Tuesday, April 1, 2008

The Need for More Couple Missionaries: A Doctrinal Appeal

During the past twenty-five years there has been an appeal by LDS Church leaders for more missionary couples. This shortage of couples is a real concern for mission presidents throughout the world. Let us trace what has been said about the need for more couple missionaries.

President Gordon B. Hinckley issued a call for more missionary couples: “There is a constant need for more couple missionaries,” he said. “They perform wonderful service throughout the world. You [leaders] need not wait for the couples to volunteer. The sacrifices associated with serving the Lord full time will abundantly bless the couples, their families, and the people they serve"(“To the Bishops of the Church,” Worldwide Leadership Training Meeting, 19 June 2004, 27; see also “Excerpts from Recent Addresses of President Gordon B. Hinckley,” Ensign, Apr. 1996, 72)

Richard G. Scott declared: "It would be difficult to imagine anything more exciting to do as a young man, woman, or couple in the world today than to be a full-time missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The message of the restored gospel we share is absolutely vital. It is from God our Eternal Father for every one of His children on earth and is centered in His Beloved Son, Jesus Christ. When that message is understood and lived, it can replace turmoil with peace, sorrow with happiness and provide solutions to life’s persistent challenges.....

As a bishop or branch president, through motivating interviews you can bless the life of every young man in your ward as well as appropriate couples by encouraging them to prepare for full-time missions....Pray about which couples can be encouraged to submit papers for a call to full-time missionary service. There is an urgent need for them.

I am constantly amazed at how the Holy Ghost matches the characteristics and needs of each missionary and couple to the widely varying circumstances of missionary service throughout the world. I have observed how some of the strongest, most capable elders and sisters are called to the United States and Canada to keep the roots of the Church strong there. I have seen how missionaries who return from unusual assignments, such as adapting to the native culture of a Pacific Island, Mongolia, or the highlands of Guatemala or otherwise serving with minimal personal contact with the mission president, develop previously unknown personal capacities extremely well....

Exciting fields of labor the world over allow the inspiration of the Lord to call young men and women and devoted couples to challenging assignments conditioned to each personal need and capacity. I rejoice in the opportunity to participate in this captivating effort that potently blesses so many around the globe. (Richard G. Scott, “Now Is the Time to Serve a Mission!” Ensign, [May 2006]: 87).

Russell M. Nelson has also addressed the need for more couple missionaries: "When we think of missionaries, we generally picture in our minds young men with shirts and ties and young women dressed modestly. But along with them are marvelous senior missionaries who have answered the pleadings of prophets and apostles for more missionary couples.

I express gratitude for our senior missionaries. They are young in spirit, wise, and willing to work. They even tolerate remarks from their fun-filled children who might change President Spencer W. Kimball’s plea “Lengthen your stride” to “Hasten your shuffle.” These dear members are willing to serve and strengthen the lives of others. Even if these seniors don’t know the local language, their accomplishments are great and their spirit of sacrifice is precious....

No senior missionary finds it convenient to leave. Neither did Joseph or Brigham or John or Wilford. They had children and grandchildren too. They loved their families not one whit less, but they also loved the Lord and wanted to serve Him. Someday we may meet these stalwarts who helped to establish this dispensation. Then will we rejoice that we did not seek the shadows when a call to missionary service came from the prophet, even in the autumn years of our lives.

At general conference in October 1925, President Heber J. Grant issued a clarion call for “men of mature years and sound judgment, who have had experience in the preaching of the gospel, ...to go forth and labor in the mission field.”

That need persists. At the most recent training broadcast to priesthood leaders throughout the world, President Gordon B. Hinckley issued a similar call: “There is a constant need for more couple missionaries,” he said. “They perform wonderful service throughout the world. You [leaders] need not wait for the couples to volunteer. The sacrifices associated with serving the Lord full time will abundantly bless the couples, their families, and the people they serve"(“To the Bishops of the Church,” Worldwide Leadership Training Meeting, 19 June 2004, 27; see also “Excerpts from Recent Addresses of President Gordon B. Hinckley,” Ensign, Apr. 1996, 72).....

Bishops also need to heed that prophetic call and ask such members if they could serve. Opportunities for senior missionaries are varied and vast. Their calls to serve are officially made after prayerful consideration has been given to their occupational background, language experience, and personal capabilities. Of all qualifications to serve, a desire to serve may be the most important....

