If you happen to be visiting someone in the North Office Building of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in downtown Salt Lake City, Utah, USA, any weekday between 9:00 a.m. and 3:30 p.m., chances are Elder Easton Hofheins will greet you from his wheelchair with a big smile and a friendly hello. That’s because he is magnifying his calling as a young Church-service missionary. Among his responsibilities at the front desk are representing the Savior as he welcomes visitors, communicating via email and phone with Church employees, and accepting deliveries.
But if you had asked the 18-year-old and recent high school and seminary graduate what his plans for the future included six months ago, a mission wasn’t on the list. You see, Elder Hofheins has used a wheelchair his entire life and has extremely limited use of his limbs as a result of arthrogryposis, a disease that curves the joints in his hands, arms, and feet. Consequently, he had accepted that a full-time proselytizing mission wasn’t an option.
So when his bishop approached him with the possibility of a service mission, he considered it for the first time and decided it was “a great idea.” And now he couldn’t be happier to be serving a full 24-month mission as a young Church-service missionary.
Elder Hofheins loves the interaction he has with the people from his building, and he is learning a lot from his district leaders and missionary coordinators. In a recent training meeting with his district leaders about the importance of serving his mission, Elder Hofheins had the distinct impression that “maybe someone else could do my job, but the Savior really meant for me to do it at this time.” He takes that charge seriously.
When asked what advice he has for others with similar physical limitations, he answered enthusiastically, “Just try it out.” Service can last anywhere from six months to two years, depending on a missionary’s capability to serve as discussed with their bishop. For Elder Hofheins, he definitely thinks it was the right choice for him to serve.
President Gordon B. Hinckley taught, “Every missionary has the responsibility to magnify his calling.” He explained, “When we live up to our high and holy calling, when we show love for God through service to fellowmen, when we use our strength and talents to build faith and spread truth, we magnify our priesthood” (“Magnify Your Calling,” Ensign, May 1989, 47).
Elder Hofheins is taking that counsel to heart. Thanks to his call as young Church-service missionary, Elder Hofheins doesn’t let physical limitations slow him down. With faith in Jesus Christ and a desire to serve, he is contributing his strength and talents in meaningful ways to further the Lord’s work on the earth as only he can.