Last week our grandson, Jackson received his mission call to serve in the Omaha Nebraska Mission. He is to report to the Mission Training Center on March 19th. At times he can be a bit camera shy. This is the first photo before the opening of his letter. The opening of the missionary letter is a very celebrated and joyous moment. This was filmed but I haven't been able to get it on the blog. I am sad~
Jackson has prepared for this moment since he was very young. He comes from a long line of missionaries who have served in our family. His father served a mission in Iowa. His other Uncles and Aunt have served in the following areas: Washington DC, Costa Rica, Venezuela, New Zealand, Arizona, and Chili. My husband served in the Northern California Mission ,plus 3 stake missions and a Church Service Mission. I have served as a Stake Missionary 3 times, two Church Service Missions; a nurse for the Spokane Washington Mission and a Church Service Inner City Mission. The great grandparents on both sides also have served on various mission.
Jackson understood the thoughts expressed in Primary song; entitled, "I Hope They Call Me On A Mission".
The question has often been asked, how can we send out young men at the early age of 18 and the young woman at age 19 on a mission for our church. It seems like they are two young and not experienced enough to be on their own. The truth is that those who desire to serve a mission go because they believe in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They desire to spread the truths of the gospel throughout the nations of the earth.
They prepare for their missions by working in the following areas. 1. Gospel Knowledge, 2. Personal Worthiness, 3. Work and Self-Reliance, 4. Physical and Emotional Health, 5. Financial Preparation. You can read about each of these areas of preparation here.
When Jackson was very young he had this as a goal in his life and he is now prepared to serve the Lord on a full - time proselyting mission.
In the opening of General Conference for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in October of 2012; President Monson in his opening remarks revealed the following:
"I am pleased to announce that effective immediately all worthy and able young men who have graduated from high school or its equivalent, regardless of where they live, will have the option of being recommended for missionary service beginning at the age of 18, instead of age 19. I am not suggesting that all young men will—or should—serve at this earlier age. Rather, based on individual circumstances as well as upon a determination by priesthood leaders, this option is now available.
As we have prayerfully pondered the age at which young men may begin their missionary service, we have also given consideration to the age at which a young woman might serve. Today I am pleased to announce that able, worthy young women who have the desire to serve may be recommended for missionary service beginning at age 19, instead of age 21."Before this declaration by our prophet came, there were 58,500 young men and women serving missions throughout the world.
Immediately after this conference, the applications for missionary service increased dramatically for both young men and women. As of October Conference 2013 there were Approx. 80,000 young men and women serving. As of today there are 88,000 young men and women serving missions throughout the world.
There has been a hastening of the work. You can find more thoughts on the hastening of the work here.
Missionary life is hard work with an element of fun but most of all there are lots of moments of joy. First, these young men and women are trained for three weeks in a Missionary Training Center if they are assigned to a English speaking mission. They are in the Mission Training Center for twelve weeks if assigned to a foreign Language mission. Once in the assigned mission area they have rules of conduct that they live by. They are assigned a companion Elder or Sister and each day together they work on a schedule for the day. They go to bed at 10:30 at night and then arise at 6:30 each day. They get up and have time to exercise and then prepare for the day. They have individual study time and companion study time. They then go out to do the missionary work. Often times members will have prepared some of their non-member friends to listen to the missionary discussions so they have appointments already made. Other times they may do what is called tracking. This is where they go door to door asking if the person would like to hear more about our Savior Jesus Christ. Often times they have doors slammed in their faces. When they meet some one that is interested in learning more about the church, they schedule a time to teach them. Then when this investigator accepts the gospel they are prepared to be baptized into the church.
While in the mission field they learn very important life skills. They learn the importance of prayer, scripture reading, organizing their days, budgeting their money, learning to live with another person. After the 2 years for the men and 18 months for the women they have grown a great deal in their testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They are prepared to go forward in their lives by going to collage, starting a job, marriage and then of course, family life. It is a wondrous thing to send out into the mission field these young men and women and have them come home prepared to face life's challenges and also life's successes.
Jackson has been preparing for his mission for a long time. He is excited for this new opportunity. Right now he is busy getting more prepared spiritually, emotionally, physically and temporally. He has clothes to get for the weather he will be in. He has been working and saving for his mission. Missions are paid by the missionary or his family and if no money is available there is a mission fund from the ward or general church to help those young missionaries who do not have the funds to go. Missionaries come from all around the world. A mission costs about $10,000.00 for the two years.
There are also wonderful opportunities for service for those who may not be able to do a full time mission due to physical or developmental disabilities. This program is wonderful. They are assigned to be a Church Service Missionary. Here they are assigned to work as a missionary part-time and still live at home. This is a great experience for them.
There are different kinds of missions that are opened up to adult members of the church. Here is a the link to all of the different kinds of missionary service that is available.
My husband and I had the privilege of serving on an Inner City Mission for 21/2 years. This was a part-time Church Service Mission. There is so much joy in serving a mission.
Right now my husband and I are preparing to serve a full-time mission. There will be several different kinds of missions we could be assigned too but. we want to go where the Lord wants us to go.
Attention: For those of you who are in the Utah area; please check out this link on the Issue of Standing Up For Traditional Marriage. This is a great post with information on how to support this issue.