“Preparation for a mission is very important. A mission is a voluntary act of service to God and humankind. All missionaries serve with the sole hope of making life better for other people” – Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.
Who, What, Where And When?
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ (aka Mormons’) most distinguishable feature is its missionary work programme. LDS/Mormon missionaries are found on the streets of major cities in almost every country. Currently there are over 80,000 full-time Mormon missionaries serving in 405 missions throughout the entire world.
Full-time Mormon missionaries can be single males who are between the ages of 18-25 years old, single females who are over 19 years old, or retired senior couples. Males (Elders) serve a mission for 24 months and females (Sisters) serve a mission for 18 months.
Each missionary receives his or her ‘mission call’ (assignment) from the Church’s HQ in Utah, USA. Through the medium of revelation and according to each specific mission’s needs, a missionary is assigned to labour in a specific area which may/may not include the learning of a foreign language and/or specific humanitarian service assignments. A missionary could be assigned anywhere; from London (UK) to Los Angeles (USA), Kyoto (Japan) to Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia).
Before going to the assigned mission, each missionary attends a Missionary Training Centre (MTC) in which the missionary is taught to be a teacher, learns the lessons (the doctrines of the Gospel of Jesus Christ) and if necessary, a foreign language. There are 15 MTCs throughout the world, including one in the UK (in Preston, England).
“Invite others to come unto Jesus Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end.”
Mormon missionaries use their own money to pay for their missionary service. This financial sacrifice combined with the physical and emotional sacrifice of 16 hour days for 18-24 months, reaps great spiritual conviction and conversion for both the missionary and those he/she comes into contact with. Missionaries teach anybody and everybody about the message of the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, about His Plan of Happiness and about His commandments. Missionaries help these people make changes in their lives, so that these good people can become better people; people who have a knowledge of a God that loves them and wants them to return back to His presence.
Mormon missionaries represent Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the world. They don’t just represent His Church, they always represent Him, through emulating His example; doing the things that He did and becoming the type of person that He is. Facing rejection and criticism, walking for miles in the rain and feeling the heartbreak of broken promises teaches a missionary many attributes that can be found in the personality of Jesus Christ. Missionaries strive to develop their faith in Jesus Christ, hope, charity and love, virtue, knowledge, patience, humility, diligence and obedience.
Imagine if you had found the pattern to happiness, peace and prosperity. Imagine if you had find the formula of faith which leads to action and power in your life. If you had found such great joy, you would want to share it with others, right? Well Mormon missionaries and members of the Mormon Church feel that they have found exactly that. The next natural step is to share this great joy and light to everybody; family, friends and colleagues.
Next time they knock at your door, stop you in the street or request you as a friend on Facebook; let them in, stop walking or accept their request! They have a special message for you and your family!