Serving a Church-Service Mission: A Perfect Fit

By Tiffany Tolman

If you ask them, Chuck and Pam Durr will tell you that they are living their retirement dream. Chuck enjoys frequent rounds of golf, and the couple loves staying connected with their children, grandchildren, and new great-grandbaby. But amid all the joys of retirement life, Chuck and Pam are thrilled to be serving their second full-time service mission for the Church.

It all started a couple of years ago when they were serving as ordinance workers in the Bountiful Utah Temple, an assignment they adored. When they learned about an opportunity to serve a full-time, get-your-hands-dirty-and-work-the-land Church-service mission at the Heber Valley girls’ camp, they decided to learn more. After a year of waiting, they got their call, loaded up their RV, and headed to camp.

For 18 months, the couple worked the challenge courses, drove ATVs around camp, and served campers with other Church-service missionary couples. And during that time, they were close enough to home to return on preparation day, if needed, and check in with family members frequently.

These days you can find Chuck and Pam driving the Temple Square van, shuttling visitors from the Salt Lake International Airport and local KOA campground to Temple Square and back again. It’s a Church-service mission that allows them to live at home, keep a pretty normal, if not busy, schedule, and serve the Lord in a meaningful way.

And the blessings they’ve received from serving full-time Church-service missions couldn’t be more clear. For starters, they can’t wipe the smiles off their faces. When they talk about their missions, they exude happiness because, as Chuck says, “Missions make you happy.” They also exude love—for the Lord, each other, and the people they serve. Whether it’s finishing each other’s sentences or sharing stories about the people they serve and the experiences they’ve shared, the love shines through.

When asked how the missions have blessed their lives, Chuck has nothing but praise. “It helps us be closer together. It helps us be mindful of our blessings. We get to serve, and it’s not that hard.” They also feel like serving has strengthened their testimony of the Savior. “When you’re serving,” Chuck says, “you’re more in tune with the Lord. You feel the Spirit more, and you act differently.” And it “keeps us young,” he adds with a twinkle in his eye.

Serving multiple Church-service missions hasn’t cramped their busy retirement lifestyle at all. While serving at the Heber Valley girls’ camp, they took some time off during the winter season (when the demand for missionaries was low) to pack up the RV and travel south with fellow service missionary couples on a mini vacation. And the 20–30 hours per week they now serve driving the van is very flexible. They sign up for shifts that work, trade shifts as needed, and can be available for personal commitments. With careful planning, it all just works out.

The Durrs don’t know exactly how long this mission will last; it could be anywhere from one to six years. But they love what they are doing so much that they already have some ideas about where the next one will be. According to Chuck, “There’s a season for everything, and our season now is to be serving Church-service missions together.”