Joel Tay Returns from His Mission (May 2012 – May 2014)

Joel Tay Returns from His Mission (May 2012 – May 2014)

It is interesting that there are many who have served ‘a mission’, and yet each experience is so drastically and uniquely different from the other.  From May 2012 to May 2014, I served in indisputably the best mission in the world, the Taiwan Taipei Mission.

As I ponder on key takeaways, a few scriptures come to mind that I will use to share my thoughts.

The first two lessons come from Daniel 3:17-18. First: God will deliver.

I will share a simple experience, though there are many that I could easily use to illustrate this point. I remember one Saturday night, we had no investigators committed to come to church the next morning. I felt devastated. I thought about the ways that we have found investigators in the past and thought about times when they would show up on their own at church. That night, I prayed that this would happen. The next morning, one of our recent converts brought his non-member brother to church! I did not stay in the area long thereafter, but heard about his baptism later.

The second lesson comes from verse 18. “But if not…”

Sometimes as missionaries we think, “If I am more obedient, or if I have more faith, I will see more baptisms.” This is dangerous because the inverse of the above is that if I do not see more baptisms, I have not been obedient enough, or have not had enough faith – which is not always the case. I have also seen how this line of thinking has caused some members to doubt their faith. Occasionally the truthfulness of the Gospel gets thrown in the discussion when someone is offended by leaders or other members, or when they are faced with a trial.

I have learned that the tangible rewards or relationships with others are side effects of us choosing the right. But we must do the right things because they are the right things to do, not for any other reason. The Church and Gospel are true, regardless of human imperfections. Obviously we all like the rewards, “but if not,” we still choose the right.

My final thought comes from Matt 10:39. The greatest blessing from serving a mission is to be able to spend 24 months thinking about others. The unhappiest times on my mission were when I was too wrapped up with my own needs and wants. To those contemplating a mission: a mission will break you down, but will build you up to become better than before. The paradox of life is that we will only find ourselves when we decide to lose ourselves.

I know that God is our Eternal Father. Jesus Christ is His Son, the Redeemer of the world. The Church and Gospel of Jesus Christ have been restored. The Book of Mormon is true. We have a living prophet who leads us today. I testify that Christ is my Savior and yours.