Are you a senior couple thinking about serving an LDS mission?
When senior couples begin to consider serving a mission, they quickly discover that there are very few resources available for getting answers to their numerous questions. And the resources that are available are spread all over the Internet.
Senior Missions: What to Expect and How to Prepare, will help you understand everything that you need to know and do.
In this book, Marnae takes prospective senior missionaries step-by-step through their mission preparation. In a friendly, personal tone, the book talks about deciding to serve, how to apply, where to get answers to questions, what to expect in the Mission Training Center, and many other topics of interest to senior couples.
Introduction and Chapter Summaries
Read the introduction to Senior Missions and review brief summaries of each chapter:
Senior Missions: What to Expect and How to Prepare has 17 chapters with many, many detailed answers to your questions and concerns. It discusses web site resources and missionary stories. It includes information from LDS general authorities and advice from other senior missionaries.
Here are some sample questions that are answered in the book:
1. Do I really need to serve a senior mission?
Only if you want to learn and grow exponentially, expand your testimony, make life-long friends, and have your heart filled with unbelievable love and joy.
2. What should I be doing now to prepare for a mission later?
Get out of debt, especially consumer debt, resolve or stabilize your health problems, spend lots of time with your spouse, and study the gospel.
3. How do I start the application process?
Set up an LDS.org account with a username and password. This is the same account you use to pay donations or work on FamilySearch. Then contact your bishop. He will give you access to an online missionary application.
4. How do I deal with passports and visas?
If you want to serve a foreign mission, apply for a passport as soon as you can. Passports last 10 years, so you don’t need to worry about it expiring. The Church missionary travel department will help you apply for the visa your mission country requires. They will contact you a couple of weeks after you receive your call.
5. Do I have to be out of debt to serve a mission?
No, but if you’re not, you need to have a very solid plan for paying your debts while you are on your mission. The Church really encourages you to have no consumer debt while you serve.
6. What if I have some health problems?
Almost all senior missionaries have health problems. In your application, you will answer many very detailed questions about your past and current health issues. Then your call will take those issues into consideration. Usually, if good medical care is available in a mission, you can serve there.
7. What kind of clothing should I take on my mission?
Specific clothing guidelines will be sent to you from your mission, depending on the climate there. In general, though, plan to take easy-care, loose-fitting, modest, understated but colorful skirts, blouses and sweaters.
8. Should I take my cell phone with me?
Generally, your mission will issue you a cell phone, and your cell phone won’t work well outside the United States. There are ways to set up a local US phone in foreign countries using the internet, though.
9. How many suitcases can I take?
Normally, you can take two large suitcases that weigh about 50 pounds and a carry-on bag that weighs about 30 pounds, but the bag and weight limits vary from airline to airline. The missionary travel department will advise you on your specific requirements.
10. Do I set up my own travel to my mission?
No, the Church has set up travel partnerships with various airlines and can get group discounts. Talk to the missionary travel department if you need more information.
11. Do senior missionaries attend the Mission Training Center?
Senior missionaries from the United States attend the Mission Training Center for one or two weeks, depending on their missionary assignments. The second week is for specialized training in office work, humanitarian service, welfare service, and other specialized missionary callings.
12. What kind of work will I be doing as a senior missionary?
The two most common missionary assignments are Member and Leadership Support (MLS) and Office Couple. MLS missionaries use their own talents and initiative to create their own mission. Office couples support the mission president by taking care of referrals, mission cars, mission apartments, mission newsletters, new missionary packets, and on and on.
13. Will I be able to find food I like on my mission?
It depends on where you serve and how sensitive you are to new tastes. Generally, however, senior missionaries prepare their own meals, so they can cook food they like. Frequently, outside the United States some ingredients you are accustomed to, such as taco seasoning, aren’t available, and many ingredients such as flour and sugar are different than those you are used to.
14. Who decides how our days are scheduled?
Learning to plan your missionary service together can be challenging for couples who have essentially managed separate careers, whether inside or outside the home. Each of you will be used to being in charge of your days. Scheduling planning time and discussing frustrations is essential to a successful and happy mission.
15. Can I go home for a family emergency?
If you are willing to pay your own transportation costs, you can get permission to return home for about 10 days to take care of family needs. However, you should use this privilege carefully.
16. Can I talk to my family and friends more than twice a year?
Senior missionaries have no limitations on communication with people at home. They can use Skype or Facetime, they can use Facebook and Instagram, or they can call. However, your mission time is dedicated to serving the Lord and His children, so don’t over use this privilege.
Senior Missions: What to Expect and How to Prepare answers these and many more of your questions in detail.