Paul fidgeted in the pew, adjusted his tie, and pulled at his collar. He’d been attending services all his life at the community church with his parents, and was still getting used to the differences in meeting style here at the LDS church.
The hymns were different. The sermons were different. The setup of the chapel was different.
But the doctrine was perfect.
He had to keep reminding himself that. The rest of these things were just habits and traditions. He knew he’d grow more and more comfortable with everything in time.
Paul knew the gospel of Jesus Christ was found in the doctrine. Reading the Bible and the Book of Mormon brought peace to his heart. He couldn’t deny that. He couldn’t turn his back on the teachings of the church now and face himself in the mirror. He knew the teachings were true. And once a person knows something, he can’t un-know that something.
He wanted to shout the message from the rooftops. The gospel of Jesus Christ is true! He sat up a little straighter in the pew with renewed confidence.
The topics for discussion that Sunday morning were on missionary work. All of a sudden, they were speaking his language. As if his internal shout had been heard by God and he’d swooped in to provide exactly the words Paul needed to hear.
An older teenager who was preparing for his mission was the first speaker. He seemed nervous, but excited.
A recently returned missionary was the second speaker, and she seemed confident and self-assured.
An older married couple sat side by side on the stand until the wife stood up to speak about how much she loved being a mission president’s wife. She described the bond she felt for the young men and women who served in their area and treated her like a mother. She pulled several tissues from the box on the podium before taking her seat and allowing her husband his opportunity to speak.
The mission president talked about how much he loved the young missionaries and how much he loved serving with his wife. He encouraged older couples to consider serving a mission together and urged young people to submit their papers to the church stating their intention to serve a mission.
Somewhere between watching the older sister missionary testifying about her love for the young missionaries and the mission president’s encouragement, Paul realized that the whole day’s talks had been prepared so that Heavenly Father could tell him what he already suspected. He was going to serve a mission. And he was suddenly terrified.
He didn’t know what to do. He didn’t know what to say. He didn’t know who to talk to about it, or even if he should yet. He’d only been a member of the church just over four months. It would be another eight months before he could even leave. There was so much he needed to know.
How much was it going to cost? What types of things did he need to do to prepare? What paperwork would be required? What clothes and supplies would he need to buy?
And then there were the tougher questions. What would his parents think? How would they feel when he told them that he was going to take some of the money he’d been saving to purchase their farm and use it to serve a mission? How was he ever going to finish college?
Every question seemed to float away like a balloon on a string when he realized none of them mattered. This was his chance to wear a little black tag on his lapel and shout from the rooftops that the gospel of Jesus Christ was true!
“Amen,” Paul said a little too loudly when the mission president ended his talk. The lady in front of him turned around and smiled politely. He gave her a nod and smiled back, feeling his cheeks heat with embarrassment.
The closing hymn was Called to Serve, and Paul sang out with a hearty voice. Called indeed. He was going on a mission!
Book Club Discussion Questions: What do you think? Predictable? Do you think Paul's going to make a good missionary?