From American Idol to Mormon Missionary

From The Wall Street Journal:

A pop star trades the stage for 10-hour Bible-teaching sessions in a distant land.

Mr. Archuleta will join more than 52,000 Mormon missionaries serving in 340 missions, or geographic areas, world-wide.

For Mr. Archuleta, age 21, life is about to change considerably. He’ll trade a life of stardom for the rigor of waking up at 6:30 every morning, studying scripture for a couple of hours, then working 10-hour days teaching interested people in their homes and taking on other community-service projects before falling into bed exhausted. He’ll also join the ranks of other prominent Mormons who have served missions, including Mitt Romney (France) and Jon Huntsman (Taiwan), Jeopardy! champion Ken Jennings (Spain), and actors Aaron Eckhart (Switzerland) and Jon Heder (Japan).

Missionaries serve on their own dime, swearing off dating, entertainment and even most Internet activity. There is relatively little direct supervision; they have at once rigid structure and significant autonomy. They work in pairs, reporting weekly in writing to a mission president, an older man called to serve a three-year stint.

Returned missionaries also tend to have high educational levels and marriage rates.

It’s no surprise that the missionary experience leaves a lasting imprint on young people. While friends back home are heading to a house party, a typical missionary may be swallowing a lump in his throat as he stands on an unfamiliar doorstep, terrified yet hopeful. Or he may be on his knees on a dirt floor listening to someone pray for the first time, or pulling himself out of bed to pore over French grammar.

Because of his time in the spotlight, David Archuleta may already be more grown up than the average 21-year-old, but a mission will challenge even him. It will put him in the company of hundreds of thousands who, by the end of their missions, have firsthand experience with the biblical injunction to lose their lives and thereby find them.

* I only copy some parts that showing how considerably David’s life is about to change. You can read the full article  HERE.

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