Missionary duties as a Mormon can be hard at times, but for Elder Allen, 20, and Elder Boydston, 24, the work is well worth it.
Mormons have the option to go on missions and spread the word of God: for two years, missionaries give up TV, radio and Internet to concentrate on their faith.
“It’s not too big of a sacrifice,” Allen said. “The message that we share is so important. I am perfectly happy with giving that up for two years.”
“It gives me a lot of joy,” Boydston said. “It allows me to focus.”
Although they cannot regularly search the Internet, they are allowed to contact their families once a week, for which they are grateful.
“We email our families every week,” Allen said. “We can call them twice a year on Christmas and Mother’s Day. It is just something that you get used to. This mission is the hardest thing I have ever done, both physically and mentally.”
“At the beginning, it was hard to leave my family for two years,” Boydston said.
They are allowed to leave their missionary work if the mission becomes too difficult, but Boydston and Allen are dedicated to completing their missions.
The preparation work to become a missionary worker is quite involved. First, potental missionary must approach his or her Bishop and fill out paperwork. The paperwork is sent off to Salt Lake City, Utah, to be reviewed. Once approved, applicants learn about their mission.
Before leaving, the worker attends training at the Mormon Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah. Their training is based on location. If a missionary does not know the language of the country, his or her training may take longer.
Both elders worked hard early on in their lives to save enough money for their mission. They pay out of their own pocket for their location assignment. Allen started working at age 13 doing yard work.
“I started saving up money as a teenager,” Allen said. “Every year I would save up. I worked for a lady down the street and did yard work.”
Boydston started worked around age 16. He was heavily involved with music, and was able to use his talents to help pay for his missionary work.
“I gave private violin lessons,” Boydston said. “I was heavily involved in musical ensemble. My senior year in high school was probably the busiest year for me. Every period, it was musical ensemble after musical ensemble.”
Recently, the Church of Latter Day Saints announced a lower age restriction for missionary work. Men can now start at age 18, and women can start at age 19. Both elders were excited about the announcement.
Their missionary work involves approaching people and informing them about the word of God. Both were nervous about their first approach.
“It can be awkward, Allen said. “I didn’t know what to say I was a 19-year-old kid, but it gets easier over time. You do it because you love the people. The longer you’re out, the more you learn that everyone around you is a child of God.”
“I held the Book of Mormon, and looked up and down at the book and said, ‘I am a missionary and here is a Book of Mormon,’ Boydston said. “After a while, it becomes easier.”
Both elders invited anyone interested in the Mormon faith to visit mormon.org or to attend a service at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Newton at 1405 N. 11th Ave E.