How can the International Mission help my family?

“How can the International Mission help my family?” Ensign, Feb. 1983, 20–21

My family and I will soon be moving into an area that is part of the International Mission of the Church. How can the International Mission help us?

Edwin Q. Cannon, Jr., executive secretary, International Mission. Because of the great distances involved in the International Mission, which covers all areas of the world not part of organized stakes and missions, it is impractical, if not impossible, to carry out some of the usual Church services. Still, the International Mission tries to do everything within its power to carry out the mission of the Church, as outlined by President Spencer W. Kimball in April Conference 1981: (1) to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people; (2) to perfect the Saints; and (3) to redeem the dead. (Ensign, May 1981, p. 5.)

One way the International Mission attempts to achieve these ends is to send regular correspondence. You can expect to receive letters of instruction and encouragement that will help you feel part of the Church. Other ways the Mission can help you engage in Church activity follow.

Providing Information. If you contact the Mission office before moving, we can get acquainted with you and learn of your needs. This early contact can help us provide you with information about the country into which you are moving. We may even be able to give you the names and addresses of Church members already residing in the area. So that we can keep in touch with you and watch out for your welfare, we encourage you to have your membership records transferred to the International Mission. Our address is 50 East North Temple, Twenty-fourth Floor, Salt Lake City, Utah 84150. Correspondence may be addressed to Elder Carlos E. Asay, President of the International Mission.

Organizing Branches and Districts. The presidency authorizes the holding of meetings and the organization of branches. If yours is the only family in the area to which you move, we encourage you to have regular meetings. If a member of your family is a priest or holds the Melchizedek Priesthood, he may be authorized to administer the sacrament in such meetings. If two or more member families reside in the area, and if it is convenient for you to hold meetings together, a branch may be organized and a president called to preside over that branch. If there are two or more branches in the area, we may organize a district and call a president called to preside over the district. We may also assist you in obtaining a place of worship if the number of active members and circumstances justify such assistance.

Receiving and Accounting for Tithes and Offerings. The International Mission has the authority to receive your contributions. Send these directly to the Mission office in Salt Lake City. There, they will be accounted for, and receipts will be sent to you. You will also receive an annual statement of your tithes and offerings.

Issuing Temple Recommends. Members of the Mission Presidency conduct interviews and issue temple recommends wherever possible. But because of the great distances involved, it may be impossible to arrange an interview for you with a member of the Presidency. In this case, arrangements will be made with the president of the temple which you will be visiting to conduct the interview and issue a recommend according to approved procedure.

Assisting in Obtaining Materials. You will be given help in obtaining basic unit materials, lesson manuals, seminary home study materials, Church magazines, sacrament cups, and other materials you might need to participate as fully as possible in the Church program.

Authorizing Baptisms and Priesthood Ordinations. The Mission Presidency authorizes the baptism of eligible candidates. If a member of your family is eligible for receiving the priesthood or a new office or calling in the priesthood, the Presidency will either conduct or arrange for the interview and the ordination or setting apart.

Handling Church Judicial Procedures. Church judicial procedures are carried out as necessary by the Mission Presidency. Opportunity is given members who have transgressed to have understanding contact with the Mission Presidency in a spirit of love. If required, necessary disciplinary action is taken that will hopefully enable the transgressor to make restitution and return to full fellowship in the Church.

Arranging Visits by General Authorities. Whenever possible, and as authorized by the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve, members of the Mission Presidency and other General Authorities visit the International Mission. Such visits are usually in conjunction with other assignments to neighboring parts of the world. It may be possible for us to arrange district or multi-branch conferences to give you and the other members in your area a chance to meet General Authorities visiting your part of the International Mission. As a member of the Church living in the International Mission, you should be conscious of the very special situation in which you will find yourself. You may be the only contact with the Church that many people in that part of the world may have. It is important, therefore, that you be a good example. In a very real sense, you are on the frontiers of the Church. Your conduct may help lay the groundwork for the introduction of the Church to your area.