Friday, November 7, 2008

The MTC and the Purpose of Life

On Monday I went to the MTC. I go once a week to be taught in Italian so that missionaries can practice their language skills in an authentic setting. Often I come home having learned something important... but this week was amazing.

Since I've realized that the Lord gave me gifts and talents, and expected me to use them, I've tried to be anxiously engaged in every cause I felt necessary. Volunteering, leadership roles, councils, church callings, athletics, music, writing, and everything else. But, alongside simply using my talents and gifts, there were times when I felt like I was truly fulfilling my purpose in life. Talking with a friend and seeing their eyes light up with a newly learned principle of the Gospel. Singing to a group of strangers in the middle of a Florentine Plaza. Writing and sharing my thoughts each week. Everything seemed disconnected – like the Lord had somehow given me all these unrelated talents and multiple unrelated ultimate purposes in life. The thought came when I fielded my own question – if I were able to accomplish all my career goals in education in 5 years, what would I do next? For the last few weeks, I've wondered exactly what the Lord wanted my focus to be in life. I went to the MTC this week and played the role of a Catholic university student. During the course of the lesson on the Restored Gospel, I told the missionaries of my plight. I was trying to do good, but felt there was something that would help me see a bigger picture – help to guide my every action... and I wanted to know what that was.

I'm not sure what I expected from those two Elders. The goal of the question (as part of the scenario) was to give them a reason to talk to me about personal revelation and the Restoration of the Gospel. But, deep down, I knew from personal experience that asking real questions leads to real answers. The lesson kept going until one elder suddenly pulled out his scriptures and turned to 3 Nephi 5:13. “You talked about searching for your unique purpose in life. This is Mormon, a prophet in the Book of Mormon,” he said... “and here he talks about his purpose in life. I feel that this might be your purpose in life, too.” I took his scriptures and read the verse. “Behold, I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, and I have been called to declare his word to his people that they may have everlasting life.” A surge went through me as his companion looked up and said, “I have a very strong feeling that this is your purpose in life, David. This is why the Lord sent you to this earth, and this is why we are here - to let you know that your purpose is to share the Gospel.”

In a moment, every question I've ever asked the Lord ran through my head. In past years, I wondered why I had been given talents. I wondered how to use them. I wondered what tied their expression together. And suddenly it all made sense. Everything I've been given was designed to help me be a missionary. My ability to write, to sing, to think, to reason, to speak, to dance, to do anything... everything was to enable me to declare the word in every way possible.

The Spirit bore witness to me that this is my purpose in life – to share the Gospel with others and help them to come unto Christ, whether through writing, singing, dancing, or anything else. I guess the next logical question is: what do I do now?

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