When missionaries receive their calls signed by the president of the Church, the first sentence is a call to serve as a full-time missionary in the restored Church, and the second indicates an assignment to labor in a specific place or mission, Elder David A. Bednar pointed out during his priesthood session address at general conference.
“The important distinction expressed in these two sentences is essential for all of us to understand,” said Elder Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.
A missionary is not called to a place; rather, he or she is called to serve, Elder Bednar explained.
“Each mission call and assignment, or a later reassignment, is the result of revelation through the Lord’s servants,” he said. “A call to the work comes from God through the president of the Church. An assignment to one of the more than 400 missions presently operating around the world comes from God through a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, acting with the authorization of the Lord’s living prophet. The spiritual gifts of prophecy and revelation attend all mission calls and assignments.”
Elder Bednar said his greatest reason for addressing this matter in a priesthood session of general conference is what he has learned about the concern, worry and even guilt felt by some missionaries who were reassigned to a different field of labor during their time of service.
“Such reassignments sometimes are necessary,” he said, “because of events and circumstances such as physical accidents and injuries, delays and challenges in obtaining visas, political instability, creating and staffing new missions, or the evolving and ever-changing needs around the world in the work of proclaiming the gospel.”
He explained, “When a missionary is reassigned to a different field of labor, the process is precisely the same as for the initial assignment. Members of the Quorum of the Twelve seek inspiration and guidance in making all such reassignments.”
Elder Bednar said nothing affirms the reality of ongoing revelation more powerfully than seeking to discern the Lord’s will as they assign missionaries to fields of labor.
A fundamental but frequently overlooked aspect of preparing for a call to missionary work, Elder Bednar said, is summed up in three words: priesthood, temple, mission.
“Priesthood and temple blessings, both of which precede arriving in an assigned field of labor, also are necessary to fortify and strengthen us spiritually throughout our entire lives,” he said.
He admonished young men to prepare now through meaningful service to receive and magnify the oath and covenant of the Melchizedek or higher priesthood.
Holding a current limited-use temple recommend “demonstrates your worthiness, and serving others in the temple is an important part of preparing for the Melchizedek Priesthood,” he said.
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