OK, my tantrum is over and I am ready to continue my quest toward the annihilation of all joy found in blogs and their derivatives. Actually, I find great joy in my ponderings and writings so I guess the previous really isn't a true statement. The point is that I am back to normal (though slightly demented) mode in my entries for this site. And for those who are struggling, I say, practice makes perfect: keep reading and enduring and you will eventually find yourself converted (or brainwashed) by the style you now consider despicable.
Yesterday I found out that Joel has been named to the Academic All-State team for swimming. He was pretty excited and I must admit that I was very impressed that he could receive such an honor. That really says something for his efforts with schooling AND swimming. Way to go Goob. Now let's hope you can make it for Baseball!!!
In 1997, there were approximately 63,000 missionaries in the field, teaching the Gospel of Christ. Shortly after that, the Brethren asked that the bar be raised and the total number decreased significantly. During those earlier years, the number of missionaries who returned home for various reasons (indiscretions, homesick, physical or mental problems, lack of desire, etc) was equal to about 5% of the total missionary force (approx. 3500/yr). Today we have somewhere in the neighborhood of 53,000 serving missionaries all around the world but the number who are returning home early has increased to a number closer to 7% (approx. 3700/yr.). These numbers were shared in a stake conference and were given by one of the Brethren in a training meeting for mission presidents. When asked what reasons there were for the increase, one of the leaders indicated that they had also had the same wonder and decided to find out. After a long survey, the conclusion was that many of the missionaries who are coming into the field are lacking in one or all of the following areas:
- Physical Strength—they have not spent sufficient time working on their physical stamina and the hard hours and physical nature of the work that is done was too much for them. A lot of these missionaries have not worked at all and many have only had jobs or duties that required minimal physical activity.
- Mental Acumen—while every missionary is required to graduate from High School and be able to deal with a certain level of thinking, many have not spent the time that prepares them for the difficult study and effort needed to teach the Gospel. One thing that was found to be a great deterrent to mental strength was the abundance of video games played by many young men.
- Emotional Stability—sadly, a great portion of those who enter the MTC are leaving home for the first time. They have always had Mom there to take care of them and their needs (food, laundry, wake-up, etc) and when she is not around it is a hard transition. Most young men adjust eventually, but there are a number that never can make the change.
I don't know this for sure, but I suspect that if you were to look at the reasons for elders going home early during the days or the 60's, 70's, and 80's you would find the preponderance to be violations of mission/church rules and doctrines. My conclusion may be wrong and I can accept that…but the point of even mentioning this is to say that preparation is the key to success in anything we do, but especially missionary work. Thinking that one wants to serve but waiting until the final months of the 19th year is not sufficient preparation to be successful. And what a sad thing when one has not made arrangements in one's life to be able to serve the Lord as He has asked!!
Rather than pick on missionaries, it might be well for me to look at my own level of preparation. Have I really considered all that I need to do to be ready to serve in the Kingdom to my fullest? What is my understanding of the basic principles and doctrines of the Gospel of Christ? Have I done the things the Prophet has asked or am I procrastinating my day of repentance while I continue living IN the world and OF the world? Wow, maybe I'm not nearly as ready as I once thought I might be at this age. Better take stock and see where I am headed.
For those of you wondering, the plant shown as almost dead some months ago is still hanging on by a thread. It now only has two stalks and the leaves are just as droopy but the green is still there and so I keep watering, hoping for a miracle. I haven't had time nor money to increase my herd of plants but maybe come summer I will be able to invest.
Another entry has come to an end. I hope it hasn't been too difficult for you readers. I enjoy my time here and hope you do also. See you next time.