When I was in the MTC, my best friend Sister Allen (now serving in the Morristown New Jersey Mission) gave me a well known missionary talk called, "The 4th Missionary". It's 24 pages long, but in short it goes through the character traits of 4 types of missionaries. In short definitions that don't do them justice, here is what they generally are.
1st Missionary: 0-25% true effort, dedication and desire
2nd missionary: 25-50%
3rd Missionary: 50-95％
4th Missionary: 95-100% Gives their whole will to the Lord. The best kind of missionary.
I've reflected on this talk time and time again throughout my mission, often trying to measure up to a 4th Missionary, but all too often feeling like a little kid who is not tall enough to ride the big roller coaster; Not measuring up and just seeing how much I lack. But just as often in those times occure, I have felt the spirit teach me the same lesson over and over. "Do your best, that is all God asks of you." If I am doing my best, I am pleasing God. I might not be the picture perfect model missionary, but if I am doing my best, I am being a 4th version of something better. A 4th version of myself. A 4th Sister Stevenson.
An important lesson I hope every missionary learns is to be yourself, not compare yourself to others. I feel that God would much preference a 4th Sister Stevenson, than a typical clean cut, robot perfect 4th missionary. 4th version of yourself means to be the best version of yourself. Someone who still does all they know they should, but is still true to their personality, talents and strengths. God sees us from that perspective. He sees us for what we can become. Our potential. He sees our weaknesses and shortcommings now, yes, but those things aren't nearly as important to him as what he sees us to become. He sees the big picture. So this week I thought,` If God always sees me for what I can become, Well then, can I peak a look? Can I see who I can become?
So this week, I prayed to God to teach me who I am. I prayed, "What does it mean to be a 4th Sister Stevenson? I have an idea of who that person is, but I'm not quite sure. Can you teach me? What does she look like? What does she sould like? What does she do? So I decided to do ask President Uchtdorf says, and he said, "The words written in the scriptures and spoken in general conference are for us to “liken them unto [ourselves],” not for reading or hearing only."
So I did! I put myself in the scriptures. As you read this, just replace Sister Stevenson with your own name (a 4th Maddy, a 4th Jacob, etc..) and take a peak of what it means to be a 4th version of yourself or in other words, you living up to your full potential.(not quoted exactly)
And a 4th Sister Stevenson suffereth long, and is kind, and envieth not, and is not puffed up, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, and rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
And a 4th Sister Stevenson is young, and is were exceedingly valiant for courage, and also for strength and activity; but behold, this was not all--she is a woman who is true at all times in whatsoever thing she is entrusted.
Yea, she is a woman of truth and soberness, for she had been taught to keep the commandments of God and to walk uprightly before him.
And a 4th Sister Stevenson is a strong and a mighty woman; she is a woman of a perfect understanding;...a woman whose soul did joy in the liberty and the freedom of her country, and her brethren from bondage and slavery;
Yea, a woman whose heart did swell with thanksgiving to her God, for the many privileges and blessings which he bestowed upon her people; a woman who did labor exceedingly for the welfare and safety of her people.
Yea, and she is a woman who is firm in the faith of Christ, and she had sworn with an oath to defend her people, her rights, and her country, and her religion, even to the loss of her blood.
And it applies to all of us, that we all can be a 4th version of ourselves everyday. Who says it takes a long process to get there? We can be our best everyday. We can be like our Savior everyday. And when we do, we'd be surprised when it is said of us like it is said of Moroni.
Yea, verily, verily I say unto you, if all men had been, and were, and ever would be, like unto a 4th Sister Stevenson, behold, the very powers of hell would have been shaken forever; yea, the devil would never have power over the hearts of the children of men.
If we look at our goals for ourselves as something we already are, as in my nature is to be a 4th version of myself, than our vision is so much clearer.I know God sees us for who we can become and in just waiting for us to see it too. I know he lives and loves us! And I know if we do our best, we will find that the 4th version of ourselves, is a lot like that of our Saviors.
This is my testimony in the name of our Redeemer, Jesus Christ, Amen
Love you all!