Thursday, March 28, 2013


Happy One Year of Mission Service, James!

A year ago today, March 28, 2012, James entered the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah, as a hopeful youth with nervous laughter of what lay ahead on this chosen path.  Today, a faithful and seasoned missionary, he fulfills his calling as a Missionary District Leader in Ankeny, Iowa and he loves it!

Pictured with family:  dear friends and returned missionaries Brack Mulliner, Eric Sackett and Taylor Stuart, as well as Brother Hanson, who conducted setting James apart as a Full Time Missionary on 27 March 2012.

You'd think writing a halfway post of James' one year in the mission field would be easy.  Yet, I've found myself struggling with how to capture a "year in review".  I'm almost overwhelmed with events, thoughts and emotions to filter through for a post that is meaningful and gives due justice to the significance of James' service.

I thought I'd (try to) keep it simple by summing up his and my perspectives at this halfway milestone.

James wrote this week,  "I've gone through probably the biggest change in the last 5 days than I ever thought possible.  I now see and know how to overcome my natural difficulties, or the natural man.  Please read Mosiah 3:19.  Amazing Mom!  As I go through this journey within the gospel I often giggle and smile from the same recurring thought of we never stop progressing in this life.  This gospel is always helping us do that and not only requires it from us but helps us know how.  Life has natural patterns, the Gospel helps us understand why."

From the Book of Mormon, Mosiah 3:19 reads, "For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seethe fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father."

James shares comments and scripture messages like this pretty much every week.  He loves the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  He loves people and loves doing service for people.  In a broader perspective, James has learned service is a far greater concept than good deeds.  Service is Selflessness, Love, Humility and Patience absent of Pridefulness.  Qualities that take most of us three to four (or more) decades to learn, appreciate and hopefully master!

As James' Mom, I've intimately travelled his chosen path with him.  Through his service I have received an education on Christ and find his teachings fill my heart with goodness on so many levels.  We all choose varying paths in life seeking happiness and fulfillment.  At the halfway point of James' mission, I have a renewed life perspective as well, which is James has chosen well to follow Christ's path. 

May the next year be as fun and fulfilling as the first Elder Pope!

1 comment:

  1. I think that is my son, Elder Payne with Elder Pope in the sunset. I would love a copy of this picture. It is incredible! He loved working with Elder Pope, from what he tells me. -Becky Payne