When the First Presidency of the LDS Church announced the lowering of mission age-requirements, the news excited many members of the Church, and there was a drastic increase in the number of full-time missionaries.
However, not all of the missionaries who left to serve did so with an eye single to the glory of God, as the latest fad of the Church’s youth spreads like wildfire. Those considering missions should carefully prepare and personally commit to represent Christ in order to develop the love and faith necessary to serve those in their assigned areas.
I had the privilege to serve a full-time mission and found it to be an enjoyable and fulfilling experience; it was the best decision of my life. However, while I was serving, I found several missionaries who said they only served because everyone expected them to.
Acting without seeking the impressions of the Spirit is like trying to study traffic patterns with a blindfold on. It is not safe, and it is not productive in the long run. I admire those who go to serve and represent Christ, but it must be done with sincere desires and deliberate preparation. Those serving because they want to impress others are looking for approval from somewhere other than heaven. Seeking the approval of others, while disregarding personal values and desires, leads to internal chaos and confusion.
Being a missionary can be the greatest thing in the world if done with a willing heart and the right focus. It should not be done to impress others and win their approval. Acting according to revelation, and with personal standards and desires, creates a feeling of lasting happiness and satisfaction that will bring peace to the soul and prosperity to all endeavors.