The idea of going on a senior couples mission started way back in the early years of our marriage. Peter was the one who brought it up but I brushed it aside because we were struggling with the challenges of raising our family. When the children grew up, completed their mission and got married, we seriously considered going on a mission to serve in The Hong Kong China Temple.
Joining the Church
In the late 1960's I was looking for a church to attend. It did not matter which one. I felt it was the Lord guiding me to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Two of my friends (sisters) invited me to join them in a missionary discussion. They needed a place for the missionaries to teach them because their mother refused to have missionaries in their home. They asked if it was okay for them to use my place. That's when I started to learn about the Church and became a member in 1969.
Peter joined the Church in May 1971 in Hong Kong, shortly after he was contacted by missionaries in a street display. He became a branch president in 1975, and in 1976 when Hong Kong formed a stake he was called as a bishop.
My early years in the Church
In the early days of the Church in Singapore, we met in different places, such as hotels, members' homes, office buildings, etc. We were a small but close-knit congregation. I remembered we had meetings on different days of the week. The Relief Society, Primary, and Priesthood met on different weekdays. Sunday meetings were long. The Sunday School meeting started with an opening song, prayer and practice hymns, followed by short talks. Then we had our Sunday School lessons.
We learned a lot from expatriate members who served in leadership positions. I enjoyed activities such as MIA nights, firesides, road shows and cultural nights. Most of all, the love and friendship we cultivated during those early years with local and expatriate members are much treasured and remembered even till today.
The gospel of Jesus Christ made a difference in my life
The gospel helped me become a better person each day. Without the gospel, my life would have been aimless and meaningless. The plan of salvation gave me hope, focus, and direction in my life. I know that if I live the gospel and keep the commandments, I could return to my Heavenly Father one day.
Highlights of my life in the Church
There are several highlights in my life: first, I was baptized by someone with Priesthood authority and conferred the gift of the Holy Ghost.
In 1980 I served a full-time mission in Singapore. A few years later, I went to Brigham Young University, Hawaii to pursue a degree, something I could never do in Singapore.
Getting married and sealed in the temple for time and eternity was another highlight of my membership in the Church.
My missionary experience
It is no cliché to say that serving a full-time mission was the best one-and-a-half years of my life. We did not go to any MTC or receive an endowment in the Temple before beginning our mission. We just left home and reported to our mission president on the first of our mission. I was assigned a senior companion and we started work right away.
It was kind of weird to me that sister missionaries had to wear "uniforms". We have four sets of blouses and skirts - on weekdays we wore a blue, gray or brown skirt with a white top. On Sundays, we wore pink skirts. I felt like a student all over again. The uniforms were discontinued years later.
I have many memorable experiences as a missionary. Once I was ‘tricked" to go to a pastor's home. My companion and I got a lecture on the Book of Mormon from him.
The sweetest memories were about investigators we taught, especially those who were baptized despite parental objections.
Advice for couples going on a mission
I would say the most important thing is to have a desire to serve the Lord. In fact, the desire is the catalyst for doing anything in life. Of course, preparation is important too. Be prepared spiritually, financially, physically and emotionally. I think it is more challenging for a couple to go on a mission together than for a single adult to go on a full-time mission.
The other considerations for going on a senior couples mission are a love of the gospel and wanting to share that gospel with others.
The prophet has called for more senior couple missionaries and better-prepared full-time missionaries. I am so grateful for the opportunity to serve a second mission, this time with my husband. I pray that Peter and I will be of service to both the living and the dead when we serve in The Hong Kong China Temple.