By: Elder Rasband
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.
I conclude with the Lord’s words to the Whitmer brothers, who had a profound role in the early days of the Restoration. They were witnesses to the gold plates, and their signed testimonies are included at the front of every copy of the Book of Mormon. They were among the first band of missionaries called by a prophet of God in 1829 to preach the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.“And now, behold, I say unto you, that the thing which will be of the most worth unto you will be to declare repentance unto this people, that you may bring souls unto me, that you may rest with them in the kingdom of my Father.”6
At this time in your life, a mission call from the Lord, my young friends, is the most important work that you can do. Prepare now, live righteously, learn from your family and Church leaders, and come join with us in building the kingdom of God on earth—accept your divine appointment in “so great a cause.”7 This is my humble prayer in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.