When I was a missionary in Brazil I was a fairly judgmental person. I believe I was doing my very best to be kind and empathetic while also doing the things I felt God wanted me to be doing. However deep down I would look at those missionaries who did not follow the rules and work in the ways I felt they should (although I think I was surprised by the small number that fell in that category) and I had a difficult time understanding why they were there, and quite frankly I felt that I would not miss them had they not been there.
I think about these feelings I had with great embarrassment, as my perspective has radically changed. I now think it is interesting how much I focused on what those missionaries were doing wrong. Vs. recognizing that they too were sacrificing and seeking to follow and serve the lord and those around them, although they were doing it differently from how I was doing it. I now wish I could have recognized the skills and value of those missionaries that I seemed to have so many problems with, and been able to recognize that even though some may do thing differently from the way I would do it, These others are still very much needed in this church.
Sister Mary Ellen Smoot once taught us something that I feel strongly applies. She said “Truly, we may each be an instrument in the hands of God. Happily, we need not all be the same kind of instrument. Just as the instruments in an orchestra differ in size, shape, and sound, we too are different from one another. We have different talents and inclinations, but just as the French horn cannot duplicate the sound of the piccolo, neither is it necessary for us to all serve the Lord in the same way. Sister Eliza R. Snow said that “there is no sister so isolated and her sphere so narrow but what she can do a great deal towards establishing the Kingdom of God upon the earth”. Our privilege and our responsibility as daughters of God and as sisters of Relief Society, then, is to become the most effective instruments we can be.”