We can fill the world with knowledge of Christ.
On November 17, 2020, my son put on a tag engraved with the words “ELDER GOUGH” and I put on a necklace that said “Missionary Mom” as he began his 2-year full time service for the Lord and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Three days from today, our little family will be back together again. I will get my long-awaited hug, and then I will listen to him recount how he has spent his time, the people he’s met, the experiences he has had, the service he gave, and the relationships he built. I know that I will laugh, because he is almost as funny as my husband, and I’m sure that I will cry, because that is what I do when I feel joy and when I feel another’s sorrow. And though he will be happy to be with us again, it will be so hard for him to leave the life he’s lived for the last 24 and a half months.
And pretty soon, it will be like he was never gone at all. Until he leaves again for college. But already I can tell you he will never regret the time he sacrificed to serve the Lord and the people of Arizona. I can tell from our phone calls and his occasional emails home that he has grown and matured in ways he never could have guessed. He has met people who have changed him. And he has created a relationship with Jesus Christ. They have become friends. He has helped Michael through some of the hardest days he has ever experienced, and He has rejoiced with him on the best days he has ever had.
Looking back, I can honestly say it’s been the fastest and the slowest 2 years of my life. I have missed that boy like crazy! He is my serenity after all. He has the most calming spirit about him, and he is one of the best listeners I have ever met. He is a tease and loves to startle me as often as he can. I have even missed that. But I know our family has been blessed by his sacrifice. There are blessings both seen and unseen that are directly related to his willingness to serve. I will forever be grateful.
I am so grateful for the message of repentance that my son has been sharing in Arizona. This life is hard and I am so weak. I make mistakes all the time. I can’t imagine having to live my life with sins piling on my shoulders with no way to shed them. I am so grateful for the atonement of Jesus Christ that offers me grace. Grace to be cleansed. Grace to overcome. Grace to do and be more than I could ever without Him.
Jesus Christ loves us! He knows us individually and cares about every aspect of our lives, our worries, our dreams, and even our jobs. He wants to be involved in them. He wants to help us and inspire us. He wants us to feel His love and to be His partner in all things.
I am so proud of my son and his service. I am so happy for the lives he was able to touch. Mostly I am happy that the Savior has been able to work in his life, teaching him about himself, helping him develop divine attributes, and preparing him for the rest of his life.
I am so grateful for the understanding that President Nelson shared with us that, “Anytime we do anything that helps anyone — on either side of the veil — to make and keep their covenants with God, we are helping to gather Israel.” What this means for my son is that his mission isn’t really ending, it’s just changing locations. And what it means for me is that I too can help fill the world with knowledge of Jesus Christ.
Tips for tots: The primary manual suggests displaying an empty jar and giving each child a marble or other small object. Read Habakkuk 2:14 For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea. Have the children share something that Jesus did or taught as they put an object into the jar. Repeat this until the jar is filled. Explain that just as they have filled the jar with their knowledge of the Lord, we can also fill the world with knowledge of Him.
The Primary Manual for Come Follow Me is perfect for families with young children!
Click DOWNLOAD below to get these FREE coloring pages from Rising Moon Adventures that I created to go with this lesson:
Primary Insights for Come Follow Me videos –
Song 1: The Commission by YWAM Kona Music
Song 2: A Missionary’s Prayer by Anna Richey
Song 3: LDS Missionaries Coming Home Mix (music by Nashville Tribute Band)