OBEDIENCE “Why do you want to go on a mission?” asked Stake President Tsersigni during our missionary interview that gave us cause to ponder and search our souls. I immediately responded with my desire to fulfill a goal I had set for myself many years ago; to spend 2 years doing only what God asks me to do, and following His will 24/7 was the ultimate service and life goal.
The attention now fell to Larry. As I turned to look at the man sitting next to me, I saw deep emotion, his face full of color and tears welling in his eyes. “I am the father of my family,” he began. Finding words to explain his deep feelings was difficult. “It’s time for me to step up to the plate in my family and do what a father should do in his family. I want to go on a mission to fulfill my part.” Tears now began to choke his words. “My patriarchal blessing says that I will serve a mission. But, as a youth when I was called by my Bishop to go, I could not because I had been drafted and was to report to the Army that week. I have waited all my life to obey that call. My son’s both served full time missions. I was so proud of them, of all my children who have been so faithful in the church. My dad and my brothers served. Now it is my turn.”
I thought of this as I watched, Larry, looking at the large map in the Mission Training Center lobby. Here is an obedient man. He obeyed the call to serve his country, to do his duty, never a thought that he was risking his life for God and Country. “It’s my duty, now, to finally serve the Lord and go on a mission for my family.” Here he stands 45 years later to fulfill that call.
The Stake President looked over our application for a service mission. He paused, looking intently at Larry, “If, the Church Presidency decide differently, and you are called to a proselyting mission, will you accept that call?” I held my breath, knowing that Larry would rather work and do service with his hands and that this question made him uncomfortable. His answer was immediate, soft and humble. “Yes.”
Obedience is a gift, a quality, a talent in Larry. One of the reasons I love him and can completely trust him. And the tender mercy from the Lord, is that He called us to a mission that combines Larry’s desire to build with my desire to teach and share my love of historical art. And the funny thing is, that this week of Preach My Gospel training in the Missionary Training Center, has made Larry into the best proselyting Elder. He is powerful as he shares his feelings and speaks about the Gospel.