I began my work on the Duke of Edinburgh award when I was fourteen years old and living in Canada. At first it was quite easy to accomplish because the beginning levels of the award fit neatly into my lifestyle. As I progressed through the award, however, I had to dedicate more time to it and make a special effort to meet the increasingly demanding criteria of the higher levels within the award.
It was also a special blessing to meet and be congratulated on receiving the Duke of Edinburgh Award by Her Excellency the Right Honourable Dame Patsy Reddy, Governor General of New Zealand.
Feeling the Divine Love and Support of Jesus Christ
The most difficult part of the award was staying committed to a three-year program. While I was working on the Gold level of the award, I remember being quite frustrated as I tried to balance my time between going to school, participating in extracurricular activities, attending church meetings, and earning the award. While I knew that completing the award would ultimately be worthwhile, I struggled to see the long-term importance of pushing myself to complete it. It wasn’t until I relied on Jesus Christ and had faith that He wanted me to succeed in all aspects of my life that I was able to complete the award. I was surprised at how much divine help I received in what seemed to be such a secular part of my life.
My favourite part of the award was being able to lose myself in the service of others. I was privileged to be able to travel to Kenya and volunteer for two weeks in a village school. There I felt true charity—“the pure love of Christ” (Moroni 7:47)—for those that I met and served. I was able to see them all as children of our Heavenly Parents and feel their deep and abiding concern and love for them. It was there, where I learned how to find joy in serving others.
Motivated to Serve a Full-time Mission
Because of this experience, I was motivated to serve as a full-time missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I am now serving in the New Zealand Wellington Mission and continuing to grow and find joy through serving others. I have come to truly feel Christ’s love and concern for all the people of the world, and I have learned about and built relationships with the many people and cultures found throughout New Zealand.
Before my mission, I didn’t understand how correlated the Duke of Edinburgh Award and missionary work was. Throughout my service as a full-time missionary, I have seen that the objectives of the Award and missionary work are very similar. The Duke of Edinburgh Award “equips young people for life regardless of their background, culture, physical ability, skills and interests. Doing the Award is a personal challenge and not a competition against others; it pushes young people to their personal limits and recognises their achievements” (https://www.dukeofed.org).
Inviting “All to Come Unto Christ” (Doctrine and Covenants 20:59)
As a missionary my purpose is to invite all people—regardless of their background, culture, physical ability, skills and interests—to continue to grow and progress to become who their Heavenly Father wants them to become.
Through sharing messages about Jesus Christ I am pushed to recognize my own divine identity, and I am privileged to witness others do the same. This is only possible because of and through Jesus Christ. It is a miraculous thing to witness, in one self and in others, the enabling power of Christ and how much is truly possible through faith in the Son of God.