|Missionary Training Center, Provo, Utah|
Note: You can do a Google search for "A Family History Mission" to see all the previous posts in this ongoing series. You can also search for "James Tanner genealogy" and find them.
I would seem to me that more older members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints might be willing to go on full-time missions if they understood the opportunities and the conditions of service available to Senior Missionaries. Most of the rules and restrictions that apply to young full-time missionaries are not so restrictive for Senior Missionaries.
While we were in the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah, we had the opportunity to talk to quite a few other Senior Missionaries and I was impressed with the variety of the callings available. For example, one couple I talked to were called as local Member and Leader Service Missionaries or MLS missionaries. They were asked to serve in their own stake and were going to be living at home. They were likely to be working full-time with part-member and less active families.
Another couple served two successive Humanitarian Missions in the Philipines. They told about some of the extraordinary opportunities they had to serve disadvantaged individuals and families with basic needs such as food, water, and shelter. The stories they told were remarkable and they were now on their third mission, this time as Record Preservation Specialists in the United States.
We met couple after couple who were on their second or third mission and eager to serve and who were on their way around the world.
Because the opportunities to serve are so varied, it is possible to have a mission experience suited to your own abilities and needs. If there are economic or physical challenges that prevent traveling, like the missionary couple above, there are opportunities to serve while living at home.
Senior Missionaries do not have the same restrictions as the younger missionaries concerning contacts to their families. For example, with the permission of the Mission President, we were able to spend Christmas with one of our daughters and her family who live outside of our mission boundaries a short distance from Washington, D.C.
As for me and my wife, we are expected to work 40 hours a week, but we can arrange our own schedules and take time for doctor appointments or other needed activities. Our particular work as Record Preservation missionaries is fairly physically demanding, but there are other callings that are less strenuous. We are not generally called to go with or assist the young missionaries in proselyting activities, but we could do so if the need or opportunity arises. We are encouraged to be involved in our mission ward and stake. As FamilySearch missionaries, we are also encouraged to help and assist with teaching and supporting family history.
If you would like to explore the options available, you can see the current openings in the Senior Missionaries Opportunities Bulletin. This publication is sometimes made available in the wards and stakes by posting it on a meeting house bulletin board. Although you can state your preferences as to where you would like to serve, the ultimate decision on assignments always lies with the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles as directed by the Spirit.
Take time to carefully consider this wonderful opportunity.