Photographs by Audrey Livingston
Serving a full-time mission is an important responsibility for priesthood holders—one that all priesthood holders should prepare for—and a wonderful opportunity for young women. Yet even after being diligent about that preparation, not everyone may be able to complete a full-time proselyting mission due to medical or other reasons.
If you’re unable to complete a full-time proselyting mission but are still worthy and willing to serve, there’s good news for you: you can fulfill the call to serve by becoming a young Church-service missionary.
Serving at Home
Church-service missions offer a variety of service opportunities that are tailored to fit the specific needs and abilities of each missionary. Almost all young Church-service missionaries live at home and serve locally in some of the following ways:
Online: teaching the gospel, providing computer support, creating web content, testing programs
Welfare facilities: working at distribution centers, canneries, bishops’ storehouses, Deseret Industries, or employment resource centers
Facilities: helping with building and landscape maintenance and repair
Seminaries, institutes, and mission offices: working in an office, at a reception desk, or with computer support
Family history: indexing and providing patron support, document preservation, and system support
If you want to serve but don’t live within reasonable commuting distance of one of these opportunities, then your bishop and stake president may help you arrange to give extended service within your community at places like libraries, senior centers, food banks, and hospitals. In rare cases, you can serve away from home while temporarily living with a grandparent, step-parent, aunt and uncle, or sibling who lives near a Church operation.
If you’d like to learn more about becoming a Church-service missionary, consider these steps:
Talk with your local priesthood leader, or email YCSM@ldschurch.org for more information.
Prayerfully consider assignments to determine one that is consistent with your time, abilities, and health.
Meet with your bishop or branch president to discuss your decision and start the Church-service missionary application process.
To watch a video about a Church-service missionary, visit lds.org/go/03YCSM and select “Opportunities for Young Adults.”
Building the Kingdom
“Men and women of mission age who are unable to serve a proselyting mission can counsel with parents and leaders to consider options for a service mission. While service missions vary in terms of assignment and length depending on the missionary’s abilities, they involve real work, real service, and real sacrifice that make a difference in building the kingdom of God on earth.”
Elder Adrián Ochoa of the Seventy, “Ye Are the Light of the World,” Ensign, Sept. 2012, 30.
“On the Team”
“We … recognize that there are some who have hoped all their lives to serve missions, but for health reasons or other impediments beyond their control, they cannot do so. We publicly and proudly salute this group. We know of your desires, and we applaud your devotion. You have our love and our admiration. You are ‘on the team’ and you always will be, even as you are honorably excused from full-time service.”
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, “We Are All Enlisted,” Ensign, Nov. 2011, 46.
Advice from a Church-Service Missionary
Elder Teague Chubak lives in Utah, USA.
I grew up in the Church, and my parents did their best to provide me with the things I needed to gain a strong testimony, such as learning how to pray and how to study the Book of Mormon and Church magazines. When I was close to missionary age, it wasn’t a question of if I would go—it was only a question of when. So when the news came from my bishop that I did not meet the medical requirements to serve a full-time mission, I was heartbroken.
Often I prayed asking why I could not fulfill my desire to be a missionary. My loving mother would remind me that a service mission was still an option, but my reply was always, “That doesn’t count.” The months went by, and even though I was old enough to serve, I remained at home. Each day, the plea “every member a missionary” rang through my mind until I eventually decided to look into a Church-service mission.
I browsed through the options and came across one that stood out to me. Through prayer I received the firm approval of the Spirit. When I talked with my bishop about it, he told me that the Lord had saved me for this Church-service mission rather than a full-time proselyting mission. I must admit that I agree with him now. The experiences and blessings surpass anything I could ever have imagined.
Soon I will complete my Church-service mission, and I want the youth of the Church to know that a mission changes lives, even if it’s a Church-service mission. If a health problem or other situation keeps you from entering the full-time mission field, it does not mean the Lord does not want your service. It just means that He needs you somewhere else.
Take it from a Church-service missionary.