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..