Elder Devin Lybbert is a tall strapping young man who long anticipated the day he would serve a mission. From high atop many a tractor, he grew up on the family farm in the tri-cities area near Pasco, Wash, where he learned to work and to love the gospel.
So it came as a stunning blow when he received news in the Provo Missionary Training Center that serious health concerns could prevent him from completing his service in the Minnesota Minneapolis Mission.
"That was a hard day," he said in retrospect.
He eventually arrived in the mission and served for a short time before receiving treatment in the Mayo Clinic. It was a soul-wrenching moment when it became painfully apparent that he could no longer serve.
If he couldn't complete a full-time mission, thought his mother who was by his side, perhaps he could serve as a Church Service Missionary.
The idea became particularly appealing because Elder Lybbert's grandmother, Joan Casper, was on a service mission in Salt Lake City.
Sister Casper reared her family on a farm in the Pasco Washington Stake area where she and her husband homesteaded in 1957. She had joined the Church at age 18, then married while attending BYU.
When her husband died several years ago after years of ill health, she applied for an office assignment working with the Church's Audiovisual Department in Salt Lake City as a Church Service Missionary.
"It's been a neat experience," she said. At age 75, "everyone treats me like their mother."
Elder Lybbert spends several days a week assisting in the Audiovisual Department, often setting up digital projectors for various presentations made by Church departments each day.
He also spends much time assisting in the Salt Lake Temple and performs other office tasks.
They share an apartment across the street from Church headquarters. "He helps with the vacuuming and the dishes and other tasks around the apartment," said Sister Casper, who will complete her yearlong service in November.
Perhaps more important, the love and association of a family member softens her loneliness.
Many years and a life of experience separate Sister Casper from her grandson companion. But just as her swift step is able to keep pace with the long-legged stride of this confident missionary, the two are equally yoked in the love of the Lord and His work.
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