Tales of a Mormon Missionary
by Sarah Bjork
PageTurner Press and Media

"I have personally witnessed the Gospel bring astonishing joy into people’s lives. I’ve seen the difference, watched the change, and felt the happiness."

A member of The Church of the Latter-day Saints (Mormons), author Bjork secured an eighteen-month assignment as a missionary at the California Riverside Mission in 2014. Her preparation would entail going to Mexico to learn Spanish. She recounts her work as "Hermana" (Sister) Bjork, teamed with other Mormon women. Together they visited people who had expressed an interest in Mormonism or simply talked about the religion with anyone who seemed receptive to their message. Reactions included rudeness, rejection, and even danger, such as being greeted by a firearm or harassed by ruffians. Yet these highly unpredictable situations often yielded positive results, as when she and a fellow missionary helped a desperately poor woman clean and sanitize her home. Additionally, a man suspiciously asking about Christianity got an answer he had long hoped for. Once, Bjork heard herself delivering a complicated spiritual message in Spanish, realizing that God had blessed her with eloquence for that special moment.

Bjork recounts her mission tour in short, lively episodes that reveal her writing talents—from the swiftness with which she had to adjust and readjust to changing duties and partnerships, to the genuine frustration that often accompanied her missionary efforts, to her satisfaction at receiving even a small expression of thanks. She acknowledges that her inner contentment sometimes derived mainly from knowing that she had tried her best, with God guiding her to the appropriate words or actions. She includes brief explorations of Mormon doctrine, remarkable spiritual exchanges, and moments of high humor. Understanding people different from herself was a constant challenge, yet she rose to these occasions and came home with renewed hopes for the future. Her book can encourage those contemplating a mission experience or anyone who appreciates the enduring effects that such work can have on a determined, dedicated young woman.

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