Putting Your Talents to Work
July 1985

“Putting Your Talents to Work,” Ensign, July 1985, 31

Putting Your Talents to Work

Examples of what some missionary couples have done.

Missionary couples do many wonderful things, and the testimony, knowledge, experience, and wisdom they possess is needed in virtually all of the missions of the Church. Wherever they serve, the Church is stengthened and the members are blessed. For example:

One such couple was called to serve in Canada. During their meetings on their first Sunday, they introduced themselves. While doing so, the elder referred to his wife as his “sweetheart of forty-one years.”

In that congregation were some couples who were having marital difficulties. Because they had the chance to see in the ensuing months what a happy marriage could really be like, they were influenced to change their lives. One of them later said to this missionary couple, “Do you know why you were sent to this mission? It was to save our marriage.”

Just by being there and showing love for each other, they were able to exert a wonderful influence.

Another couple from northern California served their mission in Bolivia. In one small Indian community the people had to carry water from a spring high on a slope some 1,400 meters away. It was very laborious to carry water so far day after day, and it presented serious sanitation problems.

The missionary couple was assigned to supervise a project to pipe water from the spring. The elder engineered the project and organized the members and nonmembers into work groups. Within weeks the community had dug a trench across the rocky Altiplano soil. PVC pipe was then placed in the trench, connecting the spring to a simple water faucet in the center of the village—the only faucet in the entire community.

The whole community turned out for the ribbon-cutting ceremony. The nonmembers were very friendly toward the Church and grateful for the opportunity and resources to progress. And the missionary couple, who lost themselves in the work, commented, “This is the highlight of our mission.”

Another missionary couple was called and assigned to a branch that was so inactive that it was about to be disbanded. The Church had a very poor image in that area in the U.S.

The elder was a member of the Lions Club in his hometown, had served as a city administrator, and was an expert gardener. So he and his wife got acquainted with the local Lions Club, and the elder was invited to speak at one of their regular meetings. He talked about who they were and why they were there, and he also mentioned their need for a building.

After the meeting, those present introduced themselves and offered to help in any way they could. One of them featured the missionaries in his newspaper which had 15,000 subscribers. They were also invited to participate in a television interview and were able to answer many questions about the Church and about genealogy.

Because the elder was an expert gardener, he used that skill to help him activate inactive members and to interest nonmembers in the gospel message. He obtained the use of a couple of acres of ground, prepared it for planting, and then invited people to come and participate. Everyone who joined in was assigned a plot, and he showed them how to raise a garden. They all had a good harvest and said it was one of the best gardens they had ever seen in that area. Many doors were opened to the missionaries. Today that branch is thriving, and the members are well on their way to having their own meetinghouse.

Then there was the couple who took a small electronic organ to one of the islands in the South Pacific. They used it in their meetings. Since it was the only instrument of that kind on the island, the people flocked to hear it and sing with it. Even the members of other churches went to the LDS meetings because they wanted to sing with the beautiful music.

Still another couple was called to Tonga. The elder was a skilled optometrist. He took his optical instruments with him and by exercising his talents in that field made many friends, not only for himself but for future missionaries.

There are hundreds of missionary experiences like these, illustrating the many ways in which senior couples and senior single sisters can preach the gospel and strengthen the Church.

It may be that some who are in a position to fulfill a mission are worried about their ability to serve. Don’t fear. You will be called by revelation to go where your particular talents, experience, knowledge, and wisdom are most needed.

Some seniors, too, may have doubts about how their families will get along in their absence. Don’t worry; they are in the Lord’s hands. Come and serve as a missionary. They and you will be blessed forevermore.

  • Vernon and Bertha Proctor served in the Peru Lima North Mission. They are currently ordinance workers in the Salt Lake Temple and members of the Bryan Ward in Salt Lake City.

Illustrated by Dilleen Marsh