My family, including children and grandchildren, watched General Conference last weekend together. It seemed to me that many of the talks emphasized senior couples going on missions. I absolutely do not want to go on a mission, yet our children keep urging us to go. My husband wants to go when he retires, but I have no interest in it. I am tired of the constant pressure and would like to drop the subject. Will not going on a mission be all that bad?
Lynne, from California
Not all church service is pleasant and enjoyable, Much of it is hard work and some of it demands the utmost in dedication to the cause. Perhaps I could better comment on your question if I knew more about the reasons why you wouldn’t want to serve the Lord as a missionary. But let me see if I can make a few general comments for your consideration.
Almost every one who goes on a mission finds the experience quite different from what he or she imagined before being called, and very few return who do not feel that the mission was the most wonderful experience of their lives. So, if you determine not to go, you may be depriving yourself of experiences that would enrich your life in a major way. Also, since your husband has not yet retired, you may not have the opportunity to serve for some time. Before the time of your service comes you might well have changed your mind about all this.
The blessings that one might accrue from missionary experience would undoubtedly be greater if one responded to the call to serve in spite of feelings to the contrary, rather than responding in fulfillment of a desire to serve. This may sound a little peculiar, but it stems from the following scripture:
For verily I say unto you, blessed is he that keepeth my commandments, whether in life or in death; and he that is faithful in tribulation, the reward of the same is greater in the kingdom of heaven. (D&C 58:2)
Apart from how you feel, there really is a very great need for senior missionaries in the field. Your knowledge of the gospel and experience in church procedures and that of your husband would be of inestimable benefit in those areas where the church is new and is struggling to grow. By acting as a strengthening influence in a small branch you would have the privilege of providing for the eternal welfare and salvation of many of our Father’s children. The work is vital and the time is short.