In 1747, a teenage James Cook moved to the port town of Whitby in the northeast of England. Life in Whitby and the lure of the open sea eventually led Cook to become a decorated Navy captain and famous explorer responsible for charting such places as New Zealand, the east coast of Australia, and the Arctic Circle.
Living and growing up in the same coastal town, another teenager named James, 15-year-old James Hankin, is charting his own plans for travel and greatness. James desires to serve a full-time mission and has been preparing for the last six years. James has a lot of support in achieving this goal. His father, Blair, knows about missionary service, having served his mission in Haiti. And Blair returned there to donate service after the recent earthquakes.
When asked about his dad’s service in Haiti, James says, “He served his mission over there, so he can speak Creole. I’m really impressed. Basically, he’s working with an orphanage, taking medical supplies to them. I’m hoping I can actually go this summer.” The toy shop where James works part-time has also donated toys and supplies to be sent to the children of Haiti.
Service and missionary work are serious business for the Hankins. James’s mum started a missionary savings account for him when he was young. “I’m happy that my parents are helping me go on a mission,” James says, but he doesn’t leave all the saving to his parents. James has made considerable contributions to this account. Not only does he work Saturdays on Whitby Pier in a toy shop, but he also helps his sister and dad on a daily paper round (paper route). He delivers leaflets each month, and to top that off, he also offers to deliver leaflets for the local businesses in his area.
Of his missionary fund, James says, “I’ve got about 3,000 pounds [approximately 4,557 U.S. dollars] already saved up. And that’s by going to people I know and asking if they want leaflets delivered.”
Finances are only one aspect to James’s missionary preparation, along with scripture study, praying, and a lot of exercise thanks to many Young Men sport activities. The young men in the Scarborough ward go on regular visits with the missionaries. The Scarborough ward recently had a missionary service night where all the members of the ward went to a neighbouring village and knocked on doors for a few hours.
Along with being involved in the ward missionary efforts, James has enjoyed seminary this year. “I get a lot of support from the students and teachers. I do early morning study via computer rather than going to a house because we are quite spread out,” said James. The use of computers, Web-cameras, and online calling services is essential for the Scarborough/Bridlington seminary class. “If we did it without the computers, some of us would travel 30–45 minutes there and back every morning,” James explained. “We use Web-cam conference calls so we can all talk to and see each other and the teacher can see us. Our area is so big that this helps.” James appreciates the effort the ward goes to for all the youth to have seminary.
“I like Samuel preaching from the wall while the people fired arrows, rocks, and spears.” James said. “He had the bravery and courage to get on the wall and not be hit.” James hopes to emulate that bravery, courage, and faith as he follows in the footsteps of his father and other missionaries who faithfully went to serve the Lord on a full-time mission. Charting that voyage to success is all part of the plan.