During fast and testimony meeting a brother slowly made his way to the podium as one sister wept while talking about her soon-to-be-missionary son.
She expressed how hard it was to be a mother in this situation, soon having to let her son go. “I would never let my child go on a mission if I didn’t know this Church was true.”
After the sister closed with “Amen”, this good brother took his place at the podium and turned to her and said, “Just wait until you drop him off at the MTC. That’s even harder.”
He then shared his two recent experiences, as he and his family dropped of his 19-year-old daughter to serve in Australia and his 18-year-old son to serve in Malaysia.
“I stood there waiting for the long line of cars to each pull up to the curb, unload their son or daughter, along with their luggage, and say goodbye for 18 months to 2 years. I was completely overcome with emotion as the reality of what these families were doing set in.”
“These families, which come from all walks of life and arrive in anything from a beat up mini-van to a $60,000 SUV, send their children off to unknown countries where they trudge through mud, eat bugs, and endure poor living conditions .”
As this brother silently watched each family say their goodbyes, one after another, after another – he felt the weight of their sacrifice.
His mind drifted and thought of those who have left the Church and those who are now ardent critics, and he wished at that moment they could be by his side.
“I wish I could go to those who have walked away from the Church, and those who are its ardent critics, and say, “Come with me to the MTC on a Wednesday morning and let’s just watch. Let’s stand together and watch these families say goodbye to their sons and daughters.”
“You mean to tell me you think these people are brainwashed? These individuals and families who in all other walks of life, in their education, in their careers, and in their communities are successful, smart, and industrious – you mean to tell me in this one area they are so ignorant and brainwashed that they would send away their sons and daughters?”
“Never. They would never do it.’
“But the reason they do allow their children to sacrifice two years of their lives is because the gospel of Jesus Christ is true.”
As this brother concluded his testimony, tears streamed down his face, and the hearts of those in the congregation burned as they felt the power of the image that had been painted in their minds and hearts.
The image of a young missionary slowly exiting a car with luggage in tow. The image of family hugs and tears being shared one last time. And the image of a missionary called of God, waving goodbye to his family as he turns his efforts to invite all to come unto Jesus Christ.