertinent to any missionary—and to any Christian disciple, in fact—who has sacrificed “family, friends… and all [they] own” for the sake of serving the Lord.
At the end of the play, Chance, the lumberjack, sings in his final duet with Julia,
Not much I know for certain
But this I know for sure,
These people and their town have made me
Better than before.
And so it is with missions and with ministry: our service offered to others benefits us more than it benefits anyone else.
During this frail existence, then, may we not be overly anxious to return to our mansions above before we’re accomplished all we’ve been sent here to do. The Lord has a work and a ministry for us, a mission: to “lift up the hands which hang down, and strengthen the feeble knees” (D&C 81:5).
The Savior is our captain in this mission, and if we serve it well, at the final day, “God shall wipe away the tears from [our] eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying” (Revelation 21:4).
These “former things” will pass away, and there will be “one fold, and one shepherd” (3 Nephi 15:17).
In that day, “every knee shall bow, and every tongue shall confess” that Jesus is the Christ (D&C 88:104).
Until that blessed day, may we serve our missions well, guided by revelation. If we do so, we will find that our ministry has made us “better than before”.