As I extol the work of senior missionaries, I realize that there are many more who would like to serve but are not able to do so. Limitations imposed by age or by poor health deserve realistic appraisal, as do the important needs of family members. When desire burns within yet such limitations exist, you can extend your service through others. They can be your arms and legs, and you can provide needed funds. Still others can contribute time and talents as live-at-home missionaries. Each will be pleasing to the Lord, and each will receive His praise. (Russell M. Nelson, “Senior Missionaries and the Gospel,” Liahona, Nov 2004, 79–82).

In 2002 Gordon B. Hinckley also said: "We now have altogether some 5,300 retired men and women serving in a meaningful missionary capacity for this Church throughout the world. The number is growing. They go where they are called. They serve where they are needed. Friendships are established; skills are shared; opportunities are opened for those who will never forget the men and women who have come among them in a spirit of entire unselfishness to teach and do good. They receive no money. They go at their own expense. The measure of their devotion is unlimited. The fruits of their efforts are beyond calculation." (Gordon B. Hinckley, Los Angeles World Affairs Council, 12 June 2002 quoted in Discourses of President Gordon B. Hinckley Volume 2: 2000-2004 Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2005, pp. 517-518).

In 2001 Jeffrey R. Holland said about his admiration of couples serving: "Many more of us can prepare for senior missionary service when that time in our life comes. As the senior couples at the MTC in Provo have said on a poster, “Let’s lengthen our shuffle!” I just returned from a long trip which took me to half a dozen missions. Everywhere I went during those weeks, I found senior couples giving the most remarkable and rewarding leadership imaginable, providing stability, maturity, and experience that no 19-year-old or 21-year-old could possibly be expected to provide. I found all kinds of couples, including a few former mission and temple presidents and their wives, who had come to parts of the world totally unknown to them to quietly, selflessly serve a second or a third or a fourth mission. I was deeply moved by every one of those people.

I had lunch recently with Elder and Sister John Hess of Ashton, Idaho. “We’re just old potato farmers,” John told me, but that is precisely what the nation of Belarus in the Russia Moscow Mission needed. For years the very best potato yields on government plots of ground there had been 50 sacks of potatoes a hectare. Considering it takes 22 sacks of seed to plant a hectare, the return was poor indeed. They needed help.

Brother Hess asked for ground just three feet away from the government plots, rolled up his sleeves, and went to work with the same seed, tools, and fertilizer available in Belarus. Come harvest time they began to dig, then called on others to dig, then called on everyone to dig. With the same rainfall and soil, but with an extra measure of Idaho industry, experience, and prayer, the plots planted by the Hesses produced a whopping 550 sacks per hectare—11 times better than any prior yield on that land. At first no one would believe the difference. They wondered if secret teams had come in the night or if some wonder drug had been used. But it was none of that. Brother Hess said, “We needed a miracle, so we asked for one.” Now just little more than a year later, in that community young proselyting missionaries are finding much more success just because an “old potato farmer” from Idaho answered the call of his church.

Most missionary couples serve much more routinely than that, employing their leadership experience in wards and branches, but the point is that there are all kinds of needs in this work, and there is a resolute missionary tradition of responding to the call to serve at every age and in every circumstance. (Jeffrey R. Holland, “‘Witnesses unto Me’,” Liahona, Jul 2001, 15–17).

Robert D. Hales said about the need for more couple missionaries: "I feel a deep responsibility to speak to you today about a pressing need in the Church. My greatest hope is that as I speak, the Holy Ghost will touch hearts, and somewhere a spouse or two will quietly nudge his or her companion, and a moment of truth will occur. I will speak on the urgent need for more mature couples to serve in the mission field. We wish to express our appreciation for all those valiant couples who are currently serving, those who have served, and those who will yet serve....

What is the best way to teach our children—and grandchildren—light and truth? What is the most important way to set our families, both immediate and extended, in order? Is it possible that in spiritual matters our example speaks louder than our words? Temple marriage, family prayer, scripture study, and family home evening are all vitally important. But there is another dimension—the dimension of service. If we are willing to leave our loved ones for service in the mission field, we will bless them with a heritage that will teach and inspire them for generations to come....

As we serve in the mission field, our children and grandchildren will be blessed in ways that would not have been possible had we stayed at home. Talk to couples who have served missions and they will tell you of blessings poured out: inactive children activated, family members baptized, and testimonies strengthened because of their service....

The ways in which couples can serve are virtually limitless. From mission office support and leadership training to family history, temple work, and humanitarian service—there is an opportunity to use almost any skill or talent with which the Lord has blessed you.

