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August 2, 2014

The Shortest Two Years of my Life

Filed under: Uncategorized — Ryan Best @ 5:00 pm

This last week, Sister Jenny Olsen and Sister Abby Smith both returned home from their missions.  It seems like the time passes so quickly.  August is now upon us.  Summer time has passed really quickly this year.  In two, short weeks my children will return to school, and summer will be over.

I attended the wedding/sealing of the daughter of my childhood best friend this last weekend.  I remember her being born and growing up and now she is married in the temple for time and all eternity. What a wonderful blessing the gospel is in our lives!  Thinking about being together as a family forever makes me extremely happy.  I think if investigators of the church could understand the blessing of being together as a family forever there would be no more investigators of the church.  They would all be members of the church.

Also at this wedding I found that my friend’s son (Nathan) has received his call to missionary service in the San Jose California Mission.  As I talked with Nathan about his call to serve, I could see in his facial expressions and body posture the anxiety, nervousness, and apprehension about the next two years of his life.   I remember receiving my mission call 25 years ago to serve in the Vina del Mar, Chile Mission.  I remember the same emotions.  I remember thinking about how long two years was going to be.  I remember lamenting about leaving my friends and family behind.  I remember thinking of all the good experiences that I would miss while I was away in Chile.

Now 25 years in hind-sight, I look back and remember all the good times I had while on my mission.  I may have left my Utah friends for two years, but I made new Chilean friends.  These friendships still exist.  It is fun to see my former mission companions and their families and their struggles with the same problems that we all face.  I read about people that were investigating the church while I was in Chile, and the progress that they have made as members of the only true church on earth.  These stories bring joy to my life.  I may have missed out on jokes and jovial times in Utah while on my mission, but I have fond memories of good times in Chile.  I remember how quickly my mission passed.  It seems like just the blink of an eye.  I don’t really remember being gone from my family.  They are all still here. And the good times that I was going to miss while away from Utah…they continue even today.

I look at all the blessings that I continue to receive because I served a mission.  (I thought a mission was giving and yet in hind-sight I see my mission as receiving).  I received the blessing of a stronger testimony of our Savior Jesus Christ.  I received a greater understanding of the importance of prayer, hard work, sacrifice, service, scripture study and so many other gospel principles that I learned and practiced while on my mission.  While I thought I was giving up two years of my life to others, I have come to understand that really I have received a lifetime of blessings from my two years of service.

One of the bonus blessings I received is the fact that I now speak Spanish.  What a blessing!  I have traveled the world and used my Spanish in places that I never thought I would go.  I hate to call this a selfish blessing, but I have really enjoyed the blessing of speaking Spanish.  When I left on my mission I would have told you that learning Spanish was a necessary thing to do to serve in Chile and what a job it would be to learn.  But in hind-sight it is not so.  I enjoy speaking Spanish and I am grateful for the blessing and opportunity that I had to learn a new language.

As I spoke with Nathan, I told him those “uneasy” feelings are natural and that 25 years from now he will look back as I do at the small amount (two years) of service he gave and the mountains (a life time) of blessings he has received.

I find it interesting that in hind-sight I do not think about my two years of mission service as a long time.  It was but the blink of an eye.  The time passes so quickly.  I know everyone (me included) calls a mission the best two years of their life.  I think maybe I should all call it the shortest two years of my life.

-Daniel Burr

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