|1996 - Missionary Training Center|
Experience and the Holy Ghost have taught us that the Lord has a hand in designating where missionaries serve. Sometimes it's apparent right away, other times the reason takes longer to discover.
How about the missionaries who knocked on our door back in 1981? Some of them might have been hoping for someplace a bit more exotic than Columbus, Ohio (like The Bahamas!). We know that at least two of “our” missionaries were heaven-sent just for us. Their personalities and testimonies resonated with us in a way that someone else’s might not have. Why were we sent to The Bahamas? We know why. Why was our grandson assigned to Utah, of all places to be a missionary? Why was he called to serve the Spanish-speaking people? His mission, his service, will affect him for the rest of his life. At this point in his mission, he probably has a good idea why he serves where he does, people who have changed him and people whose lives he’s been able to influence. He will gain more insight as he returns from his mission and reflects on the past two years.
Here’s information about the assignment process. Ronald Rasband described his experience as a new apostle being trained by a more seasoned apostle in the missionary assignment process.
“Each Apostle holds the keys of the kingdom and exercises them at the direction and assignment of the President of the Church. Elder Eyring was assigning missionaries to their fields of labor, and as part of my training, I was invited to observe.
I joined Elder Eyring early one morning in a room where several large computer screens had been prepared for the session. There was also a staff member from the Missionary Department who had been assigned to assist us that day.
First, we knelt together in prayer. I remember Elder Eyring using very sincere words, asking the Lord to bless him to know “perfectly” where the missionaries should be assigned. The word “perfectly” said much about the faith that Elder Eyring exhibited that day.
As the process began, a picture of the missionary to be assigned would come up on one of the computer screens. As each picture appeared, to me it was as if the missionary were in the room with us. Elder Eyring would then greet the missionary with his kind and endearing voice: “Good morning, Elder Reier or Sister Yang. How are you today?” … Elder Eyring would then study the comments from the bishops and stake presidents, medical notes, and other issues relating to each missionary.
He then referred to another screen which displayed areas and missions across the world. Finally, as he was prompted by the Spirit, he would assign the missionary to his or her field of labor.
…. He said that it is by the great love of the Savior that His servants know where these wonderful young men and women, senior missionaries, and senior couple missionaries are to serve. I had a further witness that morning that every missionary called in this Church, and assigned or reassigned to a particular mission, is called by revelation from the Lord God Almighty through one of these, His servants. (read entire talk here)