Getting A Little Patriotic HereSo, I really should be studying/doing things for my Mark Twain final tomorrow, which is why I'm going to make this quick.
I've already let y'all know about my struggle about my mission call, and when I get stressed/vulnerable, Satan hits me with it again and it just darkens my day.
Funny thing, though. I'm slowly starting to clean out my desk drawers and do my laundry in prep for packing up everything and driving home from school for the last time, and in my art drawer (read: disorganized pack-rat drawer) I found a piece of scrap paper with a random email printed on the back.
The scrap paper that we use in printmaking is really that: random scraps from old lessons, art projects, and other professors' handouts. So, I have no idea who the person who printed out this email is, or who it's from, but I decided to read it after seeing it was a quote from Harold B. Lee.
It's an excerpt from an address given at a Ricks College (now BYU-I) Devotional Assembly titled "Have Faith in America." There were a few little lines in the larger quote that I know were God's tender mercy to me today as I was hit, again, with doubts about myself and my mission call.
"This is the cradle of humanity, where life on this earth began in the Garden of Eden. This is the place of the New Jersualem.... This is the place where the Savior will come to His temple.
...We must be on the optimistic side. This is a great nation; this is a great country; this is the most favored of all lands. ...We must tell the world how we feel about this land and this nation and should bear our testimonies about the great mission and destiny that it has.
If we do this, we will help turn the tide of this great country and lessen the influence of the pessimists....We who carry these sacred responsibilities must preach the gospel of peace, and peace can only come by overcoming the things of the world. Now, we must be the dynamic force that will help turn the tide of fear and pessimism."
I am so blessed to live in the United States of America and to have the opportunity to serve my mission in this country. This land, as President Harold B. Lee said, is the place where the Savior will come to His temple. This is where life on earth began. This nation was set apart and created so that we could be free to practice our religion and exercise our free agency.
Isn't that what America is? The land of the free?
Every mission in the world is incredibly important, but those who are called to serve in the United States are called to a great, wondrous task.
We are to prepare this country for the coming of the Savior.
We are to be the ones to continue to strengthen the roots of the Church so that it can keep growing throughout the world.
We are to do our part to lessen the influences of pessimism and fear.
I'll admit, I've never been hugely patriotic, and so often I take for granted all of the Church history sites that are available to me, especially here on the East Coast. This is where the Church began. I've been to the Sacred Grove multiple times. I've been to Carthage Jail. I've been to the Whitney Farm. I've been to the Hill Cumorah.
I've also had the opportunity to live half an hour away from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for most of my life. When I was in kindergarten we took a field trip to see the Liberty Bell. I've seen the Declaration of Independence. I've been in the homes and offices of the great first patriots and leaders of our country. I've walked the same cobblestone streets that they did over 200 years ago.
Don't sell the worth of this country short just because you live here. I've done it for too long, now. People have fought and continue to fight for our freedoms. Heavenly Father chose this country to be the birthplace of our church.
We are so blessed, should be so honored, to be entrusted to serve the people of this country! We are called to strengthen the hope, charity, and joy in this nation in preparation for the coming of Jesus Christ. We are blessed by the presence of the first Latter-day Saints in our endeavors. We cannot let pessimism and fear rule over this country.
Don't be like me. Don't for one second think that you are called to something lesser by being called to the US. You are continuing the work that Joseph Smith, that the pioneers, began when they had faith to cross the country, often leaving everything to do so. You are called to serve in a great nation.
(P.S. Go download this free album by the BYU Men's Chorus! It's full of beautiful, mission-appropriate and mission-centered hymns! And it's free. Did I mention that?)