" And now I say unto you that this is the order after which I am called, yea, to preach unto my beloved brethren, yea, and every one that dwelleth in the land; yea, to preach unto all, both old and young, both bond and free; yea, I say unto you the aged, and also the middle aged, and the rising generation; yea, to cry unto them that they must repent and be born again."
Alma 5:49

Monday, October 6, 2014

Why I Decided To Go On a Mission

     I imagine that there are some of you who wonder why it is that I have put my life on pause for two years to share a message thousands of miles away from home. I hope that this following post will help to answer a few of those questions. Also, attached is a link to a talk that was given by one of the leaders of my church this past weekend. I think that he is able to beautifully explain why it is that there are 88,000+ Mormon missionaries around the world that are doing the exact same thing I am.

     My purpose as a missionary is to "Invite all to come unto Christ by receiving the message of the restored gospel through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentacne, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end." This is my message, as we follow the principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ, which have been restorted by a latter-day prophet named Joseph Smith, we will grow closer to Christ and feel the peace and joy that He can bring into our lives. I am here because I know this message is true. I have felt the joys of living the principles of Christ`s gospel in my life, and I wish to share these same joys to the people of Ecuador. 

    Now I am sure many of you are thinking to yourselves, "I am happy in my church", or "My beliefs already bring me joy". And to this I say, "Wonderful!". I am amazed by the service that the many churches around the world give and how many people have a firm faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. This brings happiness to my soul. I am only here to invite people to find out if my church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, can offer them even more. I will attempt to use an example, and if it doesn`t make sense, I apoligize. 

    A family of 6 is on a road-trip, and while they are driving, they see an advertisement for a Chipotle at the upcoming exit. "Buy 1 get one free". The family pulls off, buys 6 burritos (for the price of three) and enjoys what is obviously a nice deal. When they have finished their lunch, they get back into the car, and continue their trip. Not 15 minutes later, they see an advirtisement for a different Chipotle. "Buy 1, get 5 free". The father exclaims, "I wish somebody would`ve told us about that earlier!"

   Obviously, both are very good deals, but something tells me that if you were given the choice, you would prefer the second promotion too. Well, this is how I believe it is with all of the churches in the world too. There are many great organizations that do many great things, but there is only one that is the exact same as the church Christ established while he was on the earth. 

   Again, I would imagine that many of you are thinking, "Elder Bahr, are we just supposed to take your word that your church is the right one?" Absolutely not! I don`t want anyone, whether at home or in Ecuador, to join my church because of my testimony. I want them to do it because they have gained a testimony of their own. As I have been studying and teaching, I have found there are three fundamental ways to learn whether or not my message and my church are true.

   The first is through prayer. In James 1:5 it reads, "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, who giveth to all men liberally and abraideth not, and it shall be given him." Jesus taught in His "Sermon on the Mount", "Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you." We do this asking through prayer. God is our Heavenly Father. He loves us, and He wants to hear from us. As we pray to Him and ask Him to guide us down the right path, we will feel His Spirit telling us the right way to go. I would invite each of you to pray this evening, asking God if my message is true. I know you will get a response if you ask in faith.

   The second way to learn whether or not my church is true is by reading the Book of Mormon, and again praying to find out if it is true. The Book of Mormon is the "keystone of our religion". If it is true, then our church is true. If it is false, our church is false. I again invite everyone to read, ponder, and pray about the message of the Book of Mormon. I know that it is true because I have done these things many times, and each time the Spirit of the Lord has testified of the truth of it unto me.

   The final way is by attending our church services. You cannot say you truly desire to know if our church is true without first attending. I invite you all to find a chapel near where you live and attend. If you have any questions, there will be two missionaries there to help you answer questions, just as I am doing here in Ecuador. 

   I pray that you will do these things, because I wish that everyone could find more peace and happiness in this ever-darkening world. I know that the Gospel of Jesus Christ will bless all men in whatsoever circumstance they may be in. Thank you for taking your time to read, and I hope that you at least understand a little bit more of why I have paused my life to serve here in Ecuador.

Elder Bahr

Elder David A. Bednar's address at the October 2014 General Conference.

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