Sit down with your companion, make an inventory of your health, financial resources, and unique gifts and talents. Then, if all is in order, go to your bishop and say, “We’re ready.” You may feel it is improper to approach your bishop or branch president about your desires to serve a mission. But it is proper for a mature sister or couple to let their priesthood leaders know that they are willing and able to serve a mission. I urge you to do so.

Bishops, there should be no hesitation on your part to initiate a Recommend for Missionary Service interview to discuss and encourage missionary couples to serve a mission. (Robert D. Hales, “Couple Missionaries: A Time to Serve,” Liahona [July 2001]: 28–31).

President Howard W. Hunter said about the need for more couples: "More missionaries are needed. Earlier prophets have taught that every able, worthy young man should serve a full-time mission. I emphasize this need today. We also have great need for our able, mature couples to serve in the mission field. Jesus told his disciples, “The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few; pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest” (Luke 10:2). (Howard W. Hunter, The Teachings of Howard W. Hunter, ed. Clyde J. Williams, Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1997, p. 250).

In 1997 Richard G. Scott also said: "There is an urgent need in the Church today for missionary couples, not to go first-contacting or teaching the discussions, unless you want to do so, but for meaningful missionary service in all of the activities of the Church throughout the world. There is far greater flexibility in the service opportunities of couples than for single elders or sisters. In consultation with your bishop, you can indicate your own preferences for missionary service. We must train a growing number of fathers and mothers and priesthood and auxiliary leaders throughout the world who want very much to serve the Lord but simply do not know how to do it. You can help them as a leadership missionary couple. You can serve in temples, family history, educational and medical activities, welfare service projects, public affairs, and visitors’ centers. There is a need for almost every discipline of life. There is undoubtedly a need somewhere in the world for your unique capacities and talents. Often special health considerations can be accommodated. The feelings you express to the bishop are communicated in a recommendation for a call. The President of the Church has made it possible for those calls to be inspired of the Lord, taking into consideration your special needs and desires as a couple. Stake presidents and bishops are kept aware of current full-time missionary needs. If you cannot find anyone locally to identify potential missionary opportunities, write to the Missionary Department at headquarters. We will send you a list of the current needs. I encourage each couple with available time to prayerfully consider a full-time mission. You will be greatly blessed for the courage to accept a call. Your children and grandchildren will be positively influenced for good as witnessed by many couples who have honorably served, some on their third, fourth, or fifth mission." (Richard G. Scott, “Why Every Member a Missionary?” Ensign, [November 1997]: 35).

In 1996 David B. Haight wrote about couple missionaries: "In 1963 I was called to preside over the Scottish Mission. When I arrived, I made a tour of all the branches and could see that the members, many of whom were new converts, were still learning the patterns of the gospel and why we do things the way we do. I realized that what these branches needed was the example of members who were well seasoned in Church experience—priesthood and Relief Society knowledge and operating procedures. I thought of the vast numbers of healthy retired people sitting in rocking chairs on sunny patios when they still had many years of productivity in them and could visualize how successful we could be in Scotland if we had some of those experienced retired couples in some of our branches. What a help they would be!

So I wrote to some of our retired friends in California and encouraged them to come on a mission and suggested that they indicate on their missionary application that they would enjoy serving in Scotland. Seven couples responded to my encouragement.

In addition, as a mission president I submitted my request to the Missionary Department for couple missionaries. Since assignments for missionary service are made by inspiration through the Brethren, there was no guarantee that these couples from California would be able to serve with me. However, to our mutual joy, these seven couples were assigned to the Scottish Mission, and we put them to work in these branches. Their influence was just as successful as I had hoped it would be. What a wonderful resource they were!

Mission presidents all over the world need the maturity, knowledge, and personal skills of retired couples to help strengthen their missions today just as much as we needed them in 1963. Couples add stability to a mission. They are role models for younger missionaries, and they offer mature thinking....

Serving a mission gives retired people a chance to use their talents and gifts again. They discover that they are truly needed, and as a consequence they find a powerful new sense of direction in life. They joyfully lose themselves in new experiences and opportunities for growth. The reward for those who serve is often renewed health and energy. When they go home, they are filled with the rich spirit of missionary work and a great love for the people they have served."

In 1996 Henry D. Eyring said about couples serving: "The fruit of keeping covenants is the companionship of the Holy Ghost and an increase in the power to love. That happens because of the power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ to change our very natures. We are eyewitnesses of that miracle of greater spiritual power coming to those who accept covenants and keep commandments. For instance, there are families across the Church who read and reread letters from their missionary children with wonder, and a few tears, at the miracle that in so short a time they have become new, better people.

