Millions of right hands were raised