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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Guest Post: Beck And Call

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Bradly Allen Baird is the father of two amazing children and served a mission in the Finland Helsinki Mission somewhere around the dawn of time. Having acquired an MBA and then subsequently throwing over his entire (and incredibly boring) professional(?) life to study biotechnology and computer information systems, he is finally finding his way as a modern mormon male. Oh, and he became interested in the bloggernacle a few years ago by submitting comments and a couple of guest posts to A Motley Vision. You can read Bradly's other guest posts here and here.

Image via Spaz Du Zoo on Flickr.

"You are heeding the beck and call," said the Stake President. He smiled a big smile as he looked across the desk at me and signed the piece of paper. He stood up, gave me a big hug, and kindly pushed me out the door of his office. I was a little disappointed. I mean to say that the Stake President was supposed to be my last hope. He was supposed to be the one to overrule the Bishop, throw me out of his office, and possibly start disciplinary proceedings to have me thrown out of the Church for showing up on his doorstep with a ludicrous idea.

Four weeks passed and I was invited to see another member of the Stake Presidency. I thought to myself, "Perhaps the Stake President came to his senses and dispatched one of his counselors to tell me the bad news." Perhaps - I desperately fantasized - I was going to be punished by being permanently called to the Nursery. But it was not to be so. This good man, (my former Bishop and a genuinely nice guy) issued the call, which I accepted. And then we discussed the tasks soon to be mine.

I was frightened that perhaps somehow I was a fraud; that the inspiration I received from the Spirit to put in my papers and to serve a service mission in the Missionary Training Center was somehow a figment of my imagination. But, not one of my ecclesiastical leaders called me out and denounced me as a liar. Instead, they supported me with love and - inspired by the Spirit - encouraged me to begin the work training the good young men and women who would serve in the fields of the Lord.

And, despite the preponderance of evidence that I was in the right place and doing the right thing, I wondered about it all. I wonderd what purpose I could possibly serve in the MTC. To be sure, each of the training sessions with the missionaries was filled with a remarkable spiritual "fire"; but I still questioned whether my presence there each week mattered. And then, during an afternoon filled with the spirit of continuing revelation, I received my answer and so much more.

Two young men taught me the gospel that day. They taught with power and authority, and their message entered into my heart with a potent force. Perhaps with more power than I had ever experienced during the nearly 100 teaching sessions of my service so far. And while I was receiving the humbling "conversion" experience, the Spirit of revelation rested upon me and also began to reveal certain things about these young missionaries and their potential as leaders in the kingdom of God.

After the teaching session ended, I didn't quite know what to do with the information swirling around in my head. But, before I left the grounds of the training center, a series of extraordinary experiences and conversations took place and I was permitted to share the inspired words I had heard with these elders. I took them into a darkened classroom and I told them many things about their abilities and their future; if they were faithful servants and if they worked hard to achieve the promised blessings.

After my time with the elders, I thought that the experience was over. I left the grounds of the training center and the Spirit rested on me again, directed me to return and during another sequence of experiences, confirmed my mission and purpose in the MTC. I knew with a certainty that I was on an errand of the Lord and that my own petty concerns were of little relevance. I am there because this is the place where He wants me to be. I am on His errand, not mine. And nothing else matters but His purposes in bringing to pass His work.

Got it. Keep mouth shut. Stop questioning the blessing and serve. Nothing else matters.

This lesson was impressed upon my mind again two months later during an inspired meeting with my Bishop. Neither of us knows why we were supposed to meet, but for some reason he needed to hear every detail of my MTC experiences from beginning to end. Neither of us questioned it, we just went with the flow of the moment and allowed ourselves to learn from the Spirit. And learn we did. I felt the words loud and clear repeat the lesson and tell me once again that nothing else matters but the work at hand.

And then, because of my meeting with the Bishop, an additional lesson from the Master came. Not only did I re-learn the lesson of setting aside myself in favor of the Lord's work, I learned the value of bearing another's burdens. I was literally given the burdens of another to bear, expected to bear those burdens in silence and with the dignity of a son of God. And as the storm clouds of that burden bore down upon me, I was comforted by the words: "Be of good cheer; I have overcome the world."

Keep mouth shut. Stop questioning the blessing and serve. The Master's work is most important.

It is continually humbling to be a modern mormon man.

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