Each missionary must choose

Every young man and woman who packs a suitcase and enters the Missionary Training Center on a Wednesday can tell a tale of sacrifice. Each forsakes family and personal desires to serve the Lord.

Such service, which often comes at personal expense, is a demonstration of love and sacrifice unknown on such a scale among any group in the world.

Several recent incidents receiving media attention highlight the drama missionaries face when deciding to serve.

Jimmy Scholzen and Adrian Gomez are two college-aged baseball players refined by competition at the highest levels. Each held the prospect of a promising career.

The greatest decision either faced was choosing to walk away from the sport they loved to preach a gospel they loved even more.

"You get pulled both ways," said Jimmy of the Hurricane 6th Ward, Hurricane Utah Stake. The opportunity to play Major League Baseball for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays was the fulfillment of childhood dreams.

But in the end, "it's just between you and the Lord," he said.

Jimmy knew what was at stake. Years before, his older brothers had offers to play professionally rescinded when they chose to serve missions.

He feared the same would happen to him. "I called the (team and said) I needed to go on a mission. I knew my shot at baseball was over," he said.

About the same time, in Vancouver, Ore., Adrian was listening to an enticing offer to play baseball for a major university. But he knew what he wanted to do. There was no need to hear the whole presentation. He cleared his throat and gulped a breath of courage and told the coach he planned to serve a two-year mission — a desire he had since he was 12 years old.

"It was scary," said Adrian. The coach went into deep thought, sipped some water, and for two minutes — perhaps the two longest minutes in his life — sat in silence.

Like so many young men, they made their decision to serve regardless of the consequences. But to their delight, both were promised offers to play upon their return.

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