Missionary Service – A Win-Win-Win

One of the themes for the April 2022 General Conference was missionary service. There were several talks given starting with President Nelson’s opening remarks. The following is the list of addresses referring to this theme:

If we look at missionary service, there are three “wins” involved. The first win is personal development for the missionary, the second is sharing the gospel with others so they can enjoy the fruits of the Spirit, and the third is the furthering of the plan of happiness and God’s work and glory (Moses 1:39).

Win #1 – Personal Development

In March of 1989, I received my mission call. I was assigned to serve in the Bolivia Cochabamba Mission. I would report to the Provo Missionary Training Center (MTC) in the second week of June where I would learn what it meant to be a missionary. The week before I was to enter the MTC there was an incident where two missionaries were murdered in Bolivia. This left a lot of questions in my mind. Where would I serve? Would I be asked to go later? What was going to happen? This was the beginning of a maturation process that has benefited me throughout my life.

I entered the MTC on the same date with the same mission call. There I learned Spanish, how to teach with the Spirit, empathize with others, what parts of the Gospel were most important to share, and how to lead. I also got first-hand experience living with another missionary as my companion. We didn’t always get along, and that was a great lesson to help me prepare.

As a missionary, you are given time for learning and growth. Each day you have your individual study. For me, this was a great time. I was able to read and study the scriptures, improve my Spanish, and understand how to bring the Spirit into the discussions I had with the Chilean people. Yes, I said Chilean. Let me back up in my story.

During the time I was in the MTC, new mission presidents were also present. They were receiving training on how to organize and run a mission. This meant that several of the General Authorities of the church would come to the MTC to train them. As part of our day, we would take walks around the MTC as a break from classes. On one occasion as we came around to the front of the MTC, we met a man with a huge smile. He shook our hands and asked where we were called to serve. There were only six of us in our class and four of them said they were called to California. I and one other missionary told this man about our call to Cochabamba, Bolivia. The man put a huge smile on his face and told us “don’t hold your breath.” He then went inside and we continued our walk.

Our instructor looked at us and asked us if we knew who the man was. We all looked at him and said we did not. He asked, “Do you not recognize one of the Apostles of God?” We responded that we hadn’t. He then informed us that it was Elder L. Tom Perry of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Elder Perry had a nickname with my friends as Elder Smiley. I smacked my head in disbelief. How was it possible to not recognize this man? We learned a valuable lesson that day.

A few weeks later I received a letter signed by President Ezra Taft Benson, president of the church, informing me that the area in which I would serve had been changed. I would report to the Chile Santiago South Mission and spend one extra week in the MTC.

In the MTC, it was easy to stay organized as the schedule was akin to High School. We had set times for classes, study, meals, and exercise. However, once out in the mission field, it was up to me to organize my day. While we had a schedule we were to follow, it didn’t always work out that way. We had to adjust and adapt to varying circumstances, including the companionship dynamic. I served with 12 companions over the course of my mission. Some were strong companionships and some were not. These experiences helped me to learn how to lead, follow, compromise, and find ways of working together.

The personal development I gained during my mission has helped me ever since. I was able to focus better on my studies, earn my degree, and secure a good job that has provided for my family. Experiences with companions have helped me in my relationship with Cheryl and my children. Learning to show empathy has allowed me to adapt and adjust to various scenarios in my family, work, and social life.

Win #2 – Sharing the Gospel

The main purpose of a missionary is to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with all who are willing to listen. This is the second win of missionary service. There is nothing quite like the feeling of discussing the gospel with people and having the Spirit confirm its truthfulness.

There were times in my mission that I was sharing the gospel, but the words coming from me were directly from the Spirit. I believe that this was the goal of the training I received in the MTC. The training opened us up to receiving the Spirit and using the words He gave us to help others feel His presence and receive a confirmation of truth. As a missionary I did not convert others, I provided a means whereby they could feel the Spirit and then find out for themselves the truthfulness of the gospel.

Sometimes people would choose to follow the gospel we shared and be baptized into the church. Other times, they would not. A mission can be a roller coaster of emotions, but a missionary must always remember that it is in the sharing of the gospel that people are brought unto Christ. Even if it happens after you are not there.

After a mission, the ability to share the gospel is retained. While not actively seeking people to hear the gospel all day like a missionary, there are still those moments where discussions turn spiritual and opportunities to share present themselves. Serving a mission has prepared me to recognize those opportunities and be prepared to discuss the gospel with anyone.

Win #3 – The Plan of Happiness

Finally, the last win of missionary service is to advance the plan of happiness. God’s work and His glory are to bring immortality and eternal life to His children. Missionary service aids in the gathering of Israel, preparing for Christ’s second coming, and brings the Spirit into more people’s lives.

Missionary service also frustrates the plan of Satan. Satan’s goal is to make all men miserable like unto himself. He tries to persuade men to think there is no God, prayer doesn’t work, and the commandments are controlling and restricting. He wants the consequences he has brought on himself to be brought upon all of God’s children. When missionaries and members share the gospel and bring the Spirit into the lives of others, Satan’s influence is diminished, truth shines bright, and God’s children are brought into the fold of God.


Missionary service is a win/win/win situation. The missionary wins through personal development. Those who do not have the gospel win as the gospel is shared with them, the Spirit testifies of its truth, and they enter into the waters of baptism. We all win as God’s work and glory are achieved while Satan’s plan is frustrated.

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