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Dylan Chang had a lot of reasons he wanted to serve a mission. It was an expectation in his family. He wanted a way to serve in the gospel and a mission could help him do that. And growing up Dylan always wanted the adventure of serving a mission. But above everything else, Dylan wanted to serve a mission because he knew it could make him into something more. He said, “I felt like I needed to be more than what I was. I felt like I’m not at the place I want to be, I’m not the person I want to be. And I felt like a mission could help me with that.”
It is a common occurrence to hear about how a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ changes a missionary. They talk of the skills they gained and the testimonies they developed. It is often easy to see the difference a mission can make in a young man or woman’s life.
Why do these changes come so consistently? Because missions aren’t easy. They can be like the refiner’s fire, a chance to be purged like gold and silver. Elder Jeffery R. Holland of the Twelve Apostles once said about missionary work, “I am convinced that missionary work is not easy because salvation is not a cheap experience. Salvation never was easy. We are The Church of Jesus Christ, this is the truth, and He is our Great Eternal Head. How could we believe it would be easy for us when it was never, ever easy for Him? It seems to me that missionaries and mission leaders have to spend at least a few moments in Gethsemane. Missionaries and mission leaders have to take at least a step or two toward the summit of Calvary.”
Dylan spent his own few moments in Gethsemane. It was his refiner’s fire. Experiences with companions, mental health, and teaching broke Dylan down and then built him back up stronger, setting him on the path he is on today. Dylan’s mission wasn’t easy. But it was worth it. It deepened his understanding of the Atonement and God’s love and made him into something greater than he was before.
Mission Report is a podcast created to help educate and inspire future missionaries. Each week a new Returned Missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will be interviewed about their missions, their advice, and the lessons they learned. You can listen to Dylan’s full interview here or by searching for Mission Report wherever you get your podcasts.
After serving a mission to Samara, Russia, Tyler graduated from Utah Valley University with a degree in Creative Writing. Tyler is the author of Away From The Sun, a short collection of his written works. He lives in Provo with his drop-dead gorgeous wife, enjoys playing basketball, playing the banjo, studying history, and collecting Pokemon cards. Follow Tyler on Instagram @therealtylerbnelson