14 Sep 2014

A Stake Presidents Thoughts



Only a Stake President is authorized to Set Apart a missionary. I have asked our Stake President to share some thoughts on his responsibility to set apart and his involvement in Missionary Preparation....


"Let me first say, it is an honour and a privilege to be given this sacred responsibility to set apart these wonderful full time missionaries. This is one of those special times as a Stake President, when you lay your hands upon the head of the individual, to set them apart as a missionary of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day saints assigned to labour in the mission that the individual has been assigned. To know you are bestowing this authority on behalf of the Lord to send these missionaries into the world to proclaim the gospel and to be at the forefront of the work of salvation is also very humbling. You recognise these are special servants of the Lord who are willing to commit to giving 12 to 24 months of their own time and dedicating that time of their life to the Lord in fulfilling the call they have received in the mission they will serve. 

Those missionaries who I have set apart come from so many different backgrounds and circumstances. Their life experiences have been varied, from those who are in their late teens to our more senior members who have reached retirement age. Some of those who I have set apart have been members all their life and always knew that they wanted to serve a mission, others have been converts themselves, who may have been a member only for little over a year. Yet others, have been those members who have lapsed in their church activity but a change has taken place again in their lives and they have felt a desire to serve a mission on their return to church activity. It is always a special and sacred time at a setting apart of a missionary, and it is always wonderful to see the support and love of family and friends at such settings, it can also be quite an emotional time with many tears shed, particularly by Mum, Dad and other family members. 

 We have missionaries serving from the England Ashton Stake in North America, Europe and Africa, mostly serving like the missionaries you see walking up and down your road or you see on a bus, you may have been engaged in a conversation yourself with them. We have even have a sister serving in the family history department in Salt Lake City!! 

Our members have an opportunity to serve in so many different types of missionary work, but to have a desire to do so in itself is not enough, Bishops and Stake Presidents need to know that these missionaries are prepared and we have to ensure their worthiness and other factors such as health, in order for us to recommend them for missionary service. 

Let me say that I have a testimony that the Lord through those who he has called to make these missionary assignments is in Charge!!! I know the individuals mission call is from the Lord revealed through his servants. As I set apart each missionary and give them a priesthood blessing, I know and feel that the Lord reveals that which each individual should know and feel themselves about their particular mission assignment. The Lord knows those who he calls!!! I am not sure who will be reading this, but let me commend these missionaries to you, they are just ordinary people who love the Lord and are performing an extraordinary work in sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ. Next time you bump into any of our missionaries, perhaps you could give them 15 minutes to listen to the message they have to share, it may just change you life forever." 
President Kevin Fletcher


Once submitted to the church Headquarters the missionary committee determine where missionaries should serve. This decisions are made in a weekly meeting presided over by an Apostle. The following article is taken from an address given by church leader Ronald A. Rasband.. 

"With the encouragement and permission of President Henry B. Eyring, I would like to relate to you an experience, very special to me, which I had with him several years ago when he was a member of the Quorum of the Twelve. Each Apostle holds the keys of the kingdom and exercises them at the direction and assignment of the President of the Church. Elder Eyring was assigning missionaries to their fields of labor, and as part of my training, I was invited to observe.
I joined Elder Eyring early one morning in a room where several large computer screens had been prepared for the session. There was also a staff member from the Missionary Department who had been assigned to assist us that day.
First, we knelt together in prayer. I remember Elder Eyring using very sincere words, asking the Lord to bless him to know “perfectly” where the missionaries should be assigned. The word “perfectly” said much about the faith that Elder Eyring exhibited that day.
As the process began, a picture of the missionary to be assigned would come up on one of the computer screens. As each picture appeared, to me it was as if the missionary were in the room with us. Elder Eyring would then greet the missionary with his kind and endearing voice: “Good morning, Elder Reier or Sister Yang. How are you today?”
He told me that in his own mind he liked to think of where the missionaries would conclude their mission. This would aid him to know where they were to be assigned. Elder Eyring would then study the comments from the bishops and stake presidents, medical notes, and other issues relating to each missionary.
He then referred to another screen which displayed areas and missions across the world. Finally, as he was prompted by the Spirit, he would assign the missionary to his or her field of labor.
From others of the Twelve, I have learned that this general method is typical each week as Apostles of the Lord assign scores of missionaries to serve throughout the world.
Having served as a missionary in my own country in the Eastern States Mission a number of years ago, I was deeply moved by this experience. Also, having served as a mission president, I was grateful for a further witness in my heart that the missionaries I had received in New York City were sent to me by revelation.
After assigning a few missionaries, Elder Eyring turned to me as he pondered one particular missionary and said, “So, Brother Rasband, where do you think this missionary should go?” I was startled! I quietly suggested to Elder Eyring that I did not know and that I did not know I could know! He looked at me directly and simply said, “Brother Rasband, pay closer attention and you too can know!” With that, I pulled my chair a little closer to Elder Eyring and the computer screen, and I did pay much closer attention!
A couple of other times as the process moved along, Elder Eyring would turn to me and say, “Well, Brother Rasband, where do you feel this missionary should go?” I would name a particular mission, and Elder Eyring would look at me thoughtfully and say, “No, that’s not it!” He would then continue to assign the missionaries where he had felt prompted.
As we were nearing the completion of that assignment meeting, a picture of a certain missionary appeared on the screen. I had the strongest prompting, the strongest of the morning, that the missionary we had before us was to be assigned to Japan. I did not know that Elder Eyring was going to ask me on this one, but amazingly he did. I rather tentatively and humbly said to him, “Japan?” Elder Eyring responded immediately, “Yes, let’s go there.” And up on the computer screen the missions of Japan appeared. I instantly knew that the missionary was to go to the Japan Sapporo Mission.
Elder Eyring did not ask me the exact name of the mission, but he did assign that missionary to the Japan Sapporo Mission.
Privately in my heart I was deeply touched and sincerely grateful to the Lord for allowing me to experience the prompting to know where that missionary should go.
At the end of the meeting Elder Eyring bore his witness to me of the love of the Savior, which He has for each missionary assigned to go out into the world and preach the restored gospel. He said that it is by the great love of the Savior that His servants know where these wonderful young men and women, senior missionaries, and senior couple missionaries are to serve. I had a further witness that morning that every missionary called in this Church, and assigned or reassigned to a particular mission, is called by revelation from the Lord God Almighty through one of these, His servants."
Elder Ronald D. Rasband

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