Elder Marcus Pelham: Richmond, Virginia 2012-2014
Elder Josh Field : Leeds, England 2013-2015
Elder Sam King: Brisbane, Australia 2013-2015
Elder Jason Boyce: Greece, Athens 2013-2015
'And now it came to pass that as Alma was journeying from the land of Gideon southward, away to the land of Manti, behold, to his astonishment, he met with the sons of Mosiah journeying towards the land of Zarahemla. Now these sons of Mosiah were with Alma at the time the angel first appeared unto him; therefore Alma did rejoice exceedingly to see his brethren; and what added more to his joy, they were still his brethren in the Lord; yea, and they had waxed strong in the knowledge of the truth; for they were men of a sound understanding and they had searched the scriptures diligently, that they might know the word of God. But this is not all; they had given themselves to much prayer, and fasting; therefore they had the spirit of prophecy, and the spirit of revelation, and when they taught, they taught with power and authority of God. And they had been teaching the word of God for the space of fourteen years among the Lamanites, having had much success in bringing many to the knowledge of the truth; yea, by the power of their words many were brought before the altar of God, to call on his name and confess their sins before him.'
Isn't this scripture just perfect?! I cannot believe that after six months (as of today may I add) of serving the Lord, three of my best friends in the world will be joining me in this great work of bringing souls to Christ! I feel extremely blessed today to be able to wear this tag and stand as a representative of the Lord Jesus Christ! I wanted to share with these friends (and all who read this blog) some scriptures that I have grown to love over these past six months! I am excited for our reunion (although instead of Manti it will probably be on the BYU Provo campus!) when we all share the experiences we had as missionaries!
'And now, O my son, ye are called of God to preach the word unto this people. And now, my son, go thy way, declare the word with truth and soberness, that thou mayest bring souls unto repentance, that the great plan of mercy may have claim upon them. And may God grant unto you even according to my words. Amen.'
This scripture helps me understand where my call to serve in Virginia has come from: God Himself! A missionary is called to do many things but it can ALWAYS be encapsulated by Alma's statement... to 'bring souls unto repentance, that the great plan of mercy may have claim upon them'. To some, we may be just young adults pounding the pavement, others may respect and admire our efforts but, when we look at this work through God's eyes, we are on a mission to save His children! The message we share isn't just 'interesting' or 'nice' - it is eternal truth, taught from the mouths of prophets, that enable each person to return home! In the words of Joseph Smith, 'how great is our calling'
'And whoso receiveth you, there I will be also, for I will go before your face. I will be on your righthand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, tobear you up.'
A good friend of mine shared this scripture with me at my mission farewell! This a promise from Jesus Christ that He never leaves His servants alone... He is always there! I have seen this time and time again - not only as a missionary but throughout my life! Our message is that God loves His children so much that 'He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in himshould not perish, but have everlasting life.' Christ's suffering - known as the Atonement - enables us to overcome sin, pain and grief (see Alma 7:11-13). The Atonement is infinite AND intimate - in fact, it can bless EVERY life on this earth! It is His Atonement that has got me through these six months and that will carry me throughout the rest of life's challenges :)
'Therefore, that we should waste and wear out our lives in bringing to light all the hidden things ofdarkness, wherein we know them; and they are truly manifest from heaven — These should thenbe attended to with great earnestness.'
Missions are not easy! They are not the same as how they look in 'The Best Two Years'. Indeed, every day won't be an Ensign article! BUT, the miracle of missionary work is that, for those that act in 'great earnestness' and 'waste and wear out [their lives'], there is no going back! A missionary's greatest convert is themself! THAT IS POWERFUL! I can see the growth that I have been blessed with so far and I am excited for the growth I'll undertake in the next eighteen months! I am working hard but no effort is wasted because each lesson I teach, each member I visit, each door I knock is my personal testimony that Jesus IS the Christ; that after centuries of confusion He restored His church and fulness of the Gospel through the Prophet Joseph Smith; that there is a prophet on the Earth today and, most importantly, that only through the Atonement of a loving Saviour can we fulfill our potential and grow! I love that message and I am willing to 'give up' two years to share it - I'm grateful for great friends who, even though the Atlantic seperates us, still set the example for me of why I signed my name on that page and said ' I will go and do the things which the Lord commands' (1 Nephi 3:7).
I leave this with you with love in my heart and joy in my soul,
Elder Marcus Pelham <3