Yet I have also seen that same miracle in a mature man and woman, called to serve as proselyting missionary companions in the most difficult of circumstances which would have taxed the bravest youth. As the husband made his report, I thought back to the man I had known. I realized that the promised miracle of spiritual growth is not a product of youth but of the faith simply to try to keep covenants. That couple went out to love the people and to bear witness, and they returned transformed as much as any 21-year-old.

Each of us who have made covenants with God face challenges unique to us. But each of us shares some common assurances. Our Heavenly Father knows us and our circumstances and even what faces us in the future. His Beloved Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior, has suffered and paid for our sins and those of all the people we will ever meet. He has perfect understanding of the feelings, the suffering, the trials, and the needs of every individual. Because of that, a way will be prepared for us to keep our covenants, however difficult that may now appear, if we go forward in faith. Henry B. Eyring, “Witnesses for God,” Ensign [November 1996]: 30).

In the 1990 general conference, M. Russell Ballard shared his experience about missionary couples when he was a mission president in Canada Toronto Mission:

"Missionary couples around the world are bringing similar blessings into the lives of many people. And a happy side effect is that the blessings work both ways.

When I was mission president in the Canada Toronto Mission, I was amazed at the changes that took place in couples who served in the mission. Very often, they came to the mission field having set aside plans for a comfortable retirement. But then a beautiful transformation began. As I observed their faith and trust in the Lord, their involvement in the work, and their selfless giving, I felt as though I were watching budding flowers blossom into full bloom. These wonderful couples traded something good at home for something better in the mission field....

Following are some commonly asked questions. Perhaps the answers will help you understand more about the work of missionary couples.

Who Are Missionary Couples? They are worthy older married couples who no longer have dependent children at home, are able to support themselves financially in the mission field, and are in good health.

How Long Do Couples Serve? Couples are usually called for eighteen months, but their calls can be for twelve or six months as circumstances warrant. Six-month assignments are limited to couples in vocations that are seasonal, such as agriculture; these short-term assignments are to missions close to where the couple lives. Couples serving for eighteen months may be assigned outside their own country.

After serving one mission, couples frequently feel the desire to serve again. One couple, Ralph and Aileen Tate, are serving their fourth mission; they have served in Toronto, in Nigeria and Ireland (during the same mission!), and the islands of the Caribbean; they now serve in New Zealand. They have seen people baptized in every mission, and the leadership training they have done is tremendous.

Is It Presumptuous to Seek a Mission Call? Not at all. Couples don’t call themselves; the Lord does. But they should feel free to go to the bishop and let him know of their interest in serving.

Will We Have to Memorize the Discussions? Missionaries using the current discussions are not required to memorize; they teach from an outline, using their own words. Couples can learn enough of the outline of the discussions—and can even refer to the outline as they teach—so that they can share the gospel very effectively without having to memorize. In this way, they are able to be more sensitive to the Spirit and to the investigator’s feelings. But may I further alleviate any fears on this matter. You already know the gospel! Your years of learning it and living it will provide many unique and wonderful personal experiences through which you can effectively teach it. Do not be afraid. The Lord will bless you as you teach the gospel on your mission.

Are There Age Restrictions for Missionary Couples? The general age limit is seventy years. However, couples older than seventy may be called if their health is good and if their stake president feels they have the physical and emotional strength to serve.

How About Our General Health? Missionary couples should be healthy enough to contribute to the work. Most couples are actively involved at home, and so they should be able to serve a mission. Remember, you will have each other for support. In addition, the mission president will be sensitive to special circumstances and will assign you based on your experience and the need in the mission.

Will I Be Able to Take the Physical Rigors of Proselyting Like the Young Missionaries? Don’t worry about this. You will work at your own pace and will not be expected to follow the same routines as the other missionaries. There are many other ways to make friends and work with them. You have a lifetime of experience to draw upon; the approaches to service are unlimited.

What Are Some of Those Other Approaches to Service? You could teach in the auxiliaries, build chicken coops, train local leaders, preserve fruits and vegetables, fellowship potential or new members, repair fences, reactivate less-active members, teach people how to plant and care for gardens, preach the gospel, love and listen, sing in choirs, paint, baptize, pull weeds—anything and everything that finds access to people’s hearts in faithful, loving ways. The list is endless. Missionary couples are guided by the Spirit to perform many things that can help direct our Heavenly Father’s children toward the Lord and his kingdom.

