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The New Generation of Return Missionaries

Andrea Marshall and Lauren Ockey.jpg

Missionaries are returning younger than ever before to the BYU-Hawaii campus. In the October 2012 General Conference, President Monson announced the prayerful decision to lower the age for missionaries to 18 years old for young men and 19 for young women. The decision came as a shock, but at the same time, others’ prayers were answered. Andrea Marshall, a junior in graphic arts from Florida and a recently returned missionary from Brazil, said growing up, she never thought she would serve a mission. Then, two or three weeks before the General Conference of October 2012, she said she began to have feelings and thoughts that prompted her to think more about missionary work and the idea of serving. She said she reluctantly pushed them aside, knowing that she was only 19 years old and had at least two more years until she could serve a full-time mission. Marshall said once she heard the news from President Monson, it all began to make sense to her. The promptings and feelings rang true within her and she knew that she was meant to serve a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Overcome with emotion, she said she began her mission papers immediately.“It was definitely an interesting experience,” said Marshall, “because I had never before wanted to serve a mission and then all of a sudden I was putting in my papers.”Lauren Ockey, a senior from Utah studying ICS peace building who served her mission in Argentina, said, “I saw the example of many girls who had already served missions and returned here to BYU-Hawaii. That began to get me excited about the possibility of serving. Then, when I heard the announcement, it got me even more excited about serving and made it a reality.”She continued, “I was surprised coming back from the mission. Definitely the first week is a little weird because you are still in missionary mode, wanting to shake everyone’s hand and set appointments.” Marshall said, “Returning from the mission, my perspectives definitely changed. Before, I was just excited about being here in Hawaii and often times lost focus of my purpose. Now I am definitely more focused on studying and my Savior and things that are more important in my life.” Colby Hollingsworth, from California, who recently returned from his mission in Brazil, said, “Most of the younger generation missionaries came very prepared to the mission field; even more prepared sometimes than the older ones.” Hollingsworth said it is good to see that and know how much trust God is putting in his youth. The younger generation is going to be leading the church at a younger age and with bigger challenges those that came before us, he said.
Writer: Trenton McCullough