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Preparing to Serve a Couple’s Mission

Preparing to Serve a Couple’s Mission
Sister Marcia French (pictured on the left with Elder Jeff French), who currently serves as the Africa Southeast Area Mental Health Specialist, laughingly refers to Elder Jeff French as “my other brain”.
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“Number one on the ‘To Do’ list for senior couple missionary preparation is to become each other’s very best friend.”

“If we are not tapped into the needs of our spouse, we will have conflict on mission,” she says. “Learn to figure out how you are going to serve together and learn to enjoy that companionship. There are no 6 week transfers for couple missionaries.”

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Sister French explained that the desire to serve a couple mission started very early in their married life. “When we were young and newly married we would go down as soon as church was over, and we would look at the bulletin board.  There was this green piece of paper and it had all the different kinds of missions you could go on and we would read them and say, ‘Oh this would be a fun one to go on,’ and ‘Oh look they have one here’ and so we started to make a wish list of all the different kinds of missions we would like to serve when we got old and we retired.”

Elder French went on to add, “I think that was the genesis, perhaps, as we are both converts to the Church and didn’t serve young missions. So that was our focus. We prepared our children; we told them as soon as they had all left the home we would be going to serve a mission. We had to prepare financially in some manner or another. The first two missions we served were service missions so we were able to live at home and we continued to work in our jobs.”

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Serving together wherever possible is a really good way to prepare to serve a full time mission as a couple. There are many opportunities to serve together, for example, in the temple or in the Family History Centre. Couples should start their marriage with a goal to always have companionship scripture study, companionship prayer and companionship inventory. These good habits form a strong foundation for serving together as a couple in the mission field.

Sister French feels very strongly that couples should learn to have fun together, date often and work on a balanced marriage relationship. Unbalanced couples burn out; balanced couples serve multiple missions together.  Finances are often the reason why many couples are hesitant to serve a full time mission but Elder French counsels, “Pay a full tithe and a generous fast offering, have a desire to serve and allow the Lord to let miracles happen in your life.”

Both Elder and Sister French agree on the importance of learning the doctrine of the Church and working on building an unshakable testimony of the Saviour and His gospel. 

M any couples are also very loath to leave behind their children and grandchildren, but Elder and Sister French bear testimony of the blessings that come into the lives of children and grandchildren who have parents and grandparents serving as a full time missionary couple.
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In addition to their current mission in the Africa Southeast Area, Elder and Sister French have served two service missions, and one full time mission to the Philippines. They are not yet retired and extol the merits of being a “young senior missionary couple”. Their recommendation is: “the younger the better!”

Read about this couple who served a mission at the same time as their son.