The Few. The Prepared (Trezlyn Bartschi; August 18, 2014)

The Few. The Prepared
By Trezlyn Bartschi

The family is gathered and an undeniable feeling of positive anticipation fills the room. A large white envelope passes through each person’s hands until it arrives in yours. Animated guesses are made as to where you have been assigned. The long awaited moment has arrived, and you will shortly be on your way to a specific part of the Lord’s vineyard to labor in love and service as a member of our Heavenly Father’s latter-day army. As you respectfully open the call letter, your heart begins to pump energetically, and you find your eyes drawn to a specific line which reads, “You are assigned to labor in the California Ventura Mission.” Upon finishing the inspired letter sent by the prophet of God, an array of emotions starts to manifest itself. Joyful exclamations of congratulations and praise are heard. Peace fills the room, and smiles light each person’s face with a divine contentment. Within your own soul, you begin to feel a type of familiarity and connection to Ventura California.

Hermana Trezlyn Bartschi
(Nov. 2012 - Apr. 2014)
is a student at BYU-Hawaii
Preparations and specific training soon come to pass. An eagerness to begin finding, teaching, and baptizing your brothers and sisters in Southern California motivates you to do your best and to take advantage of the personal training and spiritual bolstering provided in the missionary training center. The aspects of life as a missionary in the field are completely unknown, yet you are more than willing to follow in the footsteps of the inspiring prophet Nephi to “…go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded…” (1 Nephi 3:7). 

Before you know it, you find yourself on the front-lines of the battle between good and evil. You are stationed somewhere within the beautiful boundaries of the great California Ventura mission. There are difficult moments intermingled with indescribable joy and peace. The phrase “there is no growth in the comfort zone and no comfort in the growth zone,” becomes completely real as you experience uncomfortable “growing pains” on a daily basis. At times the challenges seem almost unbearable, but you think of Christ and of your devotion to Him and to His gospel. Motivation to continue “onward ever onward as [you] glory in His name” comes as you “forget yourself and go to work.” Upon reading the scriptures, a sense of duty and devotion begins to swell within, and heavenly aid can be felt instantaneously. The fact that the Savior is indeed marching alongside you into each step of the battle becomes a necessary and most cherished truth. “Thou therefore endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.” (2 Timothy 2:3) You determine within yourself that you are truly a disciple of Christ, and your conversion becomes such that you believe once a disciple, always a disciple. There will be no going back! The battle is indeed real, but it does not stop you or halter the progression of the divine work at hand. Prices are paid to bear such a title as “representative of Jesus Christ.” However the privilege associated with such a calling, and a deeper understanding of our Savior’s ultimate price paid, makes the price asked of you bearable. Each encounter proves to help you become a better trained and more reliable latter-day stripling warrior. For indeed, you “seek to be trusted more than loved.” There is an obligation to continue fighting faithfully as you recognize and act upon the Lord’s expectation of receiving your valiancy, courage, strength, activity, and loyalty in all things (Alma 53:20). At once, as if out of nowhere, you are summoned to leave the front-line and return home. You have successfully completed your tour of duty and what is left of your worn and tattered uniform is thrown into your suitcase as you humbly wave goodbye and honorably solute each of those you have grown to love. Tears of joy fill your sincere eyes that burn with the light of the Master. You have honorably obtained the ranking and title of “returned missionary,” and an indescribable sense of pride and gratitude is received from above.

The title has been earned, but that will not suffice. The title must be retained! As a returned missionary you must be faithfully optimistic and live in such a way as to be worthy to be utilized at any given moment. Indeed, the battle is still real and continues to rage day by day. You have had unparalleled preparation and are a choice and valiant soldier with a crucial role to play in God’s army. The question of “who’s on the Lord’s side who?” remains a question to be answered each day through your life’s actions. Do you continually see yourself fighting on the Lord’s side with confidence and power? Are you actively engaged in this war between right and wrong to the point that you are an advocate and fighter for truth and righteousness “at all times, and in all things, and in all places?” (Mosiah 18:9). If you were again drafted to the front-lines right now, would you be ready? President Monson’s comforting assurance that “the future is as bright as your faith,” must fortify your daily endeavors with an unmistakable resiliency. “Brethren, shall we not go on in so great a cause? Go forward and not backward. Courage, brethren; and on, on to the victory! Let your hearts rejoice, and be exceedingly glad. Let the earth break forth into singing...” (Doctrine and Covenants 128:22). It is my humble prayer that we, as returned missionaries, are always sufficiently prepared and willing to be the first to fight! May we each remember that “today is a great day to be a disciple of Jesus Christ.”