Missionary service refines the spirit

Trading home, schooling and comfort for the rigors of full-time missionary labor may seem at first to be a sacrifice, said Elder Carlos H. Amado in his address to the priesthood Saturday evening.

But the thousands who have served and counted their blessings afterwards testify that sacrifice does not exist, he affirmed."It will be your privilege to serve two years as a missionary with an eye single to glorify God and build His kingdom," said Elder Amado of the Seventy. "During that time, Christ will refine your spirit. He will mold your character and plant in your heart the principles that will permit you to live in righteousness and joy in this life and for eternity."

He encouraged the young men of the Church to "expand your vision and recognize that you have ties with God; lift your sight and live worthy of the priesthood you hold. Learn in your youth to control your passions, desires, and appetites.

"Seriously prepare yourselves to fulfill your glorious responsibility to preach the truths of the Restoration. . . ."

He said that within "each priesthood holder should burn the personal conviction that the mission of Jesus Christ was unique; the Son of the Eternal Heavenly Father and of a mortal mother, especially chosen, He became the only Begotten Son of God, which qualified Him to be the Mediator, Savior, and Redeemer of mankind."

Elder Amado told of Elder Hermelindo Coy, a Kekchi-speaking missionary from Guatemala who was diagnosed with bone cancer about 17 months into his mission.

"With the help of a translator and using examples from the farm life with which he was familiar, he was told that he had little time to live. He asked to remain in the mission and serve as long as possible, even until his death, related Elder Amado. As Elder Coy's condition declined, he was given 24-hour care by mission nurses and his mother, a non-member. During this period he taught his mother the gospel, including the Plan of Salvation, in his native tongue.

"His face radiated assurance and light," said Elder Amado. "Elder Coy was understanding with power and conviction what he was teaching."

The young man died a short time later and "his death blessed all who knew him. His faith was so simple it was contagious. He never feared death," said Elder Amado.

Elder Amado concluded: "Arise and shine; be like the over 49,000 missionaries who today are taking light, hope and knowledge to those who need it."

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