You will need to include a photo of you and your spouse in your application, and this photo is fairly important. It will be used by the General Authorities when they decide where you should be called to serve. Your photo will also be posted on your mission president’s missionary board along with the photos of all the other missionaries in your mission.
Actually, there isn’t a “mission kind of person.” We tend to think a good missionary is a salesman type, a high-energy cheerleader, or a driven goal-setter. And we know we are just regular, quiet, insecure volunteers. So we decide to let some other high-profile couples do the senior mission thing. You’d be amazed to learn that your unique talent set can be just as effective as that of a high-powered person.
Right up there with studying the scriptures is reading and studying Preach My Gospel. If you’re worried about being knowledgeable enough about the gospel, this book is for you. The book is easy to read and easy to understand. It’s well organized by topic, and it is full of scripture references that you can look up as you study.
“We need thousands of more couples serving in the missions of the Church. Every mission president pleads for them. Everywhere they serve, our couples bring a maturity to the work that no number of 19-year-olds, however good they are, can provide.” Jeffrey R. Holland, “We Are All Enlisted,” Ensign, Nov 2011
Choosing the right shoes for your mission is absolutely essential. Comfort and durability are way more important than style. But because good, dressy, durable, comfortable shoes are often heavy, you can probably only take a few pair with you. And finding good-quality shoes where you are called to serve may prove very difficult indeed. Wear your heaviest pair of shoes on the plane, and fill the shoes you pack with small items such as jewelry, ties, scarves, cosmetics, or other small, fragile items you want to protect.
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Many cultures view the roles of men and women differently than we do in the Church, and this cultural difference can cause senior couples some discomfort as they interact with other cultures in and out of the United States. Be patient and courteous as you work with the men and women of other cultures. They may may feel insulted as we unwittingly impose our customs and expectations on them.
There are many unusual mission opportunities for senior couples that should be considered, including serving in visitors’ centers and recreational properties, working with farming, maintenance and landscaping, overseeing public affairs offices, providing humanitarian service, and many, many more non-traditional missionary callings. Check the Senior Missionary Opportunities Bulletin for a list of the various possibilities and contact information for each mission type.
Many senior missionaries find great success and satisfaction as they teach their talents to members and nonmembers–whether the talent is piano and conducting music, auto mechanics, hair cutting, dance, or baking. Whatever the talent, people love to learn and share.
Instead of focusing on your own pioneer heritage, discover the pioneers of the Church where you are serving and focus on them. Many members you meet are the pioneers of their own families and have scrificed a great deal for the Church.