Most mornings we start our day with a short devotional time (15 min) with just the 30+ missionaries who are assigned to our zone. (Song, scripture, inspirational message and prayer)
However, on Monday mornings, we have a one-hour, mission-wide devotional. During this time we usually hear from several different missionaries. They take a few minutes each to tell us about themselves and share their testimonies.
I’m always impressed by what a diverse group we’re in!! There are senior missionaries here from Alaska, Hawaii, Australia, Ireland, Japan, Cuba, Canada, American Samoa, Russia, Armenia, and more — as well as from all across the continental U.S. And, their backgrounds are just as diverse as their locations.
- One sister told us that she got her pilot license before she turned 15!
- One elder was the mayor of his town before coming out.
- We loved meeting one sister who is here from Brisbane, Australia.
- One couple we know — both served as EMTs before their mission.
- Another sister said she’d never been outside Missouri until she came on this mission!
- I loved the story one sister told who is an adult convert. She said she had always been what she described as “spiritually curious.” She remembered that when she was about 6 or 7 years old, she asked her mother if she was sure they were in the right church. It was years later before she understood why her mother got so upset with her question and told her never to ask such a question again. Her father was a Lutheran minister! LOL.
- And, finally, though there are many stories, I was touched by something one sister shared. She said she and her husband had 8 children, and the budget was always tight, so buying life insurance was just something they always put off. However, one week, day after day, they kept getting flyers in the mail advertising life insurance. After a few days, she thought, “Maybe the Lord is trying to tell me something.” So, she prayed about it and asked Heavenly Father if they should buy a life insurance policy for her husband. The answer she got was an immediate and emphatic, “Yes.” Then, because the answer was so strong, she asked if her husband was going to die. This answer was also “yes” but, she said it almost felt like the heavens opened to her and she was surprised because she wasn’t sad or upset, but was happy for her husband for what he was going to experience. (She said it felt weird and wrong to feel happy when you find out your husband is going to die. – which, of course, it would.) The other part of the revelation was that she was told she was not allowed to tell her husband. So, she moved forward from there, not having any idea how long he would live, but, making the most of what time they had left. He lived for one year after she received that revelation. And, she expressed her profound gratitude that the Lord gave her that knowledge ahead of time and gave them that year together. (A rare gift!)
Of course, we hear from the young elders, too. Since all of them (in our mission) struggle with some type of disability, it is very sweet to hear their testimonies. We especially enjoyed hearing from Elder James Stephens (great-nephew of our former stake patriarch) who is here from NC. He shared a remarkable testimony.
A lot of the senior missionaries we serve with are close in age to us, though some are older. Some must deal with varying states of health. A few have physical limitations such as having to use a cane or even a motorized chair to get around, and, yet, they are here. It is inspiring to see the cheerful service they render in spite of the challenges.