- If you are or will soon be the age of a senior missionary, I come to you this afternoon to witness of the blessings that can change your life forever. Your Heavenly Father needs you. His work, under the direction of our Savior Jesus Christ, needs what you are uniquely prepared to give. Every missionary experience requires faith, sacrifice, and service, and these are always followed by an outpouring of blessings.
- As we discuss these blessings, you will naturally consider what I have called the four Fs: fear, family concerns, finding the right mission opportunity, and financial challenges. May I yet add another more important and powerful F—faith. Only through our faith can we heed God’s counsel to “choose ye this day, whom ye will serve” —“to serve the Lord God who made you.” And only through a trial of our faith can we receive the miraculous blessings we seek for ourselves and our families. “For if there be no faith among the children of men God can do no miracle among them; wherefore, he showed not himself until after their faith.”
He knows that family concerns are real but that great blessings are given to those that will serve.
- Certainly family concerns are real and should not be considered lightly. But we cannot meet our family challenges without the blessings of the Lord; and when we sacrifice to serve as full-time missionary couples, those blessings will flow.
He asks those that are not able to serve for whatever reason, to consider helping support a couple that can financially. Blessings of missionary service come to couples that can help in this manner as well.
- If you cannot serve because of serious extenuating circumstances, would you consider making a financial contribution to help those who can? The reasonable sacrifice of your means will not only bless other missionaries and those they serve; it will bless you and your family as well.
He speaks to those that were not able or willing to serve at a younger age. He speaks of the regret that is common among them but tells them to stop looking backwards and look forward to a time when they can serve the Lord with all that they have and are.
- 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!
He shares a personal note about his wife and his experience serving a mission and shares a short note from another couple who recognize 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.
He encourages priesthood leaders to prayerfully look for couples to serve from your part of the Lord's vineyard. Callings to serve can remain local if needed. The goal is to offer the blessings of missionary service to all that have a desire to serve.
- Priesthood leaders, as you prayerfully seek to encourage full-time missionary service, remember that when a couple is called, they not only help accomplish the work of the Lord throughout the world; they plant a seed of service in their families that will blossom for generations to come. I continue to be grateful for the influence of my parents, who served as couple missionaries in England and set an example for their posterity.
Couple missionaries are examples to all of us and to all those they serve. Elder Hales closes with words of encouragement to all who can and will serve.
- All those who serve make an invaluable contribution in the sight of the Lord, for all “have compassion, making a difference.” Couple missionaries are role models and examples of strength to full-time missionaries and to priesthood and auxiliary leaders throughout the world.
I have tried to think back in my family and don't know of anyone on my side of the family that have served missions as couples. My wife's grandparents served a mission to Temple Square many years ago and the family still tells stories about that experience and the great example it was to their family. In my life, I remember the amazing couples that served in my mission with me. How great they were to be so kind, friendly, and caring. I remember coming across a religious teaching that I was unfamiliar with and going to one of our couples and asking for knowledge and understanding from this great couple. I remember being invited into their apartment and for an hour, being instructed about some lesser known truths of the gospel. I recognized that as a youth, I had so much more to learn and have taken this experience to guide my life. My kids have come to me in a similar setting and asked about things that were testing their faith. I have tried to teach them with the same compassion, patience, and understanding that this fine senior couple had with me in my time of questioning and instruction. Senior couples help build testimonies at home and away. My life is an example of one couple that was available to help strengthen my testimony and help instruct me on the things of God. How grateful I am to them for teaching me more about the gospel of Jesus Christ.