The Greatest Message The World Has Ever Known
by Kathy Penrod
My sister and I do a thing. Actually, maybe most women do this. When one of us purchases something new we inevitably wind up having a conversation similar to the following:
Me: OOooh! I love your skirt - SO CUTE!
Sister: Thanks. I love it too. Got it at Target.
Me: No way!!
Sister: Yep, and it was 35% off.
Me: I am going to have to go get one.
There it is. I noticed something my sister had. She expressed her joy at having it - even told me where to find it. And then life went on as usual. I imagine that we are not the only two people to ever do this. If you know a good steak house, you are bound to share with friends who ask. If you found a fool proof way to get gum out of hair, you are going to pass along your knowledge to the next person who has needs it. If you are out on a date with your sweetheart and select an amazing flavor of ice cream, chances are, you are going to want your significant other to also taste the deliciousness. Schools, pediatricians, best cars to drive... and the list goes on and on about the kind of information we are willing to share.
The thing is, as humans, it is natural for us to share something that we love or that is important to us. Something that makes us smile or improves our day is bound to do the same for our friends and loved ones. That’s how we are as people. It is how I am as a person.
And… it’s how I am as a Mormon.
You see, I have found the greatest message the world will ever know. I have found the truth that surpasses all truth. I have found the key to happiness, the key to maintaining family relationships beyond the grave, and the key to my personal salvation.
So, if I am willing to share where I purchased my newest pair of jeans, or where to find the best pediatrician, or how to navigate around Disneyland without the headaches, then it stands to reason that I would most certainly share the message that can change a life; change an eternity. Because I believe this to be such a critical message, I have taught my children from the time of their infancy, first, what this amazing message is and, second, that they will someday be able to share this message with other people in this world. Because of this, I have sent of 3 children to go share this message and serve the Father of us all.
A few weeks ago, we said a bitter-sweet farewell to our 3rd missionary, our 18 year old son, who is on his way to share this incredible message of hope to the good people of South Korea. I have been asked multiple times, “How you can do it?” “How can you send your child so far away, for so long, with such minimal contact?”
Well, the answer is that sending your child off never gets easier and, yes, I miss my son like crazy. I miss the late night talks, the hugs and the smiles. I just miss him. And yet, I wouldn’t want him to be anywhere else.
And here’s why…
I believe that this most important message I have been writing about is truth. I believe there is a God in Heaven who knows each of our names. I believe that his Son, Jesus Christ, is our Savior. I am as sure of his existence as I am of my own. I love Him and have had countless experiences where I have felt His love for me. Because I have felt this sweet, sacred love, I want others to feel the same way.
Here is the truth, the Gospel of Jesus Christ is, in fact, on the earth right now: The same Gospel that existed when Jesus walked on the earth. That Gospel is found within The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I believe that happiness comes from embracing Jesus Christ and His gospel as it is on the earth today. I believe that sacred priesthood ordinances, found within His restored Gospel, bind disciples of Christ to Heaven itself. I believe that this Gospel IS the most important message the world has ever known.
By accepting Jesus Christ as our Savior, by living as He would have lived and by accepting those priesthood ordinances, one is enabled to make his or her way back to our Heavenly Home. And the best part is, those who partake in these priesthood ordinances will be together with their earthly family forever! For all of eternity. That means I will be with my family always. That means goodbyes are temporary.
I’ve been raised knowing someday I would send my own children on a mission. So, in a sense, that has prepared me for this time. But the real reason I am okay doing it is that this message is of more importance than anything. Nothing is greater. So, believing that, why wouldn’t I want my children to serve missions? If sending my son to a country 6000 miles away means that others get to learn of Jesus Christ and come to know the happiness that He and His Gospel has brought me, then it makes missing my son worth it. I also know that goodbyes are never really goodbyes. I have my son for the rest of eternity. I’m okay sharing him for a couple years so others can also have their children forever.
And that is it. That is the real reason I am okay sending my children out on missions. It seems such a small sacrifice to make.
Next time you see some LDS missionaries, you will know that there is most likely a mother (like me) back home praying for her child’s safety and maybe you will also understand a little bit of why we send our children out. And, maybe, you will let them into your home to share this message with you. Just maybe. :)