Monday, June 10, 2013

Missionaries Are Called by God

Have you ever wondered how Mormon missionaries are assigned to the area where they serve?   Elder Rasband explains the process. 

You can also see the above video by clicking here

The Divine Call of a Missionary
Ronald A. Rasband
April 2010 General Conference

Missionary work is a subject very close to my heart, as it is to every member of the eight Quorums of the Seventy, whom the Lord has appointed to go “before his face into every city and place, whither he himself would come.”  Luke 10:1  Missionary work is the lifeblood of the Church and the lifesaving blessing to all who accept its message.

When the Master ministered among men, He called fishermen at Galilee to leave their nets and follow Him, declaring, “I will make you fishers of men.”  Matthew 4:19  The Lord extended those calls to humble men so that through them others would hear the truths of His gospel and come unto Him....

 ...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.

Here is a list of the areas in the world where our grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins have served:

George Magnusson: Tahiti Mission
George and Marian Magnusson:  Utah Provo Mission President
    David Magnusson:  Chile Mission
    Aliece Harms Magnusson:  California Los Angeles Mission
        Matthew Magnusson:  Ecuador Guayaquil North Mission
        Julina Magnusson Fernandez:  Slovenia Ljubljana Mission (assigned to Croatia)
        Enrique Fernandez:  Massachusetts Boston Mission (Cambodian-speaking)
        Andrew Magnusson :  Michigan Detroit Mission 
    Scott Magnusson:  Mexico Mexico City Mission
    Scott and Kathleen Magnusson:  El Salvador San Salvador West/Belize Mission
        Dave Meanea:  California San Jose Mission
        Lisa Magnusson:  Argentina, Salta Mission
        David Anderson:  North Carolina Charlotte Mission
        Kristine Magnusson Jeppson:  Oregon Portland Mission
        Bryce Jeppson:  Spain Madrid Mission
        Samuel Magnusson:   Chile Rancagua Mission
    Stan Albrecht:  Argentina Córdoba Mission 
        Mark Johnson:  Santo Domingo East Dominican Republic Mission
        Jon Walker: Australia Brisbane Mission
        Bryce Albrecht:  Mexico Culiacán Mission
        Mallory Rhead Albrecht:  New Jersey Morristown Mission (Spanish-speaking)
        Nathan Vasher:  Missouri Independence Mission
        Jay Albrecht:  Chile Viña del Mar Mission  
        Marissa Albrecht:  Florida Fort Lauderdale Mission
        Dane Albrecht:  Colombia Bogotá North Mission
        Alec Albrecht:  Ecuador Guayaquil North Mission
        Laurel Albrecht:  New Mexico Albuquerque Mission
    Eric Magnusson:   Ohio Columbus Mission
        Evan Magnusson:  Italy Milan Mission
        Jason Fredrick: Russia Moscow Mission
        Jared Magnusson: Portugal Lisbon Mission
        Spencer Magnusson:  Florida Tallahassee Mission
    Craig Harris:  Mexico Veracruz Mission
    Craig and Lynn Harris: Church Service Missionaries–Hosting Conference Center
        Alan Harris:  Argentina Córdoba Mission
        Shane Harris:  Mexico Veracruz Mission
    Douglas Harris:  Uruguay Montevideo Mission
        Trenton Adams:  Argentina Neuquen Mission
        David Landry:   Argentina Neuquen Mission
        Brennan Shaffer:  Kentucky Louisville Mission
        Jason Harris:  Bolivia Cochabamba Mission
    Russell Harris: Spain Madrid Mission
    Christy Harris:  Costa Rica San Jose Mission
        Spencer Harris: Armenia Yerevan Mission
        Trenton Harris:  Uruguay Montevideo West Mission
        Taylor Howard:  Mexico Tijuana Mission

Sunday, June 9, 2013

I'm Holding You.... An Unexpected Gift

I like this video because it reminds me that Heavenly Father is aware of his children.
You can also view the video by clicking here.  

Strong Families: A Link to Success

Today at church I was talking to some of my friends about my brush with fame with Dr. Laura Schlessinger.

