First Presidency Message

The Lord Needs Missionaries


Thomas S. Monson

The Lord Needs Missionaries

Last October in general conference I called for more missionaries. Every worthy, able young man should prepare to serve a mission. Such service is a priesthood duty—an obligation the Lord expects of us who have been given so very much. Young men, I admonish you to prepare for service as a missionary. Keep yourselves clean and pure and worthy to represent the Lord. Maintain your health and strength. Study the scriptures. Where such is available, participate in seminary and institute. Familiarize yourself with the missionary handbook Preach My Gospel.

Sisters, while you do not have the same priesthood responsibility as do the young men to serve as full-time missionaries, you also make a valuable contribution as missionaries, and we welcome your service.

To the mature brothers and sisters of the Church, I remind you that the Lord needs many, many more of you to serve as full-time missionaries. If you are not yet at the season of life to serve a couples mission, I urge you to prepare now for the day when, as your circumstances allow, you and your spouse might do so. There are few times in your lives when you will enjoy the sweet spirit and satisfaction that come from giving full-time service together in the work of the Master.

Now, some of you may be shy by nature or consider yourselves inadequate to respond affirmatively to the call to serve. Remember that this is the Lord’s work, and when we are on the Lord’s errand, we are entitled to the Lord’s help. The Lord will shape the back to bear the burden placed upon it.

Others, though worthy to serve, may feel they have more important priorities. Well do I remember the Lord’s promise: “For them that honour me I will honour” (1 Samuel 2:30). None of us will honor our Heavenly Father and our Savior more than by serving as a devoted, compassionate missionary.

An example of such service was the missionary experience of Juliusz and Dorothy Fussek, who were called to fill a mission in Poland. Brother Fussek was born in Poland. He spoke the language. He loved the people. Sister Fussek was born in England and knew little of Poland and nothing of its people. Trusting in the Lord, they embarked on their assignment. The work was lonely, their task immense. A mission had not at that time been established in Poland. The assignment given the Fusseks was to prepare the way so that a mission could be established.

Did Elder and Sister Fussek despair because of the enormity of their assignment? Not for a moment. They knew their calling was from God. They prayed for His divine help, and they devoted themselves wholeheartedly to their work.

In time Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles; Elder Hans B. Ringger, then of the Seventy; and I, accompanied by Elder Fussek, met with the religious affairs minister, Adam Wopatka, of the Polish government. We heard him say, “Your church is welcome here. You may build your buildings; you may send your missionaries. This man,” pointing to Juliusz Fussek, “has served your church well. You can be grateful for his example and his work.”

Like the Fusseks, let us do what we should do in the work of the Lord. Then we can, with Juliusz and Dorothy Fussek, echo the Psalm:

“My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth.

“… He that keepeth thee will not slumber.

“Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep” (Psalm 121:2–4).

Teaching from This Message

Teaching, No Greater Call states: “Share a personal experience about how living a gospel principle has blessed your life. Invite those you teach to briefly share their own experiences” ([1999], 159). Read this message and then ask family members whom President Monson has said should serve a mission. Share personal experiences that you or others have had serving as full-time missionaries. Or share your plans to serve as a missionary in the future. Ask family members to share their plans and positive experiences.

Youth

Bike to the Future

Lots of young men prepare financially to serve a mission. In Africa part of that preparation is earning enough money for a passport. Sedrick Tshiambine earned what he needed in an enterprising way: by selling bananas from the back of a bicycle.

Sedrick lives in Luputa, Democratic Republic of Congo. He’s one of 45 young men in the Luputa district who is working to save money for a passport to go on a mission. In DR Congo a passport costs $250, which is about two-thirds the cost of building a house.

But Sedrick was undaunted. He earned his mission money by cycling 15–30 kilometers (9–19 miles) from Luputa to small villages, where he purchased bananas, then cycling back across the hot African savanna, his bike heavily laden with fruit to sell in the city. Each week he traveled about 180 kilometers (112 miles) along the sandy roads, and only once did an unbalanced load cause a tumble.

For his efforts Sedrick earned about $1.25 a week, or $65.00 a year. It took him four years to save enough to purchase his passport, but now he knows his future will include a full-time mission because he is financially ready to answer the call to serve.

Photograph by Howard Collett

Children

I’ll Prepare While I Am Young

To help children remember President Monson’s call to prepare to serve a mission, photocopy this certificate, print it from LDS.org, or make a certificate of your own for your children to sign and keep as a reminder, perhaps on their wall or in their journal.

I Will Prepare

certificate(click to view larger)

Photograph by David Newman

President Thomas S. Monson called me to prepare to serve a mission. I will:

  • Keep myself clean and pure and worthy to represent the Lord.

  • Maintain my health and strength.

  • Pray and study the scriptures.

I will prepare to serve a mission.

_______________
_______________
(signature)

Photo illustrations by Hyun Gyu Lee, Matthew Reier, and Craig Dimond