One Mission Enough to Change Lives, But Not to Satisfy Desire to Serve
When Rose and Ron Harvey got married in 1950, they didn’t anticipate they would go on to spend 16 years of their marriage in full-time missionary service.
“I never dreamed of that,” Sister Harvey said.
Since 1992, the Canadian couple has served nine missions for the Church, preaching across the United States, Canada, and into the Pacific Islands.
Their experiences have been uplifting. “You come back on a spiritual high,” Sister Harvey said. But the change of heart they have received isn’t reserved only for those who serve 16 years. “You don’t have to serve nine missions. After our first mission, we came home changed people.”
Brother and Sister Harvey have had success, grown in the gospel, weathered trials, and overcome feelings of inadequacy. Today, their relationship is closer than ever, and they are quick to tell of the strength they have received and the blessings the Lord has given them and their family.
Called to Serve—Again and Again
Brother and Sister Harvey’s first mission, to the Minnesota Minneapolis Mission in 1992, was a wonderful experience, especially for Sister Harvey, who had wanted to serve a full-time mission since the time her children had prepared to go on their own missions. She and her husband found joy in reactivating members and seeing a branch organized. Later the couple served another proselytizing mission in the South Dakota Rapid City Mission, followed by family history missions at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City and at the Utah Correctional Institute. The latter brought unique challenges, and Brother and Sister Harvey felt great sympathy for their incarcerated brothers and sisters.
They served another proselytizing mission in the Canada Vancouver Mission, then two humanitarian service missions in American Samoa and Sacramento, California, USA. They were called soon after that to serve another family history mission, this time in the Canada Calgary Mission.
After a year and a half in Calgary, they are now serving another family history mission within the Calgary mission to Golden, British Columbia, and Cardston, Alberta.
Facing Common Challenges
Brother and Sister Harvey’s years of service haven’t come without challenges. They had to overcome some of the same obstacles that face all soon-to-be missionaries such as financial considerations, fear, finding the right opportunities, and family concerns.
Finances: Living simply and frugally made it possible for Brother and Sister Harvey to serve. They simplified their finances by getting rid of unnecessary expenses and bills and had their retirement and government pensions automatically deposited into an account. Though not excessive, their funds were always enough. “We never had a lot of money; we just had a lot of faith,” Sister Harvey said.
Fear: In his journals (they have both kept journals since their first mission to Minneapolis) Brother Harvey wrote that he felt inadequate to preach the word, and Sister Harvey at times shared that sentiment. Their concern was, “Do I know enough?” she said. “We weren’t educated … and yet here we were stepping out in the world, trying to convert people. … It’s a big responsibility to represent the Lord.” Through their experiences, they have found that the Lord takes care of those who serve Him.
Finding the right opportunities: There are service opportunities to match almost any skill or talent a couple has. Couples are counseled to consider their unique talents and abilities as well as their health and financial situations when approaching the bishop or branch president. The capacities in which Brother and Sister Harvey have served are as varied as the places they have lived. They were pleased to serve wherever the Lord called them whether as humanitarian services missionaries, family history missionaries, or proselytizing missionaries.
Family: One of the greatest concerns shared by senior missionaries is being away from their families. For Brother and Sister Harvey that includes 7 children, 39 grandchildren, and 25 great-grandchildren. Leaving them for years at a time has been difficult, but they now feel closer to their posterity than they did before they left. “I can hardly express the love that grew between us. … If you think you can’t go because of your children, you’ve got it all backward,” Sister Harvey said.
Through it all, Brother and Sister Harvey have remembered that they are on the Lord’s errand. “It’s His work and His glory. You have to have faith that that’s true,” she said.
Establishing a Heritage of Faith
The service Brother and Sister Harvey have contributed extends far beyond their mission boundaries. It has blessed their posterity in ways they never could have imagined. “We are just in awe of what it has done for our children,” Sister Harvey said.
Their descendants all agree that Brother and Sister Harvey’s example has had a great effect on their lives. “When the grandsons and granddaughters go out to serve in the mission field, they think of grandma and grandpa applying their heart, might, mind, and strength at their mature age and are inspired to do their best as well,” said Teri Kearl, one of Brother and Sister Harvey’s daughters.
