April 3rd 2016
Dear Missionaries –
Six months ago, almost the entire Church wanted to reach their arms through the TV screen to hold President Monson as he stood at that pulpit. Today, conference Sunday…with all the turmoil going on in the world, I can’t help but want to reach out to each of you, throw my arms around you, and tell you how much I love you. I can’t help but think of each of you, wherever you are in the world, and be grateful for all of the work that you do as you occupy the front lines of this spiritual battle we’re in.
I wonder if you realize that every single one of us gathered together for a general conference is a byproduct of a missionary somewhere like you that has impacted us personally, or impacted our family in the past. From every apostle who sits on that stand to the humble family in a distant land, each of us are indebted to you and the cause you represent. If you ever feel lonely or tired or worried or worthless…please know that you are the superheroes of the Church. You are in a class of your own and are numbered among the finest individuals to ever walk the earth.
Lots of people have heroes. Some look at sports stars and celebrities as their heroes. Others look up to business and political leaders as theirs. But in our house…you, the missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are our heroes.
Some of you are a little banged up right now. Physically, spiritually, and emotionally…and yet I’ll bet each of you have never felt closer to God. Whether you’re “sitting on a sidewalk next to a destroyed airport” in Belgium, or kneeling down as a companionship before you leave the apartment in Boise…I know that God has reserved an increased measure of the spirit just for you. Elder Mason Wells testified of this from his hospital bed in Belgium, wrapped in bandages…from head to toe.
“I know that God does listen to the prayers – and that the prayers the people are doing right now…they make a difference…because I’ve felt them.” – Elder Mason Wells from a hospital bed in Belgium in the wake of terrorist attacks
I don’t think that I’ve ever heard a prayer offered in the temple that didn’t include an outpouring of love and appreciation for you…the missionaries of the church. There are mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, nieces and nephews that wet their pillows with their tears on a nightly basis on your behalf.
But it’s more than that. I don’t know of a faithful member of the Church that doesn’t love you and look up to you. We are constantly pleading with God for your safety, success and happiness. We may not be able to be there with you, but you are in the forefront of our minds. From primary kids to patriarchs…We all have your back! And God has your back!
You know this already, but God has promised to be “on your right hand and on your left.” He sends his Spirit to be in your hearts! And He even sends His angels to bear you up in the same way that Christ was sent an angel to strengthen Him during His most challenging hours in Gethsemane.
You are the green berets of the church, our spiritual special forces unit and your motto has always been to “liberate the oppressed,” and we love you for that.
I can’t speak for any other member of the church, but to us…in our family…you are the face of the church and the strong hands of God. You are brave and selfless and an inspiration to us all.