Friday, May 1, 2015

“Y” is for Young (and not so Young) Missionaries.

After these things the Lord appointed other seventy also, and sent the two and two before his face into every city and place, whither he himself would come.1YAndrea Maccaferri's baptism June 1978 001 (2)I’m pretty sure that most of you have probably seen at least one couple of LDS missionaries during your lifetime, unless you live in an area where proselyting is prohibited. And you can see them even in some of those countries where they depend mostly on information provided by members of the Church. The missionaries are those young men dressed in suits and wearing white shirts, ties, nametags and short hair.In most cities, they also ride on bicycles. In the first city I served in during my mission in Italy, Gorizia, back in 1977, they were known as the white flies because of the way they flew through traffic on their bicycles.

When I was a missionary the larger part of the missionaries serving around the world were young men, although there was also a small number of Sister missionaries and married couples. At the time, it was expected that young men served a full-time mission lasting two years, whereas sister missionaries and married couples were happily accepted, although not expected, to serve eighteen-month missions. Young men leaving on missions were usually nineteen years old, while sisters had to be at least 21 before they left. Married couples were eligible for serving as couples after they no longer had children living at home.

Now, young men can leave on missions after their eighteenth birthday, while young women can leave at nineteen. The percentage of young women going on missions has increased greatly, and I’m very  glad that there is a couple of sister missionaries here—they buoy me up when I feel like I’m about to sink under with despair. The married missionaries serve in a variety of areas. Right now, the couple serving in our center – both professional nurses (see “Women in the church”) – are in charge of the medical needs of all missionaries in our particular mission. They also serve in temples, in the Church Education System, etc.

Missionaries leave their families, friends, studies and their daily lives to serve the Lord for eighteen months to two years, to bring untold blessings in the lives of those they encounter, just as the missionaries that Jesus sent out when He was on the Earth.

1Luke 10:1

© Mary Purpari. May 1, 2015. All Rights Reserved.