“Dear LDS Senior couples – where are you?! We Need You!!”
That is the desperate cry coming from hundreds of mission fields around the world. But, for some reason the plea is not getting heard & answered! In fact, it’s reached crises proportion.
And, now it’s personal.
So, today I’m doing my small part to raise awareness. If you’re reading, I believe you’re here for a purpose. I pray the Holy Spirit will touch your heart, and you will feel impressed how to act, serve, or help spread the word.
Did you know…
There has been a 30% drop in Senior missionary couple applications since last year.
Shocking? Yes. But 100% true!!
Ever since the historic age requirement change, younger aged missionaries applying and serving have sent statistics soaring off the charts! And yet, now we learn during the same time period, numbers of our senior couples have been tragically and exponentially “dwindling”!
These statistics are especially disconcerting considering that right now the Baby Boomer generation has reached its peak for missionary-aged service.
In other words: There’s never been MORE LDS Seniors in the history of the church potentially eligible to serve, and yet…
“At this point we have over 100 mission offices without senior missionaries (couples or single sisters) and the number grows daily. Many more couples are returning home than are departing. The number of senior missionaries is declining.”
– excerpt, letter from the LDS Church Office missionary department to my parents who are serving as a full-time senior couple, May 2014
Called To Serve
Mom and Dad have been serving in the Santa Rosa California mission ten months as of this week! Wow, how time has flown since they opened their mission call! They couldn’t be happier. And when your parents are so incredibly happy, it’s incredibly “contagious” for the whole family. Oh, how they love their mission! Oh, how we love that they love their mission! Their joy and enthusiasm is such a blessing. We look forward to their weekly letters, fun updates, and inspiring messages of faith and encouragement.
But, over the past few months their letters have included one troubling theme. The missionary couples serving in the office are ending their months of service (several having extended their time of service) and there is no one to replace them! The workload has climbed impossibly higher and higher for those who remain.
“When we came there were 3 full time missionary couples in the [Mission] office counting ourselves. In January the Kinney’s our housing couple finished their mission and were not replaced. A local couple came forward and asked to serve and were able to give us 2 days a week. So we have soldiered on with two couples and a part time couple. Now the Winders will finish their mission on May 19th and Salt Lake has told us that they will not be able to replace them due to the fact that senior missionary couples applications are down 30% this year in comparison to last year. … There is just no way that we can do their job and ours. Both jobs require a very full time (plus!) couples. . . . We need your prayers!
Remember, we have a senior couple who are serving their 7th mission and we got to celebrate his 85th birthday last month! If he can do it we all can!!
– excerpts, Mom’s mission letter, April 20, 2014
Senior Couples Get Family Time!
This past weekend our family had a joyous brief reunion when Mom & Dad flew home to attend my youngest brother’s wedding.
We spent three glorious days together before they hurried back to their mission duties.
Did you know senior missionaries can do things like that?
Yep. Sure can! Senior couples and single senior sisters have a lot less restrictions than younger missionaries. Visits with family and friends [to and from the mission] are not only allowed but encouraged. They can also send emails or call home whenever they want (within reason & at their own expense of course). Those are just some of the many ‘perks’ of being Senior missionaries.
LDS Church policy changes for senior missionary couples
(effective 1 September 2011):
*Couples can now serve 6-month missions (in addition to 12, 18 and 23 months)
*Couples can serve internationally for less than 18 months (6 or 12 months) if they pay for their travel to and from their missions
*Couples may, at their own expense, take a short leave of absence from their missions (normally no longer than 7-10 days) to return home for a critical family event
*Couples will pay no more than $1,400 for housing costs (rent, utilities and furnishings). This does not mean that the total cost of the mission is only $1,400 per month. Couples are also responsible for personal expenses (food, medical, insurance, internet, phone, etc.) and transportation costs within the mission
*Missions or area administration offices will locate and secure appropriate housing that is safe, clean, modestly furnished and economical before couples arrive in the field
*Couples are not expected to follow the same schedule of work hours and missionary activities as young single missionaries
*Couples may communicate with their families more frequently than is outlined for young single missionaries
Oh, dear Seniors – if only each of you knew how much you have to offer and how incredibly blessed your life and the lives of your family will be for your service, then you would be running, not walking to get out the door and into the mission that the Lord has prepared and is waiting just for you!
