Saturday, April 26, 2008

Serving a Couples Mission When You Hadn't Served A Mission Before

When I was a young man President Spencer W. Kimball began the forward thrust that every young man should serve a mission. Growing up in Las Vegas and joining the church in 1974 I knew many people who had joined the church in their early twenties who did not serve on a mission. As the years have gone by I have encountered many men in leadership positions who never served a mission in the late 60s, the 70s or even the 80s. I have even run across young guys starting out in married life that have never gone on a mission. If you do the numbers you will see there are hundreds of thousands of priesthood holders who have never served a proselyting mission. Since women are not pressed to go there is an amazingly large percentage of them who want to go with their husbands to share the gospel.

Robert D. Hales discussed those who hadn't served earlier in their lives: "Now, to those who were not able to serve a mission in their youth, may I speak directly to you. Perhaps over the years you have been burdened by feelings of regret or felt less than adequate because you did not have a missionary opportunity to serve and grow when you were younger. My advice to you: look forward, not back. Begin preparing for your mission as a senior missionary couple today! Save a little money each month. Study the scriptures. Accept Church callings. Pray to feel the Lord’s love for others and receive His love and confidence in you. You can one day claim all the blessings of missionary service!

And what marvelous blessings they are! 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,” Liahona, May 2005, 39–42).

Couples should not be afraid of going on a mission if they haven't served. I recommend couples checking out the video presentation Couple Missionaries A Time to Share. The video helps you understand the process and is well worth your time to view it might help alleviate some of your concerns. The Church has some suggestions on personal items to take care of prior to going entitled How You Can Prepare to Serve, which covers practical things like what to do with your house, etc. The most important thing a couple can do is find someone in a similar position that can give you an accurate assessment of what you might encounter. Talk to your bishop and stake president they can steer you in the right direction. As a wise man once said you have nothing to fear but fear itself so gain some information and overcome your barriers.

I wonder if there are couples who never served who could recommend ways of adjusting. It would be interesting to hear from a few couples who served first time missions together.

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