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Transitioning for senior missionaries: Do we have to go home?

By Darrel Hammon

For the Deseret News

Published: Monday, April 15 2013 5:10 a.m. MDT

One thing many senior couples say they want to do before, during and after their missions is to help others. Many have offered counsel for those who are thinking about going on missions or seniors who are currently serving.

The Harrises, who served in Paris, counseled, “Be flexible, loving and kind with each other and with the people you serve. Be sensitive to their cultures.”

Rebecca Christiansen, who served as a single sister in the Philippines, said, “I would advise all seniors to ask the Lord to send them where they can do the most good. Then do everything possible to make sure they accomplish their special task. We may never know what it is, or the Lord may show us if we ask.”

Perhaps the Ruckers said it best: “Senior missionary service is the best kept secret in the church.”

Many of the seniors said, “Do we have to go home?” But they returned more than satisfied with their lives and eager to share their experiences with anyone who will listen. They are happy to be with family and friends, yet many of them feel they have changed for the better and want to go again.

President Thomas S. Monson reminded “the mature brothers and sisters” in the October 2010 general conference, “… we need many, many more senior couples. … To those of you who are not yet to the season of life when you might serve a couples mission, I urge you to prepare now for the day when you and your spouse might do so. … There are few times in your lives when you will enjoy the sweet spirit and satisfaction that come from giving full-time service together in the work of the Master.”

Darrel Hammon likes being outdoors, growing things and seeing things the way they could be. He blogs at www.darrelhammon.blogspot.com. He and his wife recently returned from serving in the Caribbean Area Welfare Office.

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