Seeing the positive influence they had on their family after their first and second missions inspired Brother and Sister Harvey to keep serving.
“In a sense, as you go out and serve as grandparents, you are serving your family in many ways as well,” said Sister Harvey.
Their granddaughter Nicole Kearl, who is serving in the Idaho Pocatello Mission, recently wrote this about her grandparents: “Seeing their devotion to the Lord has given me a greater desire to serve the Lord. I’m sure that my desire to serve a mission was partly influenced by their great example.”
Drawing Closer to Each Other and the Lord
Brother and Sister Harvey feel closer to their children and grandchildren because of their service, but they’ve also grown closer as a couple. Sister Harvey described their daily scripture study regimen as “the greatest blessing ever.”
Brother Harvey added that he feels much closer to his wife through their continued service. “Her feelings are my feelings. When she cries I cry. When she laughs, I laugh,” he said.
Their relationship with the Lord has also grown as they rely on Him for comfort and guidance. “You get out on a mission and you’re all by yourself,” Sister Harvey said. “You rely on the Savior like you’ve never relied on Him before.”
Brother and Sister Harvey found they were cared for as long as they were willing to listen to the promptings of the Spirit.
“It’s like the Lord keeps opening the doors … faster than you can walk through them,” said Sister Harvey. “A desire and a willing heart—it’s all you need.”
Missionary Service Has Lifelong Impact
While much attention is given to serving and preparing to serve a mission, Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles recently noted for the media the impact a mission has on the rest of a missionary’s life.
For returning missionaries, coming home involves more than just picking up where they left off. Circumstances and relationships at home may have changed—and the missionary comes home a different person than the one who left two years earlier.
“Generally, young people who come back from their missions have changed in many significant ways,” said Elder Ballard. “They have spent up to two years helping others, thinking outside of themselves, studying scripture, learning a new language in many cases, finding out about new cultures, and having experiences that make them more responsible, more caring and thoughtful human beings.”
He also believes that the missionary experience focuses and enhances the way a person approaches life’s challenges and opportunities.
“Perhaps the most important education young people can get is in the mission field,” he said. “They learn to present themselves and to speak and relate to others. When they go home they take these and other skills and attributes with them which help them move forward in their careers, in their personal and family relationships, and in their service to the Church and the community.”
There are currently some 53,000 full-time missionaries serving in more than 150 countries. That means that around 25,000 missionaries return to their homes each year, where they learn to serve in various positions in their wards and branches, often becoming teachers and leaders.
“Missionary service across our Church leads to a highly religiously educated membership and forms the backbone of future volunteer Church leadership and service at every level,” Elder Ballard said.
Adapted from “Missions Have Lifelong Impact,” at newsroom.lds.org.
Photograph courtesy of Ron and Rose Harvey
Photograph courtesy of Ron and Rose Harvey
Sister Ruth Faust Dies
Sister Ruth Wright Faust, 86, passed away surrounded by family on February 10, 2008, from causes incident to age, six months after the death of her husband, President James E. Faust, formerly of the First Presidency.
Sister Faust was born on April 11, 1921, to Elmer Wright and Elizabeth Hamilton Wright. President and Sister Faust married in the Salt Lake Temple on April 21, 1943, and raised five children. They have 25 grandchildren and 28 great-grandchildren.
She served in many callings, including ward and stake Relief Society president, and accompanied her husband around the world, coming to love members from many cultures.
President and Sister Faust were among the first official Church representatives in China when they accompanied the Brigham Young University Young Ambassadors there in 1979. They also came to love the people in Brazil, where they lived while President Faust presided over the Church in South America.
Earthquake Response Continues as Members Rebuild Homes in Peru
Hope spreads quickly as members join together in building homes and reestablishing livelihoods after the magnitude-8 earthquake that devastated southern Peru on August 15, 2007.
Shortly after the quake, Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles visited Peru and said long-term aid would continue even after immediate needs were met. “We will be there,” he said. “The members want to help.”
