At church, I have often heard that we need to be prepared to step out of our comfort zone, and do the hard thing such as talking to a neighbor about the restored gospel of Jesus Christ or otherwise reaching out to other people in friendship. In fact, I have frequently discussed the need for missionaries to open their mouth at all times, a task that can require shy people to extend far beyond their social comfort zone.
While I believe this comfort zone analogy is a fine teaching tool, I want to talk about a different kind of comfort zone today, one you should always stay inside. I’m referring to the comfort zone provided by the Holy Ghost. “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you” (John 14:26).
The comfort zone that I want to speak about today is the companionship of the Comforter, the Holy Ghost. The power of the Holy Ghost can be felt by all men and women on earth, if they choose to pay attention to the whisperings of the Spirit. The gift of the Holy Ghost is a more powerful manifestation of the Spirit, and brings with it great blessings. The gift of the Holy Ghost carries with it the right to have the companionship of the Holy Ghost, whenever one is worthy. Below are some reasons, and accompanying scriptural references, why every missionary (and member too) should want to stay in the comfort zone of the Holy Ghost.
The Holy Ghost will…
- help you speak the right words. “And as ye shall lift up your voices by the Comforter, ye shall speak and prophesy as seemeth me good.” (D&C 42:16). As a missionary and representative of the Lord Jesus Christ, knowing the words that He wants you to speak is an indispensable gift if you are to succeed in your mandate to bring souls unto Christ.
- testify to your listeners of the Father and Son. “For, behold, the Comforter knoweth all things, and beareth record of the Father and of the Son” (D&C 42:17). As important as your personal testimony is as a missionary, it is the testimony of the Holy Spirit that converts.
- show you the way to go. “And I will send upon him the Comforter, which shall teach him the truth and the way whither he shall go” (D&C 79:2) Knowing where to go as a missionary is a priceless gift. Nearly every day you will have to make choices about what neighbor to knock, or what street to turn down, or what park to go do street contacting in. The guidance of the Spirit will lead you to the elect that God has prepared.
- fill you with hope and perfect love. “Because of meekness and lowliness of heart cometh the visitation of the Holy Ghost, which Comforter filleth with hope and perfect love, which love endureth by diligence unto prayer, until the end shall come, when all the saints shall dwell with God” (Moroni 8:26). There will be times as a missionary when you will be tried and tested, by the people in your area, by your companion, or by other circumstances. Staying in the comport zone of the Holy Ghost will give you greater hope and help you love, perfectly, those around you.
- bring comfort and joy to your soul. On his mission to the Zoramites, the prophet Alma the Younger saw their wickedness and exclaimed, “O Lord, my heart is exceedingly sorrowful; wilt thou comfort my soul in Christ.” And then, the scripture says the Lord “gave them strength, that they should suffer no manner of afflictions, save it were swallowed up in the joy of Christ” (Alma 31: 31, 38). Home sickness, the pain of being rejected by yet another investigator, and other trials may cause you, as a missionary, exceeding sorrow. But know that those afflictions will be swallowed up in the joy of Christ if you stay in the comfort zone of the Spirit.
- teach you what the Lord wants for you. In 1832, Joseph Smith received a revelation from the Lord to the Elders of the Priesthood exhorting them to “[call] on the name of the Lord for the Comforter, which shall teach them all things that are expedient for them” (D&C 75:10). You will learn many lessons on your mission that will influence the remainder of your life. It is the Holy Ghost who will help teach you these lessons and help you to know what is the will of the Lord for you.
Future missionaries, before, during, and after your mission, do what it takes to remain worthy of the companionship of the Holy Ghost. Always stay within that comfort zone. This means obeying the law of chastity, following the standards in the For the Strength of Youth pamphlet, reading your scriptures and praying daily, repenting when you make mistakes, and doing all other things to remain clean, pure, and worthy to serve a mission. If you do so, I know the blessings of the Lord mentioned above and many more will be poured down upon you by our loving Heavenly Father.