A member of the Quorum of the Twelve gave thanks Jan. 15, to 18 couples gathered at the Provo Missionary Training Center for the 2013 Seminar for New MTC Presidents and Visitors' Center Directors.
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland gave remarks at a dinner with the departing couples just prior to giving a devotional address for all the missionaries gathered at the center.
"We love you and honor you for your service," he said. "I'm in a position to realize how much responsibility we bear to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ ... and how impossible it would be to carry out that responsibility without the efforts of all who serve in the great missionary effort of Church service."
He suggested that the number of new mission presidents called will have to be sizably increased this year just to accommodate the young people interested in missionary service after the announcement in October of the lowering of the age of eligibility.
It is thrilling, he said, that such candidates for service are available when they are needed.
"One of the miracles of this Church is its lay leadership and volunteer service at every level," he said. He related a recent moment he had with a leader of a large Protestant organization. During an informal meeting in the man's home, the man insisted that Elder Holland tell him "how you get people to serve, to volunteer their time and means for the good work of the Church."
"I laughed and told him he would have to take the missionary lessons before he could understand it," Elder Holland said.
"It's true that the service and contribution of lay members of this Church lies at the heart of the miracle of the gospel of Jesus Christ," Elder Holland said.