Working on Buildings to Build the Kingdom

By Tiffany Tolman

Growing up, Johnathan Fenn didn’t plan on serving a mission. Struggles with seizures, asthma, anxiety, and depression put that option out of reach. But a couple years after he graduated high school, Johnathan heard about young Church-service missions and wanted to learn more.

Like many tech-savvy young adults, Johnathan took his questions to lds.org. There, he found details about serving a young Church-service mission and what he needed to do to get started. With that information in hand, he approached his bishop and together they explored the options. After a few months of trial and error with the application process (something that is now available online), Johnathan received his call.

In September, 2016, he began serving his young Church-service mission with the Facilities Management group in Lehi, Utah—working on buildings to help build the Kingdom of God. He was released in September, 2017, after serving faithfully for one year.

When Johnathan began his service with the group, his maintenance skills were limited. But through his faithful service, Johnathan grew in more ways than one. For starters, he learned about electrical work, drywall, and more. He can now use those skills for the rest of his life.

More importantly, though, Johnathan gained some intangible skills that will be with him forever. He learned the value of hard work. He volunteered five days a week from 7:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. While the mission hours were flexible to accommodate his health issues, he gave it everything he had.

He learned that he was part of a bigger family. The Facilities Management employees and fellow Church-service missionaries looked out for him, taught him, and welcomed him with open arms.

He learned that his service didn’t need to be recognized to make a difference. He joked, “A lot of members think that things just magically get fixed [in church buildings]. Or they never see all the problems.” But he learned through his service, that God saw his efforts even if no one else did.

Finally, he learned that he was happier when he served. During his mission, he always had a smile on his face. Serving like the Savior helped him get outside himself and his health issues to focus on others. That was a true blessing.   

Johnathan shared, “Without my mission I would still be in a shell. I probably wouldn’t have had the courage to do anything. But my mission got me out, got me comfortable with people I didn’t know, and helped me develop friendships with others. “

By working on buildings with the Facilities Management group as a young Church-service missionary, Johnathan helped build the Kingdom of God.

If you are 18-25 years old, learn how you can help build the Kingdom of God by serving a young Church-service mission. Explore opportunities today.