Menu

‘You truly are angels,’ Sister Dennis tells missionaries

First counselor in the Relief Society general presidency invites missionaries to study, understand the power of God to change lives

PROVO, Utah — The power of God will change lives through missionary work, said Sister J. Anette Dennis, first counselor in the Relief Society general presidency, while addressing missionaries at the Provo MTC in a devotional on Tuesday, Feb. 6.

Sister Dennis has been to the missionary training center in Provo many times. Her four children all served missions. She and her husband, Brother Jorge Dennis, served as mission leaders in the Ecuador Guayaquil West Mission. She has participated in leadership training for new mission leaders in her current calling. And she has spoken at Tuesday night MTC devotionals twice. She hopes a future assignment might be when a grandchild is at the MTC.

Three male missionaries laugh a devotional at the Provo Missionary Training Center.
Missionaries laugh after Brother Jorge Dennis makes a joke during a devotional at the Provo Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah, on Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2024. | Laura Seitz, Deseret News

But the chance to engage with thousands of missionaries might not have come if missionaries hadn’t helped her husband find his way to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints when he was a teenager.

“You might never know the difference you will make in the life of someone and how that will affect generations to come,” she told the missionaries. She said teaching about the gospel of Jesus Christ helps people begin to get on the path back toward Heavenly Father.

A sister missionary listens during a devotional at the Provo Missionary Training Center
A missionary listens during a devotional at the Provo Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah, on Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2024. | Laura Seitz, Deseret News

Brother Dennis didn’t have any communication with the missionaries who taught him and baptized him until 30 years later. One of those missionaries told him that he had been considering returning home early from his mission when they began to teach Brother Dennis and his mother. But that missionary stayed and finished his mission and didn’t know what became of that single mom and her family for more than three decades, until he and Brother Dennis found each other, thanks to new tools on the internet.

Related Stories
President Freeman and Sister Dennis testify of Jesus Christ through West Africa ministry
Sister Dennis and Sister Browning experience ‘warm and welcoming’ ministry to Brazil
Sisters missionaries and the elders behind them raise their hands during a a devotional at the Provo Missionary Training Center.
Missionaries participate during a devotional at the Provo Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah, on Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2024. | Laura Seitz, Deseret News

If Elder Adam Sessions hadn’t stayed on his mission, Brother Dennis might not have joined the Church or been sealed to Sister Dennis. But Elder Sessions stayed, Brother Dennis was baptized, and he and Sister Dennis were sealed five years later in the Salt Lake Temple. Since then, Brother Dennis’ four children have been sealed in the temple, and he has served as a bishop, mission president, institute teacher, father and grandfather.

Sister J. Anette Dennis smiles as she stands with a microphone in front of her at a devotional at the Provo Missionary Training Center.
Sister J. Anette Dennis, first counselor in the Relief Society general presidency, speaks at a devotional at the Provo Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah, on Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2024. | Laura Seitz, Deseret News

“You may never know the results of the seeds you plant as you strive to help people come to know their Savior,” Sister Dennis said. “Some who do not end up accepting the restored gospel now may do so years down the road because of the seeds you will plant in their lives.”

Missionaries as angels

Serving a mission isn’t about achieving a certain number of people taught or baptized, Sister Dennis said.

Sister missionaries hold music as they sing during a devotional at the Provo Missionary Training Center.
The MTC choir performs during a devotional at the Provo Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah, on Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2024. | Laura Seitz, Deseret News

“It is about God’s sons and daughters and helping them come to know the love Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, have for them. It’s about helping them understand the blessings and increased power and capacity to go through the difficulties of life that can come to them through entering into a covenant relationship with God. And the priesthood authority needed to enter into that covenant relationship is only found in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.”

Sister Dennis told the missionaries that they are like those mentioned in Helaman 5:11 — “angels to declare the tiding of the conditions of repentance.” She told them they are sent to bring the power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ into the lives of God’s sons and daughters.

Brother Jorge Dennis, standing on a platform, speaks with two sister missionaries following a devotional at the Provo Missionary Training Center.
Brother Jorge Dennis speaks with missionaries following a devotional at the Provo Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah, on Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2024. | Laura Seitz, Deseret News

“That is what you are going out to do. You truly are angels,” she said.

Sister Dennis concluded by showing an Inspirational Message video based on Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf’s general conference message “Your Potential, Your Privilege” from April 2011.

“Don’t live beneath your privileges,” she said. “You are covenant sons and daughters.”

Sister Avery Crosby is from Kooskia, Idaho, and is preparing to serve in the Japan Kobe Mission. She said it was helpful to hear about how people’s lives can be changed for years after the seed of the gospel is planted.

“It makes me feel so great that — even if we don’t have a lot of baptisms — that’s not the point. The point is to plant a seed and point people toward the Savior,” she said.

Sister Avery Crosby smiles after a devotional at the Provo Missionary Training Center.
Sister Avery Crosby comments after hearing a devotional from Sister J. Anette Dennis, first counselor in the Relief Society general presidency, at the Provo Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah, on Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2024. | Laura Seitz, Deseret News
Related Stories
‘Let love be the motivator in your missionary service,’ says President Johnson to Provo MTC
‘There’s no greater blessing than to be an instrument in God’s hand,’ Bishop Budge tells Provo MTC missionaries
Miracles have not ceased, Elder Rasband tells missionaries at Provo MTC during devotional held on a day of ‘gratitude and thanksgiving’
What Sister Spannaus said during an MTC devotional about choosing Christ
Newsletters
Subscribe for free and get daily or weekly updates straight to your inbox
The three things you need to know everyday
Highlights from the last week to keep you informed

Following a spiritual prompting to research her 2nd great-grandfather Dred Scott, Lynne M. Jackson embarked on a journey of researching, commemorating and making peace with her family history.

“Our story isn’t about cancer, it’s about living,” said Nancy Borowick, speaking to in-person and online audience members of RootsTech on Friday, March 1.

"They can help in some sort of way, and when they make a discovery, that excitement is contagious," said RootsTech 2024 presenter.

Check out articles and photos of everything that's happening online and in person at FamilySearch's RootsTech 2024, the largest family history conference in the world.

New converts, 11-year-olds and returning members can "have another spiritual experience, another connection," said Elder Andersen.

Millions of additional records from all continents will be available for the public this year.