The transition to long-term aid includes plans to rebuild approximately 400 homes. The homeowners will provide much of the labor by clearing debris from their land and working on their own homes while offering service on others’ homes as well. The Church will provide the construction materials and offer building expertise.
The earthquake left entire communities in southwest Peru, including Pisco, Ica, and Chincha, in ruins. The Church’s immediate response provided 10,000 blankets and other emergency supplies. Continued efforts offered more than 40,000 pounds (18,000 kg) of supplies, surgical instruments, food, and hygiene kits. Additionally, four Church meetinghouses in Pisco were opened as shelters for displaced people.
While the Church’s quick response to provide for immediate needs relieved suffering, the members’ efforts to join together to rebuild homes now reflect an application of welfare principles.
“Under the direction of the Area Presidency, the people are organizing themselves, working together, and making use of available resources,” said Brett Bass, project manager of Church Humanitarian Services. “They are truly helping themselves and offering a great example of what the welfare program can be.”
Reconstructing homes is the first of the long-term plans that have been developed to help quake victims. Others include instituting health education and providing employment assistance to those who have lost jobs.
Church Increasing Self-Reliance in Cambodia
Partnering with the Center for Study and Development of Cambodian Agriculture (CEDAC), a local nongovernmental agency in Cambodia, the Church is working to improve the lives of 7,000 families and help them rise out of poverty.
Small farmers are learning a new method of cultivating rice—the system of rice intensification (SRI) that increases production more than 200 percent. The Benson Institute Family Food Program, under the umbrella of Humanitarian Services, is responsible for the three-year Cambodia project.
Currently more than 2,000 farmers in 100 villages have learned the new method of planting rice. None of the families in the food production program are members of the Church.
For hundreds of years these small farmers have raised rice the same way, by planting and flooding their small plots of land. Now they are learning how to grow the rice in a dry field. This method has more than doubled the farmers’ yields, giving them a much larger harvest to sell at market. Production costs have been reduced as well.
The Church is also helping to improve the people’s nutrition. Families in these villages usually survive on rice and any fish they can catch. They are now learning how to plant personal vegetable gardens and how to raise chickens. The villagers, who sometimes catch eels and frogs to eat, are now also learning how to breed these animals for a consistent supply of protein.
Another aspect of this program is the education of families in modern hygiene and health practices.
Church Aid Programs Saving Lives Worldwide
One of the central pillars of the humanitarian aid program of the Church—training medical staff and birth attendants how to resuscitate oxygen-deprived babies at birth—has saved the lives of more than 400,000 infants in developing countries.
Neonatal resuscitation training is just one of the major initiatives on which Church Humanitarian Services focuses. Others are water projects, wheelchair distribution, and vision treatment training.
According to Humanitarian Services, courses designed to instruct medical professionals and birth attendants how to reduce infant deaths caused by birth asphyxia (lack of oxygen) were taught in 23 countries in 2007.
In a six-month time period last year, 176 neonatal resuscitation medical personnel were trained in Ukraine alone.
“When just one physician is trained, he or she will go on to train others, which in the long run turns into thousands of lives being saved,” Dean Walker, manager of major initiatives for Humanitarian Services, said.
The humanitarian initiative program is carried out largely by volunteers. In the case of neonatal resuscitation, doctors, nurses, therapists, and other specialized medical professionals take time out of their regular schedules to train those in other countries.
With the close of 2007, year-end figures for Humanitarian Services show major activity in several areas of emphasis in addition to the work of saving babies at birth.
Some 950,000 people benefited from clean water projects, 60,537 wheelchairs were distributed, and 9,100 people received vision treatment.
A 2007 year-end review by Humanitarian Services also shows that the Church’s relief efforts for those areas affected by the 2004 tsunami were continuing three years later. The Church has assisted in building 16 schools, 902 homes, and 3 community centers. Victims were given new equipment, such as sewing machines and fishing boats, to provide jobs for local people. Hospitals were given vital medical equipment, and schools received computers.
© 2007 Intellectual Reserve, Inc., all rights reserved
In the News
Worldwide Leadership Training Materials Available
The text of the February 9, 2008, Worldwide Leadership Training Meeting for all adult members of the Church on raising a righteous posterity will be published as a self-contained booklet and shipped with the June 2008 Ensign and Liahona magazines. The booklet will be available in 23 languages.
Text in 77 languages is also available on LDS.org. The broadcast will be made available on DVD in 16 languages through distribution centers.
March Special Issue Cover Art Available
The art used on the cover of the March 2008 Liahona and Ensign special issue on the Savior is available in three sizes through distribution centers worldwide and on LDScatalog.com.
The depiction of Jesus Christ by Carl Heinrich Bloch (detail from Christ with Boy) will be available as a 5”x7” print (item no. 06642-000), an 8”x10” print (item no. 06643-000); and an 11”x17” print (item no. 06641-000).
Danish Painter Carl Bloch (1834–1890) was commissioned in 1866 to create 23 new paintings for the restored Frederiksborg Castle chapel. The assignment to illustrate the life of Christ took nearly 14 years.
Portuguese Triple Available Online
Portuguese-speaking members of the Church can now study the LDS triple combination on the Internet. The Portuguese version of the LDS Scriptures Internet Edition with footnotes, study helps, maps, photographs, and the ability to mark scriptures was released in February 2008 at http://scriptures.lds.org/pt.
Downloadable compressed audio files of the scriptures in Portuguese were placed online in 2007. English, French, German, Italian, and Spanish text versions of the triple are also online.
Disabilities Web Site Offers Resources
A new section of LDS.org, disability.lds.org, has been created to offer orientation, support, comfort, and an increased level of acceptance toward those with disabilities.
Individuals with a disability and their caregivers, leaders, teachers, and members of their ward or branch may find greater understanding of specific disabilities and some of the difficulties faced by those involved. The site also answers frequently asked questions, lists available materials, and provides links to other helpful sites.
Joy and Pain of Adoption
I want to thank you from the depths of my heart for the article on adoption in the January 2008 Ensign. My wife and I have applied with two adoption agencies and have since experienced the joys and pains and heartache that are all involved with adoption. One of the hurdles we never expected was the lack of education of family and friends regarding adoption. Some have been very supportive, while others we expected to be supportive have not been.
The article on adoption was extremely well-written and expressed many of the feelings and desires we have had along the way, including our thoughts and feelings as we have come to understand what a spiritual journey this is. Thank you for spreading the word on what a beautiful blessing adoption is.
Thank you for the beautiful photographs included in the conference issue. The pictures of Saints from around the world attending general conference are very uplifting.
Alicia Richards, WA
The Prompting I Needed
Seeking guidance about the topic of revelation recently, I felt inspired to read the October 2007 Ensign. The article “I Will Not Leave You Comfortless” was an answer to my prayers. That article was very specific about discerning promptings and was exactly what I needed. I felt as if God put His arm around me and told me personally, “I will not leave you comfortless.” I am thankful that Heavenly Father loves me so much that He sent the Holy Ghost to prompt me to read it.
Helping Me Serve
Thanks very much for the articles you are issuing to us. I have loved reading the Ensign ever since I came on my mission. I wasn’t well equipped with the doctrine of the Church when I began serving because I had only been a member of the Church for a year and a few months. I have since learned a lot, especially by reading the Ensign.
My life has changed as I have read this magazine. I have received many blessings from reading the words of the prophet and other General Authorities, and I have been better able to keep the Spirit with me. I have also witnessed other people changing as I have improved my teaching because of these articles we get every month.
Elder Kakeeto Robert Namugera, Kenya Nairobi Mission
In the February 2008 Ensign, on page 41 of the article titled “Joseph and Emma’s Family,” the next to the last child born to the Prophet Joseph Smith and his wife, Emma, should have been listed as “the 7th son” [infant] instead of Thomas Smith.
The new FamilySearch.org Web site will allow members to print a bar-coded form at home that they can take with them to the temple to create temple ordinance cards. The January 2008 Ensign news article “New Opportunity Allows More Members to Serve,” on page 79, states the site allows members to print temple ordinance cards from home.