Posted on 4:35 PM by Elder Bergloff
Have you ever watched one of those movies, hopefully not on your mission, where someone is about to die and their whole life flashes before their eyes? The other day I had a similar experience where I felt my whole mission just flash before my eyes.
In this experience, I saw myself entering the MTC. I saw myself walking down the streets of Philadelphia. I saw myself gain a testimony of the Restoration. I saw myself teach some of the greatest people I have ever met. I saw myself happy. I saw myself tired… a lot. I saw myself serving God.
How do you see yourself?
Do you see yourself happy? Do you see yourself angry or mad? Do you see yourself lazy? Do you see yourself urgent in the work? Do you see yourself getting along with your companion? Do you see yourself still at home? Do you see yourself as a child of God?
I have often pondered on how my mission has affected me and in what ways I have grown. I strongly encourage each of you to do the same. Now this isn’t an excuse to get, “trunky” or homesick, but it can be a great opportunity for you to evaluate the changes that you’ve made in yourself and the changes that still need to be made.
So what will you see, when you see yourself? Will you like what you see? Will you want to change what you see?
At the beginning of the mission you were asked to complete the PPM “D.I.E.T.” or Dynamic Initial Entry Training. In this D.I.E.T. you were asked to complete the second bullet point in P.M.G. page 152. On this page it asks you to think about your final days as a missionary and then to ask yourself: “What do you want to say you have done as a missionary?” “What do you want to have become?” and “What difference would you want others to notice in you?”
Now at the end of my mission I have reflected upon what I said in regards to these questions. One of the greatest things about missions is the amount of reflection we are able to do. To reflect back upon our lives and the changes we are able to make. President Murray said that a mission is like rehab. We are able to go through it and completely change from our old selves and become something new, something better. President Schaefermeyer has said that a mission is like the Lords University. It is here that we are able to learn and grow and gain a strong testimony/diploma of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Upon reflection of these questions we should then determine what we can do to further change and improve. We should be like those people in the vision of the “Tree of Life,” continually pressing forward.
I have often pondered on the steps of change, and asked myself, “What can I do to begin the process of change to become a better “Me?” Some steps that have helped me are to first, recognize my imperfections; second, resolve to change those imperfections; third, reach worthy goals that will help me complete this change; and finally, rely upon the Savior to help achieve this change within myself. I call this the 4 R’s to Change. Recognize imperfections, Resolve to change, Reach worthy goals, and Rely upon the Savior.
Resolve to change. I think many people would say that Recognizing and Resolving would be the same; however I have found that we must not only recognize, but resolve or decide to change. We must actually determine within our minds to give up whatever imperfection we might have and become something greater. This is perhaps one of the hardest parts of change. The natural man within each of us desires to, not only remain stagnant in its progression, but often to digress in glory. “For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father” (Mosiah 3:19). You might ask yourself “how” can this be done? In one of my last interviews with President Murray we discussed resolving to change. He told me that I was like the man who comes to the edge of a cliff at the darkest time of night. The man steps right up to the edge of the cliff and looks down. Nothing but darkness. There are only two options, step off the cliff and trust in God to be there, or stand there and wait for something to happen. At the time I was the man who chose to wait for something to happen. We must each resolve to be the man who chooses to trust in God and take that step of faith into the darkness. Resolve to change and know that the change will be for the better. It might be scary and uncomfortable, but it will be worth it in the end.
Reach worthy goals. After recognizing and resolving to change we must then set goals that will help us obtain that desired change in ourselves. Goal setting is an eternal principle. When I think of goals I think of a caterpillar. A caterpillar is one of the miracles of God creations. A caterpillar’s life starts out in the form of a tiny, green, almost “warmish” creature. It then has, but one mindset--to eat. After its consumption of food it begins its phenomenal transformation into a butterfly. Now how does a caterpillar relate to goal setting? By setting goals we are able to leave our old selves behind, we are able to become something far more incredible then what we left behind. A key point to remember about goal setting is to make our goals obtainable and not overwhelming. Unobtainable and overwhelming goals lead to discouragement and frustration, and will, more then likely, lead to failure. Another key point to remember is to not give up. Sometimes results will take time, and it is important to “press forward” and keep working at those goals that we have set for ourselves.
Once again, Change and Happiness go hand in hand. A missionary once asked me, quite spontaneously, if I was happy. Taken aback I said the obvious, “Yes.” “No Elder, are you really happy?” was his reply. I then thought for a second about the past transfer I had been in, and I couldn’t answer with a true yes.
Our spirit once lived with God. Our spirit knows what it was like to live with our Heavenly Father. That same spirit that lived with God now dwells inside each of us. Our spirit desperately wants to return to live with God again. Our spirit wants us to change.
Are you happy? Let us all be able answer yes to that question.
I testify that righteous change brings happiness. I have seen it not only in my life, but in the life of countless individuals I have come across on my mission. Change will give meaning and substance to your life; and will bring joy to each day of, not only your missions but, your entire lives.