In this week's letter to his Mission President, there was a very insightful statement that I would like to share for Elder Schmeltzer - it answers the very basic question as to Why a Mission?
"This week in my personal studies I was reading in Alma chapter 1. I read verse 32 and saw that those who were not in the church were doing specific sins and things that lead them to sin. One of those things was "wearing costly apparel." I jumped back to verse 27 and saw that the righteous "did not wear costly apparel, yet they were neat and comely." it made me think that some of these investigators might not have cars or big houses or A/C but most are "neat and comely" I think their attitudes and receptiveness can be a form of costly apparel. I noticed that always before there is costly apparel, there is inequality and pride. Those are the causes of the downfall of great nations in the Book of Mormon.
I know that book is true with all my heart. I've read it and studied it many times. I love when I get to feel the spirit testifying through me to investigators. I may not be that good of a missionary but I know that I'm trying. I know that what I share is true. If nothing else, my testimony alone is worth sacrificing 2 years of my life."
And for those of us here, Elder Schmeltzer, it is that realization and many similar ones you have come to that make you the great young man and missionary that we know!