‘The way we talk about missions in the Church needs to change,’ says one BYU student who was unable to serve


When Brigham Young University student Gabrielle Shiozawa submitted her papers to serve a mission in June 2020, she didn’t know whether or not she should serve but wanted to show God that she was willing. However, due to health concerns, she wasn’t able to go.

“I felt I wasn’t good enough to serve God,” she wrote in BYU’s The Daily Universe.

She has since found other ways she feels called to serve God. But when her well-meaning peers ask where she served a mission, she explains that people give her reassurance or pity, which can leave her feeling exhausted “from feeling inadequate and having to explain myself over and over again.”

Shiozawa says she knows she isn’t the only one who feels this way.

“I know I’m not alone in this struggle. The way we talk about missions in the Church needs to change. Too many individuals are hurt by common stereotypes and assumptions,” she said.

Something to keep in mind regarding mission service, Shiozawa continues, is that it’s different for everybody. And a myriad of things can cause someone to postpone a mission call or to cancel them.

“There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to living the gospel. There is no singular right way to serve God. In every instance it is a personal decision.”

Read the full article at universe.byu.edu.

Featured image courtesy of Gabrielle Shiozawa

Gabrielle Shiozawa was just three weeks away from high school graduation when she lost her dad unexpectedly. As she struggled to heal, she began to experience an overflow of knowledge, spiritual insights, and growth that strengthened her testimony. This poignant offering from a young, talented writer includes commentary on the character of Christ and personal insights about bodies, salvation, temples, and more. Through a combination of insightful reflections on gospel principles and a poetic narrative on the author's experiences with her father, One Breath at a Time: Lessons on Grief and Growthgives an authentic and inspiring look into how people can heal, grow, and come closer to Christ through grief and loss.

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