Mormon Mission Trip: A Two-Year Journey

About a month after my nineteenth birthday, while I was off at college, I received a much anticipated envelope in the mail. It was my official call and instructions to be a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

mormon missionaries
Mormon missionary men are called “elders”

Each year, tens of thousands of young men and women, as well as senior couples, embark on a mission trip, or period of missionary service (lasting up to 2 years for young men and 18 months for young women). Surprisingly to many, those who choose to serve don’t decide where they go. Rather, like I did, they submit an application to the prophet and president of the Church and he or one of the 12 apostles of the Church issues an official call.

When I received my envelope on a cold Fall afternoon, I had no idea where I was going to spend the next 2 years of my life. With excitement and nervousness, I opened my letter to discover I was asked to serve in Charlotte, North Carolina. It was some of the best 2 years of my life.

LDS Conference Center Interior
The interior of the Church’s conference center in Salt Lake City, UT
Recently, in the 182nd Semiannual General Conference of the Church, Church president Thomas S. Monson announced that the men may now begin serving missions at age 18 and women at age 19. Previously, it was age 19 for men and age 21 for women.

Missionary service is not unique to the Mormon Church. I’ve known of many people, and even some good friends of other faiths, you have embarked on some sort of missionary service or humanitarian project for some period of time. Perhaps what is different though, is the shear amount of time Mormon missionaries spend in missionary service, and some of the regulations to such service. For example, did you know that Mormon missionaries are only allowed to speak to family 2 times each year? Once on Christmas and the other on Mother’s Day. They also refrain from secular, or normal day-to-day activities, such as watching TV, attending sporting events or going to a movie theater. Church missionary service is a dedicated time to serve God and His children.

What is also unique is their message, and that of the Mormon Church. First and foremost, the message of the Church is that God lives— He is real and He loves us. Each of us is a child of God. Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world. Secondly, missionaries teach that prophets and apostles once again are on the earth, like in the time of Jesus, and that God has restored His true church to the earth, the same church established by Jesus centuries ago. Related is that through modern prophets, God has revealed new scripture as companions to the Bible, including the Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ.

mexican flagThe reason all of this is on my mind is because I recently said good-bye to my little brother for 2 years. He is now serving as a missionary in Mexico. He is anxious and excited to talk to the people of Mexico about Jesus Christ and His plan of salvation. I know he will learn much about life and learn to love the people of Mexico and see them the way God sees all of His children.

Want to learn more? Read this post about Mormon missionaries. Are you visiting with Mormon missionaries? If you have any questions, visit the ask a question page and let me know.

Watch or Listen to LDS General Conference October 2012

Today marks the beginning of the two-day conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

October 2012 Schedule

  • Saturday, October 6, 2012 – 10 a.m. MDT
  • Saturday, October 6, 2012 – 2 p.m. MDT
  • Saturday, October 6, 2012 – 6 p.m. MDT (not broadcast)
  • Sunday, October 7, 2012 – 10 a.m. MDT
  • Sunday, October 7, 2012 – 2 p.m. MDT

Where Can I Watch General Conference?

If you happen to be in Utah, you could attend the Conference Center in Salt Lake City. Otherwise, conference is broadcast at local meetinghouses across the globe. It will also be streaming live on the Internet.

  • Stream conference here
  • Find a local meeting house here

LDS General Conference – October 2012 (Schedule)

Twice each year The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints holds a general conference. It originates from Salt Lake City, Utah from the LDS Conference Center, but it is broadcast around the globe in multiple languages. Last conference, I posted an infographic about general conference. You should check out the interesting stats.

October 2012 Schedule

  • Saturday, October 6, 2012 – 10 a.m. MDT
  • Saturday, October 6, 2012 – 2 p.m. MDT
  • Saturday, October 6, 2012 – 6 p.m. MDT (not broadcast)
  • Sunday, October 7, 2012 – 10 a.m. MDT
  • Sunday, October 7, 2012 – 2 p.m. MDT

Where Can I Watch General Conference?

If you happen to be in Utah, you could attend the Conference Center in Salt Lake City. Otherwise, conference is broadcast at local meetinghouses across the globe. It will also be streaming live on the Internet.

  • Stream conference here
  • Find a local meeting house here

What Should I Expect?

A central belief to the Mormon Church is that God has chosen prophets in our day, just like He did anciently (men like Moses or Noah). At General Conference, we listen to these prophets and other Church leaders give counsel and direction. Each session of a conference is 2 hours long and is a series of various speakers giving 10-20 minute talks (or sermons). In between the speaking, the acclaimed Mormon Tabernacle Choir, or other Church choir will sing hymns. It’s a very enlightening, uplifting and spiritual experience for all who participate.

Have any questions? Just let me know.

182nd Annual General Conference April 2012

Twice each year, a general conference is held in Salt Lake City, Utah. The 182nd Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is to be held on March 31 and April 1, 2012.

I invite you to listen to living prophets and apostles in our day by watching online at www.lds.org or visiting a local meetinghouse. I promise it will be a wonderful experience.