What Are the Greatest Assets Couples Have As Missionaries? Missionary couples are often assigned to areas where local Church leaders and members can benefit from their experience, maturity, and guidance. Missionary couples add strength to branches and wards just by their presence. One of my colleagues has said: “Missionary couples are living examples of what the Church does for people. People in the mission field look at them and see great faith in action. And they get a perspective of lifetime service in the Church.”

How Many Couples Are Needed? When someone asked President Spencer W. Kimball that question, he replied, “All of them!”

President Ezra Taft Benson has said:

“Today the Church needs missionaries as never before! We are required to carry the gospel of Jesus Christ to every nation of the world....

“This task will require thousands of missionaries, many more than are presently engaged in worldwide missionary service....

“You are needed in the service of the Lord today as never before. ‘The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few’ (Luke 10:2).” (See General Conference, April 1984.)

Elder David B. Haight of the Quorum of the Twelve has said:

“Some stakes are crowded with mature couples fully prepared to accept a mission call, who could not only enthusiastically help in spreading the gospel but strengthen new members in areas of the world where we are growing so rapidly. The thousands of newly baptized members now in the Church, with its somewhat strange, unfamiliar ways, could be encouraged and trained by someone who today is sitting comfortably at home. … If we could only transplant hundreds of our faithful, well-prepared couples out into one of the greatest chapters of their lives!” (General Conference, April 1979.)

Missions everywhere need more couples. Their maturity and experience make them some of the best missionaries we have. Their special skills, developed through a lifetime of faithful service and living, enable them to train local leaders effectively, strengthen and reactivate members, and bring nonmembers to Christ by teaching and baptizing them. The importance of their work is almost beyond expression in words.

To all married couples that can serve: now is the time. Thrust in your sickle and serve the Lord with all your might, mind, and strength. You will know more love and fulfillment than you ever believed possible.

A mission is a sacrifice, yet your sacrifice will bring forth “the blessings of heaven” (See Hymns, number 47). In reality, the sacrifice of leaving home, family, and comforts truly turns out to be a sacrifice of something good for something better. (M. Russell Ballard, “Missionary Couples,” Tambuli, May 1990, 17).

In 1989 President Ezra Taft Benson call for more missionaries at conference: "Become involved in missionary service. We need increasing numbers of senior missionaries in missionary service. Where health and means make it possible, we call upon hundreds more of our couples to set their live and affairs in order and to go on missions. How we need you in the mission field! You are able to perform missionary service in ways that our younger missionaries cannot.

I'm grateful that two of my own widowed sisters were able to serve as missionary companions together in England. They were sixty-eight and seventy-three years of age when they were called, and they both had a marvelous experience.

What an example and a blessing it is to a family's posterity when grandparents serve missions. Most senior couples who go are strengthened and revitalized by missionary service. Through this holy avenue of service, many are sanctified and feel the joy of bringing others to the knowledge of the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ. (Ezra Taft Benson, CR O'89, Ensign, [November 1989]: 5)."

In 1987 Gordon B. Hinckley said: "Along with the need for young elders and sisters, there is a growing need for couples in the mission field. Older married couples are doing a wonderful work in the missions. Many more are needed. Particularly we need those with foreign language abilities. They can serve in many responsibilities under the direction of sensitive and considerate mission presidents.

With an increasing number of people retiring while they are still possessed of health and vitality, there are many who can fill a tremendous need in the work of the Lord. However, we know that every couple is not in a position to go. Three qualifications should be observed.

(1) Candidates should have the means to sustain themselves. If their resources are limited, perhaps their children can assist. This happens in many cases, and both the parents and the children are blessed by the sacrifice made.

(2) They should not leave behind dependent children. Some of these children are at the most critical time of their lives when they need parents nearby.

(3) They should be in reasonably good health. Missionary work at best is rigorous and demanding. It requires strength and vitality. Of course, older couples are not expected to do everything young missionaries do. Some couple missionaries will proselyte, but many will not. Wise and inspired mission presidents will have their best interests at heart.

All of us who have met couple missionaries in various parts of the world have listened to their enthusiastic reports and their expressions of gratitude for the privilege of serving. I talked recently with a couple who were leaving for their third mission. They said they felt younger than when they had left for their first."

