Missionary service has long blessed lives of many

Though missionaries are called and sent forth primarily to proclaim the gospel and baptize unto repentance, a by-product of their service is the strengthening of their own testimonies, which in turn allows them to be a greater blessing to others.

On Nov. 23, 1884, President George Q. Cannon, then first counselor in the First Presidency, commented concerning these blessings in an address given in the Tabernacle on Temple Square:"It is very interesting to hear the testimony of the Elders who have been on missions and who have returned therefrom, as our brethren who have spoken this afternoon. . . .

"Sending young men upon missions is an excellent method of . . . giving them an opportunity of proving for themselves whether the testimony they have heard from their parents and others is true. When a young man leaves home to go to a foreign land, in the midst of a cold-hearted and prejudiced world . . . and has to depend upon his Maker, and upon the promises which He has made, he is in a most excellent position to learn for himself the truth of the words of the Savior and the truth of the testimonies that he has heard from his parents and friends. I rejoice exceedingly that our young men have this opportunity, because it brings home to them in a most unmistakable and convincing manner the truth of those testimonies they have heard. . . .

"It is in this way that the knowledge of the gospel that we have received is perpetuated in our hearts and in the hearts of our children - transmitted from one generation to another, as it has been and is being done at the present time among these Latter-day Saints.

"Today there is a host of young men growing up in this country who have in this manner proved for themselves the truth of that which I am now speaking of. It was in this manner that I learned most convincingly in my youth that this was the work of God. I believed it, yes, I may say I knew it to be true, but when I was sent out as a missionary without purse and scrip and compelled to feel after God and ask Him for those things that I wanted, I learned to my entire satisfaction that when I did need God's blessings He was at hand to confer them upon me according to the desires of my heart and the necessities of my case.

"In this manner men who are now of middle age have grown up with this knowledge, and the youth today are in their turn acquiring the same knowledge, obtaining it through the means which God has appointed and in the manner He has designed."

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