“We are a missionary church. That is the nature of our ministry. We have responsibility to reach out to all the living and all the dead.
“And so our message to all of our mature couples is simple: we dearly need you. We are doing everything we can to make it as convenient as possible for you to go. The Lord promises unlimited blessings to his servants in the vineyard. So please — go. The times cry out for it. There are people who need you.
“Please — go.”
– Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, LDS Church Desperately Needs More Senior Missionaries, Sept. 14, 2011
ARE YOU CONSIDERING SERVING? … PLEASE DON’T DELAY! TALK TO YOUR BISHOP TODAY! THERE’S A MISSION ANXIOUSLY WAITING FOR YOU!!!
Visit The FULL-TIME SENIOR MISSIONARIES PAGE
There are so many unique ways to serve & customized opportunities to change lives forever for good (including your own)!
“it’s the greatest joy you could ever imagine!”
You don’t have to have perfect health. You don’t have to have a lot of money (in fact, Mom and Dad discovered they are SAVING money by serving) … you don’t even have to leave your home! If you desire to serve, don’t wait to be asked…just call your bishop!
TIP: In case you are looking for the very ‘best’ mission in the whole wide world, and getting the chance to work with the very “best of the best” of mission presidents, missionaries and senior couples, why not request the Santa Rosa CA Mission on your paperwork?! 😉
[Yep, Seniors can make requests]
Be an answer to a prayer! – MoSop
What a wonderful message! We hope you and your family are blessed for the talent and love that went into presenting this. We love Ray and Linda and pray for them every day.
Tim & Sharon Treu
Most babyboomers I know are not able to retire yet because of depleted retirement accounts due to the current economic state in this country. No retirement. No mission. Its thats simple. Sadly, it
might take years to reverse
the trend. In the meantime put the young missionaries to work in non-traditional ways. They will still be serving.
My wife and I have wanted to go on a mission but the forms and requirements are so complicated. We have a motorhome and can operate in climates 32 degrees F and above with hookups. Six month missions would be great. We have been temple workers also.
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Hello Michael, I hope that you and your wife will not let the forms and requirements stop you from serving! You are so very needed!! Please reach out to your bishop and stake president for assistance, visit the official website https://www.lds.org/callings/missionary?lang=eng&_r=1 and you may also contact the senior missionary department via phone 1-800-453-3860 x2-6741
My husband and I served a temple mission in a foreign country. We met some wonderful people, other senior missionaries a well as church members. However, our schedules were hard (mine was actually abusive) and we didn’t enjoy every day. The temple president we were under had been a mission president previously, and during a senior missionary conference he held before we left to come home, he tried to impose the same rules on the senior missionaries that he imposed on his 19-21 yr old missionaries. Needless to say, this went over like the proverbial “lead balloon.” My advice to any future senior missionaries is to try to interview temple presidents or mission presidents you might be interested in serving with and find out how they treat their senior missionaries and what rules, if any, they will impose on you.
Hello Sister, thank you for your service and for overcoming many challenges. You bring up a valid point that not all missions are the same, nor created equal in job duties and expectations. The good news is that unlike younger missionaries, Senior missionaries DO have many options and choices to serve!
Great need and program for seniors, but about $1,400. plus monthly is about my wife’s medical and prescription costs – and we have little above that.- others seem to be in similar situation – what’s a senior to do in these difficult economic times that is quickly depleting the gold in the golden years?
Gary, if you and your wife desire to serve, there is financial help available. There are also missions that you can serve while living in your own home. Please talk to your Bishop and learn more at the Church mission website. https://www.lds.org/callings/missionary/?lang=eng&_r=1 We have seen first hand that the Lord blesses those who serve in countless ways, including financially and physically. And He also will bless your family members.
Gary: Your Branch/Ward/Stake May Help You With The Cost.–If It’s Done So With The Younger Full-Time Missionaries It Should Apply To Your Circumstances As Well.–I Helped Support A Full-Time Female Missionary In 2016, 2017 And 2018, And Countless Other Missionaries Since Serving My Mission In 1972…
Hi there – I know that I am “late” to the party here. But, I can speak from personal experience as to why there are few of a certain “type” of senior missionaries out in the field. That is Senior Sister missionaries. Look at lds.org at the Senior Missionary page. Not a single senior sister in sight. Lots of videos of happy couples. Look at the attached articles – no mention of senior sisters – only an insistence that “we need COUPLES”. Look at the weekly publication put out. Limited opportunities for older women and usually a (LIMITED AVAILABILITY) even on those.
