From Elder Robert D Hales:
My brothers and sisters, if you have felt stirrings to engage in this work, however quiet those feelings may be, do not procrastinate the day of your service. Now is the time to prepare; now is the time to be called, the time to sacrifice. Now is the time to share your gifts and talents, and now is the time to receive God’s blessings for you and your family. . . . Let us, in our richest years of experience, maturity, wisdom, and most of all, our faith, rise to meet that need as only we can.
Elder Charles and Sister Liz Walton
From my dear friends Becky and Brian Gerritsen, who are serving a humanitarian mission in Cape Verde: (significantly shortened)
The most rewarding part of our work is getting to know individuals. We met a young man named Alvin from Senegal, Africa. Alvin was so impressed that our Church would give help to the poor children, so we gave him a Book of Mormon. He told us he is reading it every night. He is such a humble, good man, and will be a friend forever.
Another young man is named Nataniel. Nataniel works
very hard building a home he cut out of the mountain for his aunt, as well as working for a cleaning company. He is desirous of serving a mission. He has been a member for only 9 months and is 25 years old. People like Nataniel and Alvin have greatly enriched our lives.
As this New Year approaches, it’s time to start preparing for that mission you’ve been thinking about for years. Preparing and applying for a mission takes careful planning. It also takes at least six months of focused attention. So begin your adventure this week. Start looking at practical details that need attention. Begin practicing for a mission by working together with your spouse on a project. Think mission. Then take action.
On this Christmas Eve Sabbath, we remember not only the Savior’s birth but also His life of sacrifice and love. We can follow His example by sacrificing our time and talents in serving His children. A senior mission is like a tithing on our lives that we offer in thanks for the great blessings of light, truth, and redemption that the Savior gives us.
It won’t be like Christmas at home, but a mission Christmas can be one of your best Christmases ever. Missionaries still give and receive gifts and still decorate their apartments. But best of all, they share the gift of the gospel to both members and nonmembers. And they feel the true spirit of Christmas in a way that they’ll cherish for the rest of their lives. Christmas on a mission is truly a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
What would the Savior like more for Christmas than having you serve His children? And now more than ever His children need the strength senior missionaries can bring to the world. Christmas is an ideal time to begin preparing for the mission you’ve been planning to serve.
It’s time to start preparing for a senior mission in 2018, and Senior Missions: What to Expect and How to Prepare will be your best friend as you begin planning. Tell your parents and grandparents. Tell your neighbors and friends. This book will answer all their questions about senior missions.
Thanksgiving is a uniquely American holiday, but it turns out senior missionaries find it one of the most gratifying holidays of their missions, whether they’re serving in the US or in a foreign country. Younger missionaries miss Thanksgiving turkey and pies, and it’s really fun to cook for them. In foreign countries, however, finding a turkey can be practically impossible, and a whole chicken may have to take its place.
In the United States, we are accustomed to eating processed food that has been augmented with flavor enhancers and other chemicals. As a result, at first, the natural food in other countries may initially taste very bland to you. But that natural food is so much better for you, as long as you wash it carefully and cook it thoroughly. Before you know it, your taste buds will begin to reject artificial foods and flavors and crave the goodness of wholesome, natural meals.
At first, you may be quite surprised that you aren’t having spiritual experiences every day, or even every week. You may think you are wasting too much time. You may drive your poor spouse mad fussing about not reading the scriptures enough, not exercising enough, not fasting enough, not being a missionary! Relax. You are a missionary. This experience is not a sprint. It’s a marathon. You will figure out a flow and a balance that both you and your spouse can live with, and you will have spiritual experiences—just not on demand.