LDS Church First Presidency announces new mission presidents for 2017

Credit: Photo by Matthew Reier, IRI

The First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has called 123 new mission presidents, effective July 2017. The new mission leaders, and their wives, will serve three years. A comprehensive list of the new mission presidents and their assignments can be viewed here. Returning mission presidents are also listed.

President Thomas S. Monson, while speaking at the Seminar for New Mission Presidents in Provo, Utah, on June 28, 2015, assured the new mission presidents and their wives that they were called by inspiration.

President Monson and his wife, Sister Frances Monson, were 31 years old when he was called to preside over the Canadian Mission.

“Our children were seven and four years old, and Sister Monson was expecting our third child,” he said. “Our call came during the last week of February 1959, and we boarded the train for Toronto, Ontario, Canada, just a few short weeks later.”

He said the Church now gives mission presidents and their wives a little more time to put their affairs in order before they leave.

“Over the years as Sister Monson and I reflected on those three years we spent in Canada, we recognized that they were among the happiest times of our lives. When God calls and we respond to such a call, we experience the joy and satisfaction of having done as He would have us do.

“I testify to you that whom God calls, God qualifies. This promise extends not only to you but also to your missionaries as well,” President Monson told them. “When we are worthy, when we strive with faith nothing wavering to fulfill the duties appointed to us, when we seek the inspiration of the Almighty in the performance of our responsibilities, we can achieve the miraculous.”

During the 2015 address, President Monson reminded the new mission leaders that parents of their missionaries kneel in prayer each day, asking Heavenly Father to bless their son or daughter in the mission field. “And in their prayers they also ask a blessing upon you, that their son or daughter might be guided and loved and watched over by you. In effect, you become a surrogate parent to their child during the time he or she serves in your mission,” he said.

“As you oversee prayerfully the work of the mission and of the missionaries, you will see the hand of the Lord time and time again.”

As an example, he told about the time he looked at a list of missionaries serving under his direction and felt inspired to move one young elder, Neul Smith, to Welland, Ontario. “He was not due for a transfer, but I followed the inspiration and moved him,” President Monson said. “The next week, when I received a letter from his new companion, tears came to my eyes as I read, ‘President Monson, I know you were inspired in sending Elder Smith to us in Welland. We are teaching some Italian-speaking families whose English skills are limited. I have been praying for a missionary in our area who could speak Italian. And you sent Elder Smith, who speaks Italian fluently.’

“Until that moment I was not aware that Elder Smith spoke Italian. One would not normally associate the name ‘Smith’ with the Italian language. Although I was unaware of his language ability, however, our Heavenly Father knew. I promise you that you will have similar experiences as you seek heavenly help in all that you do.”

See all new mission presidents here.

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