“From time to time we need to remind ourselves why we have missionaries. It is because of a commandment from the Lord, who said: “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.”
“This commandment is one of many that have been renewed because the gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored in its fulness. Missionaries serve now just as they did in New Testament times. The book of Acts describes early missionary labors of the Apostles and other disciples following the Lord’s mortal ministry. There we read of the remarkable conversion and baptism of Saul of Tarsus, who had previously been “breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord” and persecuting members of the fledgling Church. From such beginnings, Saul became the converted Paul, one of the Lord’s greatest missionaries. The final 15 chapters of the book of Acts report the missionary labors of Paul and his companions.
“In a letter to one of his most trusted companions, Paul wrote to young Timothy, “Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.” That counsel is just as valid for us now as it was then. It applies to our full-time missionaries; it applies equally to each member of the Church. Whether full-time missionaries or members, we should all be good examples of the believers in Jesus Christ.
“Full-time missionaries, some 52,000 and more, serve in 340 missions around the world. They are believers and devoted servants of the Lord. Their purpose is to “invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end.”
“Like Timothy, most full-time missionaries are young men. Some are sisters; some are senior missionaries. We love each one! Missionaries serve to make life better for God’s children. Heavenly Father loves every one of His children. After all, He is their Father. He wants to bless them with His greatest gift, that of eternal life. Missionaries so teach wherever they serve. They help people to develop faith in the Lord, repent, be baptized, receive the Holy Ghost, receive the ordinances of the temple, and endure faithfully to the end. God’s work and glory—“to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man”—is also the sacred work and glory of each missionary.
“We need more missionaries—more worthy missionaries. During His earthly ministry, the Lord told His disciples, “The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest.”
“At this morning’s session of general conference, our beloved President Thomas S. Monson made an impassioned plea for each young man of this Church to prepare for missionary service. I hope his entire message will be heeded in every home of the Church.
“To President Monson’s wise counsel, I add my witness. In my family, I have observed the blessings that come to each missionary. Thus far, the number of our children, grandchildren, and their spouses called to serve as full-time missionaries is 49, and that number will continue to increase. In each instance, I have seen the growth in wisdom, maturity in judgment, and flowering of faith that developed in each missionary. They, just as many generations before them, embarked in the service of God to “serve him with all [their] heart, might, mind and strength.” Missionary service has helped to shape their divine destiny.”
(From Be Thou an Example of the Believers, by Elder Russell M. Nelson, October 2010 General Conference)