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President Oaks, President Ballard open 2022 Seminar for New Mission Leaders with focus on sacred work, spiritual gifts


PROVO, Utah — Incoming mission leaders gathered at the Provo Missionary Training Center listened intently as President M. Russell Ballard welcomed them on Thursday, June 23, for four days of training prior to leaving for their missions.

“You are going to have the greatest experience of your lives,” said President Ballard, Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, to the new mission presidents and their wives.

The 93-year-old Church leader said the time he and his late wife spent together on their mission continues to be a highlight of his life.

Read more talk summaries and see photos from the 2022 seminar here

“The experience that my dear Barbara and our family had … was one of the great and wonderful choice experiences of our whole lives,” he said.

President Ballard said he continues to have good friendships with the missionaries who served in Toronto while he was mission president there.

Spiritual gifts

Following President Ballard’s welcome to the 2022 Seminar for New Mission Leaders, President Dallin H. Oaks, first counselor in the First Presidency of the Church, stepped up to the pulpit.

“I couldn’t refrain from sharing something I have been moved upon to share on this occasion,” he said. “President M. Russell Ballard has just spoken without notes, as the Spirit would have him speak to you.”

President Oaks said the ability President Ballard demonstrated to speak by the Spirit is representative of the spiritual gift President Ballard has been blessed with.

“President Ballard has a remarkable gift that he has followed in speaking to you. It’s choice and precious,” President Oaks said. “There are different spiritual gifts, and it’s important that we not covet or try to imitate gifts that others have been given.”

President Oaks said this teaching, as seen in Doctrine and Covenants 46, applies to missionaries, their leaders and members of the Church in general.

“The Lord has called us not because we are like someone we admire, but because we have the gifts the Lord wants us to use,” he said. “Honor the gifts the Lord has given you. … He has not called you because you will be the same as the president or wife of the president who preceded you.”

“As you ask and seek, you can become exactly the leader the Lord needs in this mission for these missionaries and these challenges,” President Oaks said.

New mission leaders listen and take notes during the 2022 Seminar for New Mission Leaders on Friday, June 24, 2022.

New mission leaders listen and take notes during the 2022 Seminar for New Mission Leaders on Friday, June 24, 2022.

Credit: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Unequaled youth

President Ballard called youth who choose to serve missions courageous and their calling as missionaries miraculous.

“There’s no other group of youth anywhere on the planet that equal the youth of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,” he said.

He also recognized that each missionary is different and enters the mission field with unique backgrounds.

“One of the joys you’ll have is to watch the hand of the Lord in your ministry … as you teach, lift, inspire and help these [missionaries] rise up to become real disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ.”

He said he and his wife would find joy in seeing the spiritual progress made by missionaries from their first day in the mission to the day they left the mission to return home.

Sacred work

President Ballard taught the new mission leaders the importance of the sacred work of gathering Israel.

“This is the sacred and holy work of finding our Father’s children, of teaching our Father’s children and baptizing our Father’s children in every corner of your mission,” he said.

“Love the work, love the people, love your missionaries,” President Ballard said. “Lift and motivate and encourage and show [your missionaries] they can be everything they need to be to build and strengthen the wards and branches and little groups wherever they are called upon to serve.”

The four-day seminar for new mission leaders continued through the weekend, with most mission leaders moving to their assigned missions the following week to commence their three-year callings.

President M. Russell Ballard, Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, speaks at the 2022 Seminar for New Mission Leaders in the Provo Missionary Training Center.

President M. Russell Ballard, Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, speaks at the 2022 Seminar for New Mission Leaders in the Provo Missionary Training Center.

Credit: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

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