Dear Elders and Sisters
If you are reading this post, you have probably received a mission call to the Arizona Scottsdale Mission. Congratulations! All of our children have served missions (4 sons and 1 daughter) and we remember so clearly each of their mission calls and how we felt “this is the place” for each of them. We hope you have gotten your confirmation as well that the Arizona Scottsdale Mission is the place the Lord wants you to serve. If not, go get that confirmation! The Lord delights in blessing his missionaries with this gift of knowledge.
A Little About Us
We met at BYU, courted for about a year and married just prior to Pres. Sweeney’s senior year. He finished his last college final the very same day Sister Sweeney went into labor and delivered our firstborn – a son. Talk about just-in-time! We moved to Texas where Pres. Sweeney worked for various firms as a CPA – while we added 3 more children to our family. In 1987 we moved from Texas for Pres. Sweeney to take a new position in the Washington DC area. We both continued to serve in the Church and it was here that Pres. Sweeney was first called as a Bishop and later a Stake President. Sister Sweeney was busy nurturing our children (and we added one more there) yet also serving as an early-morning Seminary Teacher, Young Women leader and Stake YW camp director. She also joined our older sons in driving an early-morning paper route so they could earn mission funds. In 1997, we moved to Florida to accept a job promotion and we lived there for the next 15 years – where Pres. Sweeney again served as a Bishop and later a Stake President and Sister Sweeney again taught early-morning Seminary and became Stake Young Women President. In 2012 we relocated to Utah to be nearer to the majority of our married children.
“I Will Hasten My Work…”
We have a testimony of the change in the ages Elders and Sisters can serve as missionaries. The change to the age young men can serve was field-tested for some years before being adopted church-wide at October 2012 General Conference. The First Presidency recommended the changes to the ages young women can serve – a testimony that this change is direct revelation from our Heavenly Father.
We are so impressed with those who are stepping up to serve now! When we watched this video it brought tears of joy to our eyes as we saw the joy in the faces of these youth – your peers: http://ldsmediatalk.com/2013/02/08/video-80-olympus-high-school-graduates-open-mormon-mission-calls/
We are delighted to learn of the changes just announced at April 2013 General Conference of the enhanced roles of sisters in the Lord’s missionary work. Here is a link to the news release. http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/article/church-adjusts-mission-organization-implement-mission-leadership-council
The surge in young women who are now desiring to serve, combined with the increase in worthy young men, fulfills a prophecy given 180 years ago: “Behold, I will hasten my work in its time.” (DC 88:73)
It is our testimony that the Lord is doing exactly that: He is hastening his work. You are better prepared than any generation ever before – and now much is required at your hands. We also testify that it is His work – and he has invited us to participate in it. As we repent and are obedient, he will endow us with power to fulfill this prophecy – also given 180 years ago: “The [Elders and Sisters] should proclaim these things until the world…[that] the weak things of the world shall come forth and break down the mighty and strong ones…” (D&C 1:18, 10)
This promise we give you: you will not labor alone. Recall these are the last days. This is the last time the Gospel will be declared before the earth is cleansed at the Second Coming. Hear his words:
And the Lord of the vineyard said unto them: Go to, and labor in the vineyard, with your might. For behold, this is the last time that I shall nourish my vineyard; for the end is nigh at hand, and the season speedily cometh….And it came to pass that the servants did go and labor with their mights; and the Lord of the vineyard labored with them; and they did obey the commandments of the Lord of the vineyard in all things. (Jacob 5:72)
With every one of you, the Lord will be so close to you, it will be as if He is laboring “with you”. Did you catch the other prophecy about you? Read the last sentence in the scripture above. “The servants did go and labor with their mights….” So, we already know how valiant you can – and will – be!
We Are All Enlisted
We are preparing as you are. We’ve almost completed our study of Preach My Gospel. We’ve viewed many training videos including the Preach My Gospel videos, and are feeling the love of the Lord and the great concern of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve that we are fully ready. To you and us the Lord has entrusted the awesome responsibility to “preach the gospel to every creature.” (Mark 16:15). We are fulfilling the commission the Twelve have been given! Do you see yourself in this scripture?
And again, I say unto you, that whosoever ye shall send in my name, by the voice of your brethren, the Twelve, duly recommended and authorized by you, shall have power to open the door of my kingdom unto any nation whithersoever ye shall send them. (D&C 112: 21)
We ask you to prepare diligently. We are all on His errand. See you soon!
President and Sister Sweeney
Arizona Scottsdale Mission – July 2013