Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Missionaries Are a Treasure of the Church

This entry is part of my general conference application series.

Missionaries Are a Treasure of the Church, by Kazuhiko Yamashita
Of the Seventy

The principle of proxy or vicarious work should be central to all Christians. Why else did Christ suffer if not as a vicarious offering for others? It is only by accepting His sacrifice that we are saved.

Similarly, temples of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are where faithful saints perform proxy ordinances for their deceased ancestors (like baptism, a necessary ordinance). They, too, can accept or reject the proxy "work" that has been done for them.

As I read Elder Yamashita's talk, I felt a proxy kinship with missionaries that served in Japan. I feel this connection because my wife's family has experience with Japanese missionary work: my father in law served there as a young man and then again as an adult overseeing the missionary work in Tokyo; my wife and her brother lived in Japan in middle and high school, respectively; my brother-in-law returned to the same mission as a full-time missionary for two years of dedicated service.

While they labored across an ocean, I went to the land of my forefathers... or, more specifically, my father: I went to Idaho!

While perhaps not as exotic or exciting as Japan (I imagine people don't laugh when they hear that someone served a mission in Tokyo, like they do for Idaho...), I think my mission and missionary experiences were wonderful! And I think Elder Yamashita might agree:

I am thankful that missionaries are called by the Lord, that they respond to that call, and that they are serving throughout the world. Let me say to all of you beloved returned missionaries: I am truly thankful for all your efforts. You are a treasure of this Church. And may you always continue to be missionaries and act like disciples of Christ.

Did you hear that? I'm a treasure.

And just like nature's buried treasures—potatoes—I'm now associated with Idaho!

But I do still enjoy sushi.

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