“Whatever the circumstances and wherever they serve, the truth is that the Lord’s missionaries are daily sowing countless seeds of good tidings. Thinking of themselves as always being in the middle of their missions will embolden and energize these faithful representatives of the Lord.” —Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “Always in the Middle,” Ensign, July 2012
Lately, I have been thinking about the different types of missions that people can serve in. Yes, there are more options than just being a regular full-time missionary. As I mentioned in one of my recent blog posts, some people aren’t able to serve full-time missions for various reasons. Often this makes them feel like they are “less righteous” or “less of a member,” two ideas that are completely inaccurate. God loves us and understands our circumstances. For that reason, we are given diverse options when it comes to missionary service.
“Now they were desirous that salvation should be declared to every creature, for they could not bear that any human soul should perish; yea, even the very thoughts that any soul should endure endless torment did cause them to quake and tremble.” Mosiah 28:3
- Full-Time Missionary: Young men have the option to leave starting at the age of 18 after they have graduated from high school. Young women have the option of leaving at the age of 19. While this option is available, it does not mean everyone has to or should leave at those ages.
- Honorably Excused: In a letter the First Presidency issued on Jan. 30, 2004, they stated: “There are worthy individuals who desire to serve but do not qualify for the physical, mental, or emotional challenges of a mission. We ask stake presidents and bishops to express love and appreciation to these individuals and to honorably excuse them from full-time missionary labors.” Although some are excused from serving a full-time mission, the following options are available to them to serve in some capacity.
- Young Church-Service Missionary: Church-service missionaries serve at least six hours a week for up to 24 months. They still need to be within the missionary age requirements, but need to provide for all of their own expenses. There are various ways in which church-service missionaries serve, including family history, media, technology, seminaries, institutes and more.
- Member Missionary Work: Members (young and old) can be missionaries, and all should be. Share your testimony through word and deed. Invite the missionaries to teach your neighbors and friends at your home. Do kind acts of service to all of those around you. Share your testimony through social media. Be an example of a disciple of Jesus Christ.
- Senior Missionary: Senior couples who are retired and have the funds necessary to serve can be called all of the world. From proselyting to church-service, there are many ways that seniors can show their love for God through servicing others.
“For behold, thus said Jesus Christ, the Son of God, unto his disciples who should tarry, yea, and also to all his disciples, in the hearing of the multitude: Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature;” Mormon 9:22
How has being a missionary (in whatever capacity) changed your life?