Grandma’s Missionary Service Inspires Generations
By Whitney Evans, Church News staff writer
- A grandmother’s example of missionary work has inspired her posterity to also serve, including her great-granddaughter, who leaves for Japan in June.
- Gladys Hunsaker served as a missionary in the Central States Mission from June 1928 through June 1930.
- Each of her sons and three of her daughters served missions, and one line of her family has continued their missionary service for four generations.
“Those two years were the happiest years of my life.” —Gladys Hunsaker, grandmother and missionary from 1928 to 1930
When Gladys Hunsaker served as a missionary in the Central States Mission from June 1928 through June 1930, she had no idea of the legacy she would leave for generations to come.
“Those two years were the happiest years of my life,” she wrote shortly after returning from her mission. During this time she saw the sick healed through the power of the priesthood and worked in the mission office for 14 months.
“I know I shall never be able to repay my parents for the sacrifices they made when I was there.”
Although she might not have repaid her parents for their physical sacrifices, her service as a missionary set a powerful precedent for many of her descendants.
This sister’s service as a full-time missionary left an example for those in following generations. Not only did all her sons and three of her daughters serve missions, but one line of her family has continued their missionary service for four generations.
Lydia Breksa, 19, great-granddaughter of Sister Hunsaker, has been called to serve in the Japan Fukuoka Mission and is schedule to leave on June 26.
Her missionary service will mark the fourth generation of sister missionaries in this direct line to serve a full-time mission. Laura Breksa, Lydia’s mother, said she does not consider a full-time mission to be a sacrifice. This is because the missionaries serve for 18 months to two years, but they receive blessings for eternity.
“It’s like the world for pennies,” she said.
Laura Breksa served in the Illinois Peoria Mission from January 1989 to July 1990. She said she had wanted to serve a mission from the time she was 13. Part of her motivation was to be able to provide an example for her own children. She also thought her mission would honor her grandmother.
“I know that it was the right thing for me to do,” Laura Breksa said.
Her mother, Patricia Hansen Barron, served in the Oregon Eugene Mission with her husband from November 1999 to May 2001. Sister Hansen said she felt “privileged to be part of the missionary effort up in Oregon.”
The Breksa family, of the Richmond Ward, Concord California Stake, spread the gospel outside traditional missionary service. One of their family goals for 2013 is to have a dessert night once a month on Sundays to which they will invite friends not of their faith or who are not actively participating in the Church. In years past they have had root beer float nights, and one year they had a goal to have someone who was not LDS in their house, usually for a meal, at least once a month.
Laura said she hopes Lydia will be able to focus on serving the people in Japan and learn to talk to everyone she meets during her service. She hopes her daughter will also be able to experience the joys of leading someone to the waters of baptism.
“You just learn to love all kinds of people no matter where they are. You just learn to care for them. I would hope the same for her.”