President Howard W. Hunter talked about putting up self-made walls that keep couples from serving: "We must not hide behind self-made walls to avoid missionary work. As we try to understand the spirit of reconciliation sweeping the globe and to give it meaning within the gospel context, we have to ask ourselves: Could this not be the hand of the Lord removing political barriers and opening breaches in heretofore unassailable walls for the teaching of the gospel, all in accord with a divine plan and a divine timetable? Surely taking the gospel to every kindred, tongue, and people is the single greatest responsibility we have in mortality. In 1974, President Spencer W. Kimball, speaking on this theme, said: “I can see no good reason why the Lord would open doors that we are not prepared to enter.” He concluded by saying that the doors to nations would open “when we are ready for them.” (Ensign, October 1974, p. 7).

As the walls in Eastern Europe, the Soviet Union, Africa, China, India, South America, and many other parts of the world come tumbling down, the corresponding need for more missionaries to fulfill the divine commission to take the gospel to all the earth will certainly go up! Are we ready to meet that contingency?

To satisfy the new demands being made upon us in this great missionary work of the last days, perhaps some of us (particularly the older generation whose family are raised) need to take stock to determine whether “walls” that we have built in our own minds need to come down.

For example, how about the “comfort wall” that seems to prevent many couples and singles from going on a mission? How about the “financial wall” of debt that interferes with some members’ ability to go, or the grandchildren wall,” or the “health wall,” or the “lack of self-confidence wall,” or the “self-satisfied wall,” or the “transgression wall,” or the walls of fear, doubt or complacency? Does anyone really doubt for a minute that with the help of the Lord he or she could bring those walls crashing down?

We have been privileged to be born in these last days, as opposed to some earlier dispensation, to help take the gospel to all the earth. There is no greater calling in this life. If we are content to hide behind self-made walls, we willingly forgo the blessings that are otherwise ours. The Lord in modern-day revelation explains the great need:

“For behold the field is white already to harvest; and lo, he that thrusteth in his sickle with his might, the same layeth up in store that he perisheth not, but bringeth salvation to his soul” (D&C 4:4).

An all-wise Heavenly Father goes on to explain that same revelation the qualifications that we need to be good missionaries. Knowing full well of our weaknesses and of our reservations as we stand before the huge gate of our self-made wall, he reassures us that divine help to overcome all obstacles will be forthcoming if we will only do our part, with the simple promise:

“Ask, and ye shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened unto you” (D&C 4:7).

May the Lord bless us that the walls of our minds may not obstruct us from the blessings that can be ours. (Howard W. Hunter, Teachings of Howard W. Hunter, ed. Clyde W. Williams [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1987]: 246-247).

In May 1983 at a church-wide fireside Elder Boyd K. Packer said: "

I am sure there are listening those who did not serve a mission. Perhaps you did not really understand. Perhaps your decision for one reason or another was that you could not go. Perhaps you were not in the Church at that age. Some missed their missions because of military service.

What ever the reason, there is no time to brood over that now. Every member is a missionary. Devote attention to encouraging and financing and preparing your children and others to serve on missions. Many dreams are realized through our children. The time may come when you may go as a missionary couple. Look forward, not backward. Magnify your priesthood. (Boyd K. Packer, "Come, All Ye Sons of God," Ensign, [August 1983]: 71).

Spencer W. Kimball said about couple missionaries: "We could use hundreds of couples, older people like some of you folks, whose families are reared, who have retired in their business, who are able to go and spend their own money to teach the gospel. We could use hundreds of couples. You just go and talk to your bishop—that is all you need to do. Tell him, “We are ready to go, if you can use us.” I think you will probably get a call. (Spencer W. Kimball, Fair Oaks California Stake Center Dedication, 9 October 1976).

Ezra Taft Benson declare way back in 1974: "We hope to make a selection of couples who are physically able to go and use them to augment this great army of full-time missionaries. (Ezra Taft Benson, Mission Presidents’ Seminar, 27-28 June 1974).

Even way back in 1948 LeGrand Richards taught about the sacrifice of older couples:
"Some of my Dutch friends, a man and his wife, came into the office the other day, and they said, "Brother Richards, we have filled one mission together, but we would surely like to go on another." Then he said, "If we sell our home and our automobile, we can finance ourselves." Is there any other cause in this world for which men would ask the privilege of selling all they have--even their homes--other than that they might bear witness to the truth of this great Latter-day work? (LeGrand Richard, Conference Report, April 1948, p. 47).

I don't know too many people today who would sell everything they have to go on a mission but it is a staggering thought. Tomorrow I will discuss a few barriers couples have for going on a mission. I will try to analyze some of the talks including Elder Scott's and President Howard W. Hunter's about why couple don't always serve and see what people think in a poll.

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