Saturday, January 29, 2011

Preparing YOURSELF for a Senior Mission

Sister Ilene Barney was scheduled to present this class but she was called away to assist and care for her mother who was hospitalized this week. We wanted to share her information for those who were interested in her class.

Preparing Yourself for A Senior Mission

To learn more about mission opportunities for seniors, visit -- Frequently Asked Questions about senior missions. 13 pages; very thorough.
Great motivational reads:

Mary Ellen Edmunds, "Add Life to Your Years, and Years to Your Life", Ensign, July 1984, 14 .
Great article on the variety of things senior missionaries can do and how much they love it, benefit from it, seem to grow younger and happier by it.
Robert D. Hales, "Couple Missionaries: Blessings from Sacrifice and Service", Ensign, May 2005, 39–42

What if something happens with my health or my family?
Most often you are free to come home for emergencies or medical treatment. Distance would be the only mitigating factor. Sister Frandsen (from an Ensign article): “Perhaps one of my biggest fears was health concerns; instead, we have experienced health blessings. Our missionary schedule is healthful. We get up early, retire early, exercise daily, and eat nutritious foods. The Lord blesses missionaries with strength to perform their labors. You need not be afraid!”

What about my family’s needs while I am away? They take care of themselves. Frequently problems are resolved when you go on a mission. It’s a blessing that many couples have talked about. It sets an example that helps them more than you can help them if you are there. Another couple tells of blessings that come from missionary service. They wrote: “Good people replaced our parenting functions better than we. … If a family problem has not yielded to prayer and fasting, a mission might be considered.”

Will I be able to make the necessary sacrifices?
Elder Frandsen: “We sometimes smile when those back home think that we are making a sacrifice. The sacrifice is miniscule compared to the blessings, joy, and satisfaction that God gives us each day.”
The Frandsens’ experiences are typical of comments we hear from other senior missionaries serving throughout Asia. Recently, one senior couple became emotional when advised that they could finish their mission one month early so they could be home at Christmastime. We assumed that their tears were tears of joy for the opportunity of being reunited with their children and grandchildren at Christmas. Little did we understand that their tears were tears of sadness. Knowing that they might never have another opportunity to serve in this capacity again, they desired to spend one last Christmas in the mission field!
After 51 years of marriage, I was asked, “What part of life would you want to live over again?” I did not hesitate to reply, “When my wife and I served together in the great missionary work of the Lord.” The sentiments of another missionary couple echo those of my wife and myself: “Our decision to go on a mission brought new vigor, new emotions, new friends, new places, new challenges. It brought us closer together as husband and wife; we had a common goal and a real partnership. And best of all, it brought new spiritual growth, instead of spiritual retirement.” Brothers and sisters, let us not go into spiritual retirement. (Robert D. Hales, "Couple Missionaries: Blessings from Sacrifice and Service", Ensign, May 2005, 39–42)

Perspectives from Stake Members who have served:
Brother Burt Bullock: (Not direct quotes)
Finances: The Church will never send you somewhere you can’t afford. The biggest decision is what to do with your home. Some sell it and buy another when they return. Some have someone check on it each week. Some have someone rent it. Having a young single adult or two live there while you are gone usually works well. Having someone with children live there is always another possibility.
Preparation: What you’ve done all your life. Your life is your preparation.
What will I be asked to do? No matter what you are asked to do, it will not be enough. You will want to do more. The Bullocks went to their mission president and asked what more they could do. He told them “Do whatever you want to build the Kingdom.” So often it is entirely up to you, what you want to do and enjoy doing, and at the pace you set. There are so many options.
If you simply cannot serve a full-time mission (health, family needs, etc.) you can give money to the help other couples who can’t afford to go, but otherwise would.
Sister Cottle
(not direct quotes)
D&C 109:22-23—(Blessing on missionaries from Kirtland Temple Dedication give to the Prophet Joseph Smith by revelation) “And we ask thee, Holy Father, that thy servants may go forth from this house armed with thy power, and that thy name may be upon them, and thy glory be round about them, and thine angels have charge over them; And from this place they may bear exceedingly great and glorious tidings, in truth, unto the ends of the earth, that they may know that this is thy work, and that thou hast put forth thy hand to fulfil that which thou hast spoken by the mouths of the prophets, concerning the last days.” The power we have from the house of the Lord to go forth and be missionaries is great preparation.
Study and ponder the Book of Mormon because it will prepare you better to strengthen and help the young missionaries. Most missionaries know the Book of Mormon, but they lack the experience and understanding to know what it means.
Couples are so urgently needed everywhere, and they fill a vacuum that young missionaries can’t do.
Most of us have been preparing all our lives. We have had so many experiences in just living the gospel. Those experiences are such a great tool for those in the mission field who haven’t been exposed to it, who don’t know our way of life. We take it for granted but for someone else it is an inspiration.
Prepare yourself for the joy of a lifetime. We are so badly needed, so greatly loved and so greatly appreciated by new members that our help is just hardly expressable.
D&C 30:1-2 lists five things that detract from effective missionary work:
1. Fearing man
2. Not relying on God for strength
3. Keeping our minds on the things of the earth more than on the things of God, our Maker
4. Not giving heed to the Lord’s spirit
5. Allowing ourselves to be persuaded by those whom God has not commanded


• Unselfish Service by DALLIN H. OAKS, April 2009 General Conference
• Richard M. Romney, "To Prepare", New Era, June 1987, 12
• Marvin K. Gardner, "What Parents Can Do … Before the Call Comes", Ensign, Dec. 1979, 7
• Becoming a Missionary, by Elder David A. Bednar, Oct 2005
* Roger Terry, "If I Had Known at 19 …", New Era, Mar. 2007, 54–56
• “Your Mission Will Change Everything” by Elder David F. Evans, Ensign, May 2006, p. 32.
• M. Russell Ballard, "How to Prepare to Be a Good Missionary", New Era, Mar. 2007, 6–11
• The Making of a Missionary, by Trent Toone, Mormon Times, Thursday, Apr. 29, 2010