In April 2006, Elder Robert D. Hales taught Church members about the greatly needed role of senior missionaries in the work of salvation.
“Your Heavenly Father needs you,” he said, speaking specifically to members approaching senior missionary age. “His work, under the direction of our Savior Jesus Christ, needs what you are uniquely prepared to give. Every missionary experience requires faith, sacrifice, and service, and these are always followed by an outpouring of blessings.”
All mission calls — both to young and to senior missionaries — come by revelation through a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. However, senior missionaries have more of a say in when, where and for how long they will serve.
The types of missionary experiences available to seniors are as diverse as the people who fill them. Options exist both at home and abroad, in the field and at Church headquarters, for long periods of time or for a few hours a week. If the options seem overwhelming, here’s a simple list of 10 mission opportunities for seniors. Learn more about these opportunities by visiting LDS.org.
1. Member and Leader Support
Most full-time senior missionaries serve in Member and Leader Support assignments. These missionaries are assigned to missions around the world and help share the gospel, reactivate less-active Church members, teach new converts, serve young single adults and support local leaders.
Some in this category also serve as administrators in mission offices. These missionaries help the mission president with logistical concerns, including missionary travel, housing and transportation.
2. Visitors Centers and Historic sites
Couples who serve at the Church’s visitors’ centers and historic sites serve for six, 12, 18 or 23 months. Potential missionaries can submit applications anytime, but because some assignments are seasonal, some applications have deadlines.
These assignments are best suited to missionaries who are in good health and can move easily since they often involve standing, walking and climbing stairs for long periods of time in summer heat. Applications are needed for missionaries to serve in Historic Nauvoo, Mormon handcart historic sites and Cove Fort Historic Site.
3. Dental and Health care missions
The Church needs retired dentists and medical professionals to help in many missions around the world to perform both humanitarian services and to advise mission presidents on the condition of ill young missionaries.
Immediate needs for dental professionals are in Guatemala City, Manila, Tonga and Samoa. Medical personnel are needed worldwide.
4. Senior Sisters assignments
Single senior sisters (40+) serve for six, 12, 18 or 23 months, though financial responsibility varies depending on the length of the assignment. Single sisters’ mission costs are approximately 65 percent of the cost for couples. Senior sisters are currently needed to serve in assignments including CES, employment resource centers, medical, family history, perpetual education fund, mission offices and more.
5. Family History Support Missions
Senior missionary opportunities in the Family and Church History Headquarters Mission (located in Salt Lake City) last for 12, 18, or 23 months. These missionaries live in housing near Temple Square or in their own Utah homes. Both missionaries who live at home and those who are away attend a missionary-only branch.
Nearly 70 percent of the senior missionaries in this assignment help guests with family history research. Others serve in the Church History Department while a few fill assignments in other Church Headquarters departments. Family History Support Missionaries frequently do their own family history research and attend the 10 local temples.
Family History Specialist missionaries serve away from Church headquarters for six to 23 months. Current needs include Los Angeles, California; Oakland/San Francisco, California; London, England; and Johannesburg, South Africa.
Missionaries are also needed in Family History Records Preservation, where missionaries digitally preserve physical records. These missionaries are needed worldwide.
Brigham Young University–Hawaii offers several missionary opportunities, including assignments in the Department of Hospitality & Tourism Management, BYU–Hawaii Counseling Services, the Polynesian Cultural Center, and BYU–Hawaii Office of Honor. Current needs also include an opening for a university architect/planner and construction project manager.
7. Church Education System
Senior missionary couples serving in the Church Educational System teach young adults and work to help find and enroll seminary and institute students. Some of these missionaries also help train volunteer teachers. CES has current needs worldwide, including five locations in the United States and 28 internationally.
8. Music Department
The Music Department needs single sisters or couple missionaries to teach basic music skills to Church members. These music missionaries generally teach music part-time in addition to other assignments. Language skills are not necessary but are helpful in some foreign missions.
9. Temple Department
The Church needs senior couples and senior single sisters who have served as temple ordinance workers to serve in temples around the world. In areas where there are not enough members in close proximity to the temple to work weekly, or where retirement systems prevent senior missionaries from dedicating their time as temple ordinance workers, full-time missionaries help fill the temple’s needs.
10. Church Service Missions
More than 20,000 Church-Service missionaries assist in many Church departments every year. They help members live the gospel of Jesus Christ, assist in the gathering of Israel, help care for the poor and needy and work to enable the salvation of the dead.
These missionaries serve for at least eight hours per week, usually for six to 24 months. They might serve in distribution center retail stores, at Church headquarters, or in meetinghouse buildings providing maintenance. They also support the Church’s media efforts, provide technical support, work in mission offices, support addiction-recovery programs, volunteer in bishops’ storehouses, work in employment resource centers, provide help with family history research and more.