Elder Ronald A. Rasband and his wife, Sister Melanie T. Rasband, likely experienced a moment of nostalgia when they spoke Monday at the 2017 Seminar for New Mission Presidents.
Just over two decades ago, the Rasbands attended the 1996 new mission presidents’ seminar before serving together in the New York New York North Mission.
Now a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, Elder Rasband testified of the blessings that will come to each couple as they serve the missionaries together.
“As mission president and wife, you have a unique and wonderful opportunity to fully serve side-by-side as ‘one together in the work,’ ” he said. “You will come to know and love each other more deeply because of the opportunity of working together, testifying and teaching the gospel of Jesus Christ with your missionaries and watching over them.”
Serving together in the work, added Sister Rasband, offers mission presidents and their wives “priceless opportunities to serve the Lord, the missionaries and one another.”
“Elder Rasband had traveled a great deal as a businessman before our mission — and I must admit, I wasn’t too sure I could cope with having him around 24/7,” she said with a smile. “But my fears were soon put to rest. As we arrived at the mission home, the sweet assurance and presence of the Spirit gave us comfort and made us feel right at home.”
“The missionaries will keep a watchful eye on their president and his wife,” said Elder Rasband.
Many of the young elders and sisters come from less-than-perfect families.
“They will see you as an example of a Christ-centered, eternal couple as you hold hands and show kindnesses to each other,” he said. “They are determining who they want to become as they observe your love and unity.”
“A key to being ‘one’ as mission president and wife,” taught Sister Rasband, “is appreciating and utilizing what [you] each can contribute to your mission experience.”
Elder Rasband reminded the new mission presidents that their wives are full partners in the work.
“She should not be relegated to the kitchen providing meals, or only teaching health issues at zone conferences. She is needed and deserves the blessings of also teaching doctrine, bearing testimony and being actively engaged in the mission.”
Sister Rasband said she and her husband were the beneficiaries of many blessings as they served the missionaries and the people of New York as one.
“Our mission is a treasured, important part of our lives,” she said. “[Being] called to serve as a missionary and a companion to my mission president husband was a personal honor and a blessing.”
[email protected] @JNSwensen