What I learned from a Senior Mission that changed my life: Living the Law of Consecration Today
My name is Ken Allen. I keep my promises. 43 years ago, Sue wanted to go on a mission. I wanted to marry her. So when I proposed to her, I promised her we would go on a mission together when our children left home. True to that promise, in late 2004, when our two youngest children were both called to serve as missionaries in Latin America, Sue said, it's now our time to go too. And it was.
What did we learn that changed our life? From our own experience, from our own children and from the missionaries we worked with, learned that we can live the Law of Consecration today. And we gained a greater appreciation of what our young missionaries are experiencing. While it was tough on the young missionaries, for us it was kind of fun.
We are a Covenant People. We learned what it means to live a Covenant life. We learned by doing. We devoted ourselves, our time, and our talents that the Lord has given us to the building of the Kingdom and to the establishment of Zion today.
We served in the Germany Hamburg Mission, in two of the first new Institute Outreach Centers for Young Single Adults in Central Europe as part of the Outreach Initiative started by Elder L. Tom Parry. We found ourselves calling upon many of our life’s experiences and while working with local leaders. We trained young leaders as part of the Institute program, we lived and taught with the young missionaries, we conducted language classes for visitors to the Institute Center, we worked with high councils and local institute teachers and directors, and we participated as part of a full-time Missionary District. As a high priest, I was called to serve on the Neumuenster Stake High Council and after that on the Hamburg Stake High Council., We found ourselves traveling all over northern Germany on assignment and speaking in German to wards and branches.
At the Outreach Center we used our talents. We organized leadership counsels, worked the computers, kept a library, fixed equipment, provided career counseling, maintained a Church-sponsored website, made event videos, prepared teaching materials and narrative reports in two languages, hosted visiting general authorities and celebrities, prepared and cleaned up meals, recorded Church satellite broadcasts of events in several languages, organized parties, and worked on service projects. We even tended a vegetable garden in the summer and shoveled snow in the winter.
We attended summer Young Adult Conferences on the shores of the North Sea and in the mountains above Salzburg, where the Sound of Music was alive. And we took young people on temple trips to Frankfurt, where we renewed our covenants in a foreign tongue. We even witnessed as Saints from Albania attended the temple for the first time.
We stayed in contact with our family and friends all over the world through a weekly e-mail and kept a blog with photos so could share our entire family's missionary experiences, knowing from the inside what it was like.
There was one aspect of our mission experience that was so common that at first we did not think it was unusual. From our Outreach Center, we sent out many young missionaries--to Salt Lake and to Poland, to Hawaii, Italy, England, Austria and the Seyschelle Islands. When we ended our mission, the Stake President said there were more young people serving missions from his stake at that time than in all of the prior five years.
We were able to share inspiring spiritual experiences as people found meaning to life and answers to the eternal questions as they changed their lives and they changed ours. There was joy and rejoicing as we nourished the hungry, comforted the afflicted and cared for the sick. Such are the rewards of living the Law of Consecration -- which was a time for “tithing” a period of time of our lives. I look around and see many of you also living a life of Consecration right here and now, and I honor you. You bless us all by your service.
As for a senior mission, will we do it again? What do you think?