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One Mission Enough to Change Lives, But Not to Satisfy Desire to Serve

January 9, 2008 — News from the Church

When Rose and Ron Harvey got married in 1950, they didnft anticipate they would go on to spend 16 years of their marriage in full-time missionary service.

gI never dreamed of that,h Sister Harvey said.

Since 1992, the Canadian couple has served nine missions for the Church, preaching across the United States, Canada, and into the Pacific Islands.

Their experiences have been uplifting. gYou come back on a spiritual high,h Sister Harvey said. But the change of heart they have received isnft reserved only for those who serve 16 years. gYou donft have to serve nine missions. After our first mission, we came home changed people.h

Brother and Sister Harvey have had success, grown in the gospel, weathered trials, and overcome feelings of inadequacy. Today, their relationship is closer than ever and they are quick to tell of the strength they have received and the blessings the Lord has given them and their family.  

Called to Serve—Again and Again

Brother and Sister Harveyfs first mission to the Minnesota Minneapolis Mission in 1992 was a wonderful experience, especially for Sister Harvey, who had wanted to serve a full-time mission since the time her children had prepared to go on their own missions. She and her husband found joy in reactivating members and seeing a branch organized. Later the couple served another proselytizing mission in the South Dakota Rapid City Mission, followed by family history missions at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City and at the Utah Correctional Institute. The latter brought unique challenges, and Brother and Sister Harvey felt great sympathy for their incarcerated brothers and sisters.

They served another proselytizing mission in the Canada Vancouver Mission, then two humanitarian service missions in American Samoa and Sacramento, California, USA. They were called soon after that to serve another family history mission, this time in Canada Calgary Mission.

After a year and a half in Calgary, they are now serving another family history mission within the Calgary mission to Golden, British Columbia, and Cardston, Alberta.

Facing Common Challenges

Brother and Sister Harveyfs years of service havenft come without challenges. They had to overcome some of the same obstacles that face all soon-to-be missionaries such as financial considerations, fear, finding the right mission, and family concerns.

Finances: Living simply and frugally made it possible for the Brother and Sister Harvey to serve. They simplified their finances by getting rid of unnecessary expenses and bills and had their retirement and government pensions automatically deposited into an account. Though not excessive, their funds were always enough. gWe never had a lot of money; we just had a lot of faith,h Sister Harvey said. 

Fear: In his journals (they have both kept journals since their first mission to Minneapolis) Brother Harvey wrote that he felt inadequate to preach the word, and Sister Harvey at times shared that sentiment. Their concern was, gDo I know enough?h she said. gWe werenft educated . . . and yet here we were stepping out in the world, trying to convert people. . . . Itfs a big responsibility to represent the Lord.h Through their experiences, they have found that the Lord takes care of those who serve Him. gWhen the Lord calls you, he qualifies you,h Sister Harvey said.

Finding the right opportunities: There are service opportunities to match almost any skill or talent a couple has. Couples are counseled to consider their unique talents and abilities as well as their health and financial situations when approaching the bishop or branch president. The capacities in which Brother and Sister Harvey have served are as varied as the places they have lived. They were pleased to serve wherever the Lord called them whether as humanitarian services missionaries, family history missionaries, or proselytizing missionaries.

Family: One of the greatest concerns shared by senior missionaries is being away from their families. For Brother and Sister Harvey that includes 7 children, 39 grandchildren, and 25 great-grandchildren. Leaving them for years at a time has been difficult, but they now feel closer to their posterity than they did before they left. gI can hardly express the love that grew between us. . . . If you think you canft go because of your children, youfve got it all backward,h Sister Harvey said.

Through it all, Brother and Sister Harvey have remembered that they are on the Lordfs errand. gItfs His work and His glory. You have to have faith that thatfs true,h she said.

Establishing a Heritage of Faith

The service Brother and Sister Harvey have contributed extends far beyond their mission boundaries. It has blessed their posterity in ways they never could have imagined. gWe are just in awe of what it has done for our children,h Sister Harvey said.

Their descendants attest that one reason they remain active in the Church is because of Brother and Sister Harveyfs example. gWhen the grandsons and granddaughters go out to serve in the mission field, they think of grandma and grandpa applying their heart, might, mind, and strength at their mature age and are inspired to do their best as well,h said Teri Kearl, one of Brother and Sister Harveyfs daughters.

Seeing the positive influence they had on their family after their first and second missions inspired Brother and Sister Harvey to keep serving. 

gIn a sense, as you go out and serve as grandparents, you are serving your family in many ways as well,h said Sister Harvey.

Their granddaughter Nicole Kearl, who is serving in the Idaho Pocatello Mission, recently wrote this about her grandparents: gSeeing their devotion to the Lord has given me a greater desire to serve the Lord. Ifm sure that my desire to serve a mission was partly influenced by their great example.h

Drawing Closer to Each Other and the Lord

Brother and Sister Harvey feel closer to their children and grandchildren because of their service, but theyfve also grown closer as a couple. Sister Harvey described their daily scripture study regimen as gthe greatest blessing ever.h

Brother Harvey added that he feels much closer to his wife through their continued service. gHer feelings are my feelings. When she cries I cry. When she laughs, I laugh,h he said.

Their relationship with the Lord has also grown as they rely on Him for comfort and guidance. gYou get out on a mission and youfre all by yourself,h Sister Harvey said. gYou rely on the Savior like youfve never relied on Him before.h

Brother and Sister Harvey found they were cared for as long as they were willing to listen to the promptings of the Spirit.

gItfs like the Lord keeps opening the doors . . . faster than you can walk through them,h said Sister Harvey. gA desire and a willing heart—itfs all you need.h 

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