Sunday, February 26, 2017

Sacrifice Brings Forth the Blessings of Heaven

After almost two months in the mission field, I am finally beginning to grasp just how complex — and how many "moving parts" there are — in a successfully operated mission.

At last count, we have 188 young missionaries and 33 "older" missionaries serving in the Australia Melbourne Mission. Every 6 weeks we have what is called "Transfers" and many of the missionaries are moved to new geographic locations (called areas) to work with new companions. At the same time, a dozen or so of them conclude their missions and go back home, and a similar number arrive to begin their missions. Next month we will have a "net gain" of 7 or 8 new Elders and Sisters. Transfer time is a very busy time for everyone, including especially the office staff.

Some of our incredible departing missionaries (We'll miss them!)

Coordinating the activity of all of those missionaries is a massive undertaking. In addition to transfers every 6 weeks, there is housing to arrange and manage, hundreds of bills to pay and other missionary-related finances to tend to. There is the fleet of 85 vehicles and the related maintenance and repair tasks associated with all those cars, not to mention the all-too-frequent traffic accident or speeding ticket (called infringements here) to deal with.

There are baptismal records to record, referrals to manage and distribute, supplies to order and medical issues to address. And, of course, there are other administrative tasks related to things such as answering phones, coordinating travel, planning Zone Conferences, missionary phones, public transportation, and dozens more that have to be attended to every month.

A few of the cars in our fleet

Our missionary force is like the United Nations of missions. Currently, we have Elders and Sisters from 29 different countries serving in the mission!!! (In a few months it will be up to 32!) There are areas within the mission itself where the missionaries have been specifically called to teach the gospel in Chinese, Vietnamese, Samoan and, of course, English.

Similarly, Melbourne is a bit of a melting pot of cultural diversity as well. Its citizens come from many, many different countries. This is evident by (what we call) the Book of Mormon Wall in the Mission Office. We stock copies of The Book of Mormon is 77 languages!!!

Our Book of Mormon Wall

Yes, it takes a lot of resources, manpower and time (and a lot of money) to operate a mission. And the Australia Melbourne Mission is just one of 418 missions in operation throughout the world today. Last time I checked, those missions had 74,079 missionaries. And in case you didn't know, missionary work is voluntary. Missionaries fund their own missions — except for their transportation to and from their field of labor — and are not paid for their services. That's a lot of volunteer service.

For some, it may beg the question, "Why? Why would 74,079 people, young and old, take 18 months to 2 years out of their lives do this?" The answer is two-fold:

First, because Christ's church has always been and always will be a missionary church. The missionary effort is based on the New Testament pattern of missionaries serving in pairs, teaching the gospel and baptizing believers in the name of Jesus Christ. The work of Peter and John found in the book of Acts are great biblical examples of missionary work. Of course one of the greatest New Testament missionaries was Paul. (If you don't know who Paul is, take the time to read up about his conversion story. It's pretty amazing.)

The second reason tens of thousands of us serve is because we sincerely believe that the messages of the restoration, eternal families, and God's plan of happiness are worth sharing. So, we follow the example of the Savior's disciples and we share the gospel, literally, throughout the world.

Sister Gray and I are loving serving. We are forever grateful to anyone and everyone who played a part in some way to make it possible for us to serve. And while we may not be out actually teaching like most of the other missionaries, our efforts with a few of those many "moving parts" helps them do the most important work: Sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ with others.


  1. May God bless you and Trish for your diligent service. I had no idea there were so many missionaries from so many different countries in the Melbourne Mission.

  2. I'm just playing catch up today while I work in silence. It's very slow today so I'm catching up on the blog! I knew you're job was busy, but~ WOW. There is a lot of behind the scene work that I never thought of before! Dad, I bet your talk about responsibility went so good. You have a way with these kids and I'm so proud of you both!!! I miss you guys so much!
    Love you!!!


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