It all started when I read this editorial  in our local paper in 2005

Printed in San Gabriel Valley Tribune Opinion Section on Friday, February 18, 2005

Preschool a link to success

THE link between preschool and success in adulthood is pretty elementary. The corollaries are predictable, and potent. Kids who go are much more likely to get a head start on learning and good, lifelong habits. Kids who don't are less likely to graduate from high school and twice as likely to become career criminals.

The lesson? More preschools are needed so that all children from families of all socioeconomic groups can attend if they so choose. This can be done by increasing the allotment of funds by First 5 California to help start new preschools or expand existing ones in the San Gabriel Valley and Whittier areas.

Passed in November 1998, Proposition 10, which funds First 5, added a 50-cent-per-pack tax to cigarettes sold in the state. The money, about $700 million annually, is used to fund early childhood development programs.

A just-released report by Fight Crime: Invest in Kids California found that the state is severely lacking in availability of preschool programs.

Preschool, perhaps the best crime-prevention tool, especially for at-risk kids, often isn't available where it's needed most. For every 10 students enrolled in preschool programs statewide, four are turned away. Many preschool programs in Los Angeles County have waiting lists. Some are out of sight, out of mind for many poor families.

And it's low-income families that most often are out of luck. Children from higher-income families are 50 percent more likely to enroll in preschool.

Twenty-four percent of the state's 3- and 4-year-olds are unable to attend preschool.
It's an injustice that Fight Crime, a statewide coalition of law enforcement agencies, as well as First 5 California, are seeking to correct.

The advantages of preschool aren't lost on state educators, either. State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell, in his statewide education address last month, proposed universal preschool, replete with standards for what all preschoolers should learn and a credentials program for preschool teachers. We still believe parents ought to make that choice but that more and more are seeking preschools for their children.
The knowledge and learning skills developed in preschool even could close the achievement gap that often leaves blacks, Latinos, the poor and the disabled lagging in standardized test scores, O'Connell said.

There are many obstacles to increasing preschool classrooms. Space, parking, and even neighbors who don't like the use in their back yard are just a few of the problems. That's why First 5 has tried to focus on expanding existing programs.
Still, it is a worthwhile effort. For every dollar spent on preschool, the public will save $17 in costs from crime and social services down the line, according to Fight Crime's analysis.

Preschool could be a smart investment and one that should be considered.

Below is my response editorial which was published in the Pasadena Star News Opinion Section on March 1, 2005 and the San Gabriel Tribune on March 28, 2005:

Strong Families: A Link to Success

I disagree with your editorial, “Preschool a link to success”!  What’s ironic about my position is that I have a degree in early childhood education.  Purposefully, none of my six children went to preschool.  None of my children are criminals.  In fact, they are successful students in elementary, high school, college, and graduate school.  Two are college graduates.  So far, they are all well adjusted, for which I am grateful.

Early in our marriage, I supported my husband as he pursued advanced education.  This allowed him to secure an adequate paying job to support our family, and gave me the privilege to be a stay-at-home mother.  When my children were preschool age, I took them to story hour at our local library.  At home we listened to music, made crafts, went on walks, and made cookies.  We planted a vegetable garden, read books, did chores, and wrote letters to grandparents.

Could it be that the statistics that favor preschool are in reality linked to broken homes and absentee parenting?   I believe that in order to prepare young children for a successful kindergarten and beyond, it is the parent who needs to be in the home nurturing and teaching them, and not relegating this responsibility to a preschool.

I acknowledge that some family circumstances are different than mine. Single parents have fewer choices.  In doing the best they can, they may have to turn to preschool.  Yet, this needs to be the exception and not the rule.

Wise teaching and disciplining of young children by their own parent is really the smart investment that should be considered, not preschool.

Kathleen Magnusson
Duarte, California

Unbeknownst to me, someone sent my editorial to Dr. Laura.   She read it on her radio program on April 7, 2005 and again on June 21, 2006.   My daughters laugh about Dr. Laura's commentary after she read my editorial.  Dr. Laura said, "And this lady has a degree" insinuating that I know what I'm talking about because of my Degree in Early Childhood Education.  I know about this subject because my mom was my "preschool" teacher.