While I understand and appreciate that for some callings and fields a couple is preferable (and sometimes necessary) – there are many more that an active, healthy, engage senior sister could manage. But, there is a not-so-subtle message of “we don’t need you – unless you have a husband.” I run marathons, am working on a MSc in Information Security from the University of Oxford, run my small hobby farm with goats, chickens, dogs, etc. by myself. Am considered an expert in embedded device cybersecurity and speak and attend expert workshops around the world. I take no medications and have absolutely no health issues. BUT – I am 65 years old.
So – the Church seems to think I am confined to a rocking chair, knitting! It’s sad. I have so much energy and am willing to take time from work to fulfill a mission and there is so little encouragement and/or support. If you want more senior missionaries – maybe you should try encouraging healthy, happy, engaged senior sisters! You might just be surprised at the positive response!
Hi Sofia, thanks for joining the “party” – welcomed at any time! 🙂 I appreciate your comments and your concerns. Please rest assured that single senior Sisters ARE needed, and there are missions available for you! I personally know several retired single sisters who are currently serving full-time missions. I agree with you, it would be helpful for the website to offer more publicity about this. If you go to this link, scroll to Next Steps and click on “Learn About Current Opportunities” you will be able to read the most recent publication of senior missionary options and needs.
Toward the very front of the booklet there is an entire page devoted to “Senior Sisters [Age 40+]”. This gives all of the details. Service length is 12, 18 or 23 months. There are many details about the cost, requirements and the different kind of assignments available, as well as how to begin your application process!
If you have a desire to serve, you are needed and the Lord has a call for you!
If You Think “Senior-Age” Sisters Have A Struggle, Then Think About All The Single “Senior-Age” Brethren??
Thank you for putting this together! I just came across it today and shared the video with my facebook friends. I was just called to serve as a single sister in London for 18 months. Can’t wait!
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That’s wonderful Michelle! Congratulations on your call, and thank you for serving!
WE ARE CURRENTLY SERVING A TEMPLE MISSION IN A FOREIGN COUNTRY.
AS OTHER COUPLE MISSIONARIES, WE HAVE OUR NAME BLACK TAG FOR WHEN WE ARE OUTSIDE OF THE TEMPLE.
OUR WHITE TAG IS REGULAR AS ALL OTHER WORKERS WITH NAME AND LAST NAME, WITHOUT ANY IDENTIFICATION THAT MENTION WE ARE MISSIONARIES.
MANY TIMES MEMBERS NOTICE MY ACCENT AND ASK WHY I’M LIVING IN THEIR COUNTRY. AND I NEED TO EXPLAIN IT IS BECAUSE WE ARE MISSIONARIES.
ALSO, MANY WORKERS DON’T CARE ABOUT US AND EVEN DON’T KNOW WE ARE MISSIONARIES. IT MAKES ME SAD THAT I HAVE THE MISSIONARY TAG JUST WHEN I LIVE THE TEMPLE TO CROSS THE PARKING LOT OR GOING SHOPING.
I REMEMBER MY IN LAWS SERVING AS TEMPLE MISSIONARIES, LONG AGO, AND THEIR WHITE TAGS WERE LIKE: SISTER (last name) AND THEN “MISSIONARY” ON THE BOTTOM.
I TOLD MY HUSBAND THAT I FEEL LIKE WHEN I WAS SERVING AS TEMPLE WORKER AND THE ONLY DIFFERENCE, WE WORK MORE SHIFTS… SO WE COULD STAY HOME AND JUST ADD MORE SHIFTS TO WORK IN OUR OWN TEMPLE !
HAS IT CHANGED, OR THE PROBLEM IS WITH THIS TEMPLE ?
Thank you so much for your missionary service Sister Costa!
This is the first time I’ve ever heard about the different name tags for Temple Missionaries. It makes sense that you would wear a white tag inside the temple, but you have some very valid concerns. I would suggest that you speak to your mission president, or the temple president about your frustrations and perhaps they could find a solution for you.
Thank you again for your service! You are LOVED and your efforts are Greatly NEEDED!! ♥