Joyfully Enduring To The End

India Bangalore Mission

president sister thomas

As we near the end of our Mission, we reflect on the many joys and challenges we have experienced and are thankful for them. In June 2019, we came to India not knowing what to expect but excited to discover what the Lord had in store for us. We had never been to India, and we found it to be a land of many contrasts filled with warm and loving people.

Our Mission has been one of change and growth. We started our Mission with 104 missionaries – 90 Elders, 8 Sisters and 3 Senior Couples.

In March of 2020, the worldwide pandemic struck India, and our foreign missionaries needed to return home. After the exodus, we had 51 missionaries – 48 from India and 3 in Sri Lanka – 43 Elders and 8 Sisters. The Mission went into total lockdown, and we, with our amazing missionaries, learned together how to do missionary work in a new and different way. Also, in 2020, during the lockdown, we moved out of our mission home to make room for the India Bengaluru Temple. In 2021 our Mission boundaries were realigned, and we now had 27 Elders and 18 Sisters. Once again, our dedicated missionaries remained faithful and true. These were just a few events our Mission experienced. Through these changes and events, we learned many lessons. Some of the lessons we learned or were reminded of were:

  1. Scripture teaches us, “ For as the Heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways bigger than your ways, and my thoughts than your thought.”[1] This is the Lord’s work, and He will do it His way. We need to pray and act on the answers we receive and then let the Lord take over from there.
  2. The Church is the same everywhere in the world. The members may come from different cultures, backgrounds, and economic situations, but we are all loved and equal in God’s sight. We are truly brothers and sisters – literal children of God.
  3. The Lord answers prayers, but many times not as we expect. This is when our faith grows as we submit our will to God and to His timing.
  4. Our hearts always expand as we find more people to love and serve. Hearts can never find a maximum capacity – the capacity to love is infinite.
  5. The Spirit speaks to our hearts and minds better than words. We need to focus and ponder on what the Lord is telling us and then move forward with faith, knowing He will guide us in the right path as we trust in Him.
  6. Missionary work is a work of love. It is not about numbers and baptisms. It is about people and salvation.
  7. We need to be resilient – prepared for change – because growth comes with change. We are prepared for change as we strengthen our faith through constant prayer, feasting on the scriptures, serving, and loving all.
  8. We can choose joy – no matter what our circumstances. Always choose JOY.
  9. Our missionaries begin their Mission at the MTC – Missionary Training Center, but their Mission is an LTC – a Life Training Center.
  10. The Missionary Purpose of inviting others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end is a vital lifelong process.

As we near the end of our Mission, we have thought especially about the last phrase, “enduring to the end.” All baptized members have entered the covenant path.[2] As we go through life, the question becomes, “Do we want to stay on the covenant path?” Enduring to the end is necessary to stay on the path. Unfortunately, we have watched some fall away during COVID and other life challenges. India was struck especially hard by COVID. Some people have been hardened by their trials, and others softened.[3]

Enduring to the end requires change, growth, and continual improvement, just as our Mission involves continuous change and growth. Joyfully enduring to the end means we are anxiously engaged in doing the Lord’s work [4] and not wasting the days of our probation.[5] Enduring to the end will bring us great happiness. It is not meant to be drudgery or painful. It is meant to bring joy and peace.

We joyfully endure to the end by being loving parents and devoted spouses, praying and studying scriptures daily, exercising our faith through obedience, and even working to the end of a mission. We need to joyfully endure to the end amid challenges, trials, and afflictions that may come our way.[6]

We have been blessed to have the opportunity to serve the Lord in the India Bengaluru Mission. We love our missionaries and are always uplifted by their testimonies, faithfulness, and diligence during the challenges and changes of our Mission. The lessons we learned have been powerful testimonies of truth. These lessons have taught us many things, but especially how to joyfully endure to the end. We have been joyfully blessed indeed!