What's a Mormon Mission, Anyway?
Hey, I'm Dain.
So, you're probably wondering what this is all about. If you're Mormon, you might have a good idea, but if you're not, that's okay. I'll explain.
I'm a Mormon. Let's get that out there. I'm a Mormon girl who really has a hankering to go on a mission.
The short answer is: a proselyting LDS mission is a period of anywhere from eighteen months to a few years, completed by young men and women as well as older couples, when the missionary goes to a place far from home to try to teach others about our church (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) and what we believe. Those jokes about the kids with black nametags that start with "Elder" in suits on bikes? Or the young women with black nametags that start with "Sister" who always wear knee-length or longer skirts and a huge smile? Mormon missionaries. Most of the time, they're just normal kids who postponed school, marriage, jobs, and everything else in order to try and bring the Gospel to people who need it in their lives. Missionaries have very regulated, very limited internet access, have no personal cell phones, and only get two phone calls/Skype calls home per year. Often, they are called to a foreign country and expected to learn and teach in that country's native language. They're expected to keep to Church standards, which includes things like no alcoholic drinks, coffee, smoking, or drugs, wearing modest clothing, and clean language.
Mormon missions are different from normal missions (I think). For boys it's two years and girls it's eighteen months of going out into the world to a place you are assigned, completely on your own, and meeting some strangers there who are missionaries like you from all over the world, and working with them to try to bring the message of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to the people you meet.
You don't get to choose where you're called. It could be to Bulgaria or Idaho Falls, Idaho. Your companion, your partner in crime, could be from Tonga or from Rhode Island. The only thing you're guaranteed to have in common is that you are both member of the Church and you both hopefully believe in something about it.
So why would anybody want to go somewhere far away from their family and friends and live with a series of strangers while trying to work with said strangers and talk to people who aren't interested—or even hostile to—their message?
I don't know. Beats me. But I've got that itch, and I just know that I need to go. It's less about me, I think, and more about the fact that there are billions of people in the world who don't know that their Heavenly Father loves them. Some don't even know that He exists. Let alone do they know that Christ's true church has been restored to the Earth, and with it the blessings of eternal families, prophets, and the role of the Atonement of Jesus Christ in our lives.
My point is that missions are very taxing, psychologically, emotionally, and physically, and very demanding spiritually, but they are so worth it. So even if you don't respect the Church or the Church's teachings, I think you should respect missionaries for how much they sacrifice in order to do what they do. I know that I do.
If you have any questions about LDS missions and missionaries, feel free to leave a comment below and I'll try to answer them as best I can.
(If you want to know more about exactly what I believe, you can go to my testimony page.)