Missionaries Are Called by God

The following is an excerpt, text and video, from Elder Ronald A. Rasband’s talk from the April 2010 Priesthood Session of General Conference called The Divine Call of a Missionary. In the talk, Elder Rasband explains the LDS Mission Call Process, particularly, how missionaries are called by God through inspiration to living prophets.

Part of my early training as a new General Authority included an opportunity to sit with members of the Twelve as they assigned missionaries to serve in one of the 300-plus missions of this great Church.

With the encouragement and permission of President Henry B. Eyring, I would like to relate to you an experience, very special to me, which I had with him several years ago when he was a member of the Quorum of the Twelve. 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?”

He told me that in his own mind he liked to think of where the missionaries would conclude their mission. This would aid him to know where they were to be assigned. 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.

From others of the Twelve, I have learned that this general method is typical each week as Apostles of the Lord assign scores of missionaries to serve throughout the world.

Having served as a missionary in my own country in the Eastern States Mission a number of years ago, I was deeply moved by this experience. Also, having served as a mission president, I was grateful for a further witness in my heart that the missionaries I had received in New York City were sent to me by revelation.

After assigning a few missionaries, Elder Eyring turned to me as he pondered one particular missionary and said, “So, Brother Rasband, where do you think this missionary should go?” I was startled! I quietly suggested to Elder Eyring that I did not know and that I did not know I could know! He looked at me directly and simply said, “Brother Rasband, pay closer attention and you too can know!” With that, I pulled my chair a little closer to Elder Eyring and the computer screen, and I did pay much closer attention!

A couple of other times as the process moved along, Elder Eyring would turn to me and say, “Well, Brother Rasband, where do you feel this missionary should go?” I would name a particular mission, and Elder Eyring would look at me thoughtfully and say, “No, that’s not it!” He would then continue to assign the missionaries where he had felt prompted.

As we were nearing the completion of that assignment meeting, a picture of a certain missionary appeared on the screen. I had the strongest prompting, the strongest of the morning, that the missionary we had before us was to be assigned to Japan. I did not know that Elder Eyring was going to ask me on this one, but amazingly he did. I rather tentatively and humbly said to him, “Japan?” Elder Eyring responded immediately, “Yes, let’s go there.” And up on the computer screen the missions of Japan appeared. I instantly knew that the missionary was to go to the Japan Sapporo Mission.

Elder Eyring did not ask me the exact name of the mission, but he did assign that missionary to the Japan Sapporo Mission.

Privately in my heart I was deeply touched and sincerely grateful to the Lord for allowing me to experience the prompting to know where that missionary should go.

At the end of the meeting Elder Eyring bore his witness to me of the love of the Savior, which He has for each missionary assigned to go out into the world and preach the restored gospel. 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.

13 replies
  1. future_missionary
    future_missionary says:

    About a month ago I receiver my mission call and well… I felt and still feel (from time to time), a little upset, the reason is that I got sent to serve in a mission which is located about two hours away from my house. I see the look on people’s faces when I tell them where I’m going and what I perceive from it is sorriness, and they try to say something good about it without realizing that their expression has said everything for them. Although, that’s not what affects me, what really makes me feel bad is the fact that I no longer feel any kind of enthusiasm when I think about serving my mission. there’s also another thing that contributes to make this feeling grow, it is the fact that I have a problem in my left foot, which can’t be treated with surgery and well… I got sent to a mission where I’m gonna be walking all day long and don’t get me wrong, I’m not lazy at all, I love walking but have this injury in one of my phalanges which limits me in my movements and resistance and I feel that non of the things I wrote nor the documents I sent were taken into consideration. What should I do? I’m supposed to leave in nine days. I would like to speak with someone who could understand me, and not try to persuade me to go by making me think it will me alright no matter what, I just want some empathy from my leaders. My cousins live near that area and they aren’t members, I know they will try to see me while serving and they would feel offended if I ask them not to. that’s another thing that worries me. please help me.

    • Jimmy
      Jimmy says:

      Future Missionary,

      I understand the lack of enthusiasm for your call. Many missionaries experience that. If I were you, I would forge ahead and know that the enthusiasm will come. When you get to your mission and are out meeting people, love for them will swell in your heart and you will enthusiastically want to serve them.

      As for the situation with your foot, I would call your mission president and talk to him about it. You should have gotten his contact information in your mission call packet. If you can’t reach him, you may try contacting the missionary department at Church headquarters. If you can contact your mission president, let him know about your foot problem, and I’m sure he will take that into account as he is making your specific area assignment.

      Good luck and God bless you.

    • davy jones
      davy jones says:

      The prompting to serve where you are called came to you from someone else.

      Your next step after getting the call is to get a testimony of your calling, that you are needed in the area where you are called.

      This is a similar step to when you are invited to meet with your Bishop. You are not required to tell him right away if you will accept a prospective call. He will often invite you to think and pray about it. To come back later. You are invited to follow this same process with your mission call. Don’t yet sign any acceptance letter, don’t tell others about your call. Go to the source of the call and ask him for a desire to serve in that area.

      What do you get?

      • Jimmy
        Jimmy says:

        I wholeheartedly agree that you should pray and seek confirmation from the Lord that your call comes from Him. Please also remember that when you submit your mission papers, you state that you are willing to serve a mission wherever called.

  2. Joe Ricardo
    Joe Ricardo says:

    I would ask .. because the Elders of Latinoamerica little we are sent to Europe, North and south america? Just send us right here in Central America 🙂

  3. Joe Ricardo
    Joe Ricardo says:

    I would ask .. because the Elders of Latinoamerica little we are sent to Europe, North and south america? Just send us right here in Central America

  4. Rob Tilley
    Rob Tilley says:

    with confidence and trepidation, you submit.
    you were to be called of god.
    you were chosen for that place and that time
    to go forth, without thought for yourself.

    australia? argentina? japan? haiti?
    the holy spirit guides the elder
    to choose north carolina…
    hmmm…no thanks, my dad says I should go to germany.

    oh, ok. my bad.

  5. Melissa
    Melissa says:

    My son is not ready to go on his mission yet. 1 more year! I’m trying to figure something out though. Do your spoken languages come into consideration at all? I told my son that he should fill his spare blocks at school with a language and he thinks it would be a waste of time. He said he was told that they don’t even consider whether you have learned another language.

  6. Osa etinosa destiny roto
    Osa etinosa destiny roto says:

    Since two days , i always have this great feelings that i will be serving in the alaska achorage mission, and am from nigeria newbenin stake , eghosa ward 2 , i do say to my self this might come to pass , this might be were the lord wants me to serve, and i will be sending my letter soon, i continue praying , and still always felt this in me that i will be serving in alaska, my name is osa etinosa destiny roto.

  7. Margaret
    Margaret says:

    please help me I don’t understand …I want so much to serve a mission …but i don’ t money so does that mean i won’t serve

    • Savannah
      Savannah says:

      The Lord will always provide a way for those who want to serve. 🙂 If you have a desire to serve, the Lord will make it possible for you to go.


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