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How to overcome the challenges and find joy in a difficult Church calling

We all have different talents, capabilities, fears and experiences that make a calling difficult, challenging or fearful. The calling I most feared to receive was ward mission leader. I had served a full-time mission to Brazil and had observed the ward mission leader in the past. But I didn't understand the full scope of the calling or how it was supposed to correlate with the rest of the ward organization.

Thus, when I received a call to be a ward mission leader, I truly felt incapable, unprepared, untrained and humbled. I found that the actions listed below helped me on my way to overcoming these challenges and to eventually finding real joy not only for me, but also for my family. I did the following:- Acquired all the manuals and handbooks that pertained to my calling and studied them.

  • Met with my presiding leaders both individually and in training meetings to understand their expectations and receive their counsel.
  • Counseled with others involved in the work.
  • Studied the scriptures with my calling in mind.
  • Pondered and prayed about how to implement and execute the direction I had received, both written and oral.
  • Involved my family in my calling through family prayer and by my family's active participation in the principles I was teaching to others.

As a result of these efforts, my calling as ward mission leader - both times - was a wonderful blessing to both me and my family. - Brent A. Fisher, Brea, Calif.


Additional Information:

How to checklist:

1 Keep in tune with Spirit; fast, pray, read scriptures.

2 Be prepared; counsel with priesthood leaders; understand expectations.

3 Learn to delegate; don't carry burdens by yourself.

4 Have faith in the Lord, seek His will; be patient with yourself, others.

How we did it:

Accept the challenge

I was a very happy and contented Valiant B teacher in Primary. A call from the bishop made me very nervous. He wanted me to be education counselor in the Relief Society. I was afraid to work in Relief Society and could only think of those who could do a much better job than I. I accepted the challenge. I worked well at my new position. I was happy and contented. After one month, a call from the bishop made me nervous again. The president was moving out of the ward. No way did I want the position of Relief Society president, but the Lord knows us better than we know ourselves. In August of 1993, I was sustained as Relief Society president. Accept the challenge! - Patricia Hawthorne, Shalimar, Fla.

Be prepared

As callings as ward and later stake Relief Society president came to me, I met them with feelings of fear and inadequacy.

One night as I found myself in this condition, I knelt and prayed to my Heavenly Father for help. As clearly as if someone were standing behind me, I heard the words, "Don't be scared. Be prepared!" As I pondered that thought, some scriptures came to my mind. We read in D&C 38:30, "If ye are prepared, ye shall not fear." In Josh. 1:9, we find, "Be not afraid . . . . The Lord is with thee." As I began preparing myself for the work ahead of me, I also recalled 2 Ne. 28:30, which states, "Line upon line, precept upon precept." - Tina Bateman Glass, Ogden, Utah

Learn to delegate

  • Remember the purpose of all callings - to help others to come unto Christ. This keeps things in perspective and helps us to look beyond the day-to-day frustrations.
  • Learn to delegate. One person can't - and shouldn't - carry all the burden themselves.
  • Be patient with yourself and others. We are all learning, and we all make mistakes. All the Lord requires of us is to do our best and to keep trying.
  • Pray for inspiration. You will get it! The Lord wants us to succeed and will help us along the way. - Kathleen Bigler, Everett, Wash.

Felt joy

After the bishop asked me to be ward chorister, I enrolled in a six-week conducting class.

The final test was in the Assembly Hall on Temple Square directing a hymn I didn't know; I was even surprised it was in the hymnbook. After that, I felt inspired to really do a better job on Sundays. I did the following:

  • Each week I studied about the author and composer of a hymn I was directing.
  • I carefully practiced each note of the music.
  • I tried to memorize the words so I could look out at the congregation and smile. - Darlene N. Dickson, Salt Lake City, Utah

Revive weary spirit

  • Pray to know what the Lord would have you do. When you have a direction to travel you will find peace when the road is rough.
  • Keep yourself in tune. You need to remember daily scripture study, family home evenings, fasting, prayer and paying a full tithing. When you are obedient to the things your Heavenly Father has asked of you, He will bless you with an abundance of His Spirit to guide and direct you.
  • Attend the temple. This will revive your weary spirit and give you the courage to go on, even in the most difficult of challenges. - Jody Van Drimmelen, Las Vegas, Nev.

Great example

One of the greatest examples comes from Alma and the sons of Mosiah in the Book of Mormon. (Mosiah 28; Alma 4-22.) From their experiences we can learn:

  • First, they had a great faith and desire to do the Lord's will. Whom the Lord calls, He qualifies and leads.
  • Second, they received their errand from the Lord.
  • Third, they magnified their calling without thought for personal gain or advantage. In addition, they did the best they could under extreme circumstances, and they endured until the end of the call. - Garry G. Weiss, Provo, Utah

Pray for assurance

In any overwhelming Church assignment or calling, I employ the HELP technique:

  • Humbly and graciously accept the assignment and accompanying challenge, keeping in mind that the brethren don't expect me to be immediately knowledgeable in my callings.
  • Eagerly seek help and plan to get oriented by the person who previously held the position, when appropriate.
  • Learn the program by carefully reading the handbook which contains a description of the position. Review past records and become familiar with the people in the organization.
  • Pray for an assurance that Heavenly Father will help. My patriarchal blessing is also a source of strength. - Sandra Phillips, La Habra Heights, Calif.