Elder Hales Tells New Mission Presidents, “The Lord Supports His Children”

Contributed By Sarah Jane Weaver Church News staff writer

  • 15 July 2015

Sister Mary Hales, seated at left, and Elder Robert D. Hales of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles speak on Friday, June 26, during the 2015 Seminar for New Mission Presidents in Provo, Utah.

Article Highlights

  • A shield of faith and obedience will protect missionaries.
  • Missionary work requires total commitment; there is no way to do it halfway.
  • It is important that all missionaries share their testimonies.

“I promise He will be there for you.” —Elder Robert D. Hales

PROVO, UTAH

The Lord sustains and supports His children in missionary service, said Elder Robert D. Hales of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles on June 26 during the 2015 Seminar for New Mission Presidents.

“The first couple weeks [as a new mission president] you will not sleep without one foot on the floor and one hand on the phone,” Elder Hales said, speaking with his wife, Sister Mary Hales, about missionary service.

Elder Hales gave the 126 new mission presidents, who began service this July, a warning. “The adversary can have no joy until one of us falls,” he said. “That is true with your missionaries. He lies at the door. … One mistake, he is there. Your missionaries have to understand this. A shield of faith and obedience protects them.”

The adversary is going to test “you and your missionaries,” Elder Hales told the mission presidents. “That is what mortality is all about. It is a test.”

He called a mission a spiritual adventure and a time of growth during which missionaries learn humility, diligence, and a willingness to endure to the end.

Those committed to missionary work will give themselves to the Lord with all their “heart, might, mind, and strength,” he said. “There is no way to do it halfway. It just doesn’t work.”

He asked mission presidents to encourage their missionaries to go to the Lord for strength.

Elder Hales said while he was serving as a mission president, he literally wore out his pants kneeling in his office in prayer “as the tests came.”

“I promise He will be there for you,” he said.

He said it is a blessing for mission presidents to serve with their wives. As they do they will find great joy.

“You will study the scriptures together. You will teach together. You will testify together as missionary companions. You will express your love in a different way.”

Couples will be “united in a calling and purpose as you have never been before and as you will never be again,” he said. “This is a remarkable time.”

He asked the couples to share their testimony every time they speak.

“Please teach your missionaries to endure to the end and return with honor,” he said. “Make sure every one of your elders and sisters understand that the Lord will help them.”

During her remarks, Sister Hales asked the couples to remember that the missionaries are not children. “They are adults and you speak to them as adults.” When missionaries have struggles, she added, “you encourage them and give them confidence that they can move on, that they can work through this. You don’t baby them. You help them be adults.”

She said the goal of a mission president and his wife is to see a missionary progress from where they are to where they can go.

It is important that all missionaries share their testimonies, Sister Hales explained.

She told the story of her sister, who as a 7-year-old girl was asked at school to write the religion of her parents. Sister Hales’s sister wrote that her father was a Mormon and put a question mark on the line that would designate her mother’s religious affiliation.

“When my sister came home from school, my mother—who never raised her voice—was beside herself. She said, ‘What were you thinking? We have family home evening. I go to church. I hold family prayer. I teach Primary. What were you thinking?’ My sister said, ‘But Dad always says it at family home evening. He says it. You don’t say it. So I thought you were maybe still deciding.’”

Sister Hales told the mission presidents and their wives, “You don’t want any of your missionaries to think you are still deciding. You need to say it.”

She told the women that they should do all they can to make the mission home a place of “comfort and hospitality and joy. You will have to decide what works for you and your circumstances.”

But, Sister Hales said, a mission president’s wife should keep things simple enough that they can physically and energetically spend time with their families and the missionaries.

“A mission is a wonderful, wonderful experience. But it is stressful. It is not like anything you have done before. Even Scout camp does not prepare you. You will need help. You must ask specifically for the help that you need.”

She also encouraged the women to make sure their husbands feel their love.

“Husbands need to feel loved. They need to feel your confidence in them. … They need to be told they are appreciated.”

Sister Mary Hales, seated at left, and Elder Robert D. Hales of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles speak on Friday, June 26, during the 2015 Seminar for New Mission Presidents in Provo, Utah. Photo by Matthew Reier.

Sister Mary Hales, seated at left, and Elder Robert D. Hales of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles speak on Friday, June 26, during the 2015 Seminar for New Mission Presidents in Provo, Utah. Photo by Matthew Reier.