As we spend more time in the temple each week, I have wondered if we are doing any good. We are not out in the world “making a difference” such as distributing wheel chairs, saving babies or whole tsunami villages. Then I recall time spent in the temple this week with a young man preparing to leave on a mission, and I realize we are helping people to become better people, who, hopefully, will help others to become better. The young man was from a small town well outside of Monterrey. He had been a member of the Church his whole life, probably attending small branches with sparse leadership and little support. He had very little of the things of the world. He arrived knowing a great deal about what to expect in the temple and what was to be expected of him as a missionary. He had a light in his eyes and a countenance that spoke volumes about his character and his enthusiasm for what lay ahead. He will definitely be making a positive difference in peoples lives. Yes, he came with some 18-year-old baggage, but he also brought a special spirit to his work that will be immediately recognizable by people who might get to meet him.
We have watched this process with young men and women closely over the years. For some reason, this young man seemed exceptional. But then, I’ve seen it so many times before. It is great to think about the impact for good these young men and women will have as they take the message of the Savior to our troubled world. We are looking forward to spending time with them tomorrow as they take a break from their work and spend time visiting with each other.
I watched another missionary who came to the temple the other day with his mission group. He was from the Dominican Republic and has been in the mission for over a year. He ran into another missionary in the dressing room who is currently working in an area where he had worked. As the two waited for the session to begin and visited (and I eavesdropped) I listened to this missionary ask about people and families in his old area that the newer elder was now teaching. He asked about five or six different people or families with whom he had worked. He wanted to know if they’d made progress in the gospel. Had they come to Church? Were they reading? He encouraged the newer elder to continue his effort to bring those people to the gospel. These young men could have been talking about almost anything else, being young men, but they were both focused on the important work they were doing to help others be better people. It was very tender, especially given where the subdued conversation took place.
So, I would have to say, it all helps. We are getting a better appreciation for that.