|E. McMullin on far left, next to me|
I loved meeting the new referral center missionaries! At the beginning I was not as grateful for every missionary who came to join us, but that was later remedied. One missionary I remember in particular was Elder McMullin. He joined the referral center just shortly after I did. I of course knew just about everything there was to know being in the referral center a whole two weeks earlier. If Elder McMullin was anything like the rest of us, he was not too thrilled about joining, and probably wasn’t really sure what he was getting into. While I now see I should have been full of gratitude for every missionary who came to help, to use a metaphor, at the time I was a little more focused on the paint of the ship. What I mean is that I was concerned about how one might see us rather than what was actually happening. Similar to the other missionaries at the time, we met Elder McMullin at the front desk.
Elder McMullin liked doing things his way, and liked having freedom and independence. I remember my first sentence being something like “hello,” and “we don’t roll our sleeves up here.” Now, as I think of it, I am very surprised he did unroll his sleeves. Although it did not last long. If I was him I think I would have sat on me. Thinking back at it now, I see it was not my best leadership; in fact, it was not leading at all. Rather, it was a way to show what a prick I was and annoy what turned out to be a great blessing for our mission. Every missionary we had was a valuable contribution and helped to make the referral center what it was. I know God played a special hand and we saw great miracles with every missionary who came to join us.
Elder Bednar once made the comment at the MTC about how one of the easiest ways to motivate people was to hire a big ex marine or something similar to beat the tar out of all those who did not follow what you wanted. The trouble he pointed out was later when the person left, the motivation for the people would also leave. A good leader is one who helps those people understand why something is important in such a way that the work, whatever it may be, will continue after they leave.
I am certainly not an expert on leading. But I hope I have learned something since those first weeks as a missionary for me. While I know I have a lot to learn, one thing I have learned is that we have a perfect example of leadership, which is of course in Jesus Christ. The effects of His leadership are what shape this world we live on, literally and figuratively. On earth, He was the perfect leader. He was not a statesman, nor a lawyer, nor any other common leader of the world at the time. I find powerful motivation in my own life my remembering the leadership He gave through His constant example in doing what is right. I know that not only did He lead while here on earth, but He continues to lead and guide the world through a living prophet here on the earth in our day. I am grateful for this gospel, and for the time and opportunities I have to share it with others. I know my blogging skills have plenty of room for improvement, but I know that as I work, He will help me to make up the difference and help this become something I can use to share the testimony I have with others. So, as you read these, I want you to know, I know Jesus Christ lives, and I know through Him we can find the answers to our concerns and trials.