Elder Ernesto Sarabia wore a black missionary badge each day of his mission. But his mission assignment was unique from many others’—Elder Sarabia served as a young Church-service missionary (YCSM) in the Mexico Hermosillo Mission office.
“We recognize that it may not be wise for some of our young men and young women to face the rigors and challenges of a full-time mission,” Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles has said. But this, he said, does not mean they can’t participate in the blessings of missionary service (“One More,” Ensign, May 2005, 69).
Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said, “A mission is a voluntary act of service to God and humankind” (“Ask the Missionaries! They Can Help You!” Liahona, Nov. 2012, 18), and there are many ways of offering that service.
For those who are honorably excused from serving full-time proselyting missions, or for those who must return home early for various reasons, the YCSM program can provide meaningful mission experiences.
Requirements to Serve
YCSMs must be physically, mentally, spiritually, and emotionally able to perform the duties of their calling, to which they are carefully matched.
YCSM assignments vary from 6 to 24 months and can range from serving a couple of days a week to working full time. There are opportunities to serve in the community as well as from home. Potential YCSM assignments include family history research, information technology, mission office assistants, bishops’ storehouses, and more.
Family and Priesthood Support
Parents, priesthood leaders, and Church members can help potential YCSMs prepare to serve missions.
Sister Eliza Joy Young’s family has been a strong support for her, driving her to and from the Church offices in Sydney, Australia.
Elder Michael Hillam, who works in the Hong Kong Distribution Center, said, “My early morning seminary teachers and Young Men leaders helped me prepare.”
Sacrifice Brings Blessings
Sister Young sacrificed her days off from her part-time job to serve a Church-service mission. She said, “I feel closer to my Heavenly Father knowing I am helping Him.”
In addition to spiritual blessings, serving a Church-service mission gives young missionaries valuable social and professional opportunities. “My mission has shown me that I am able to work in open employment,” Sister Young said. (She had previously worked only in assisted employment.)
Though not all young adults who would like to serve may be able to, great effort is made to accommodate every worthy young adult. Young men and women who would like to serve in this way can talk to their bishop or branch president, who can find appropriate opportunities for them.
Read more at news.lds.org by searching “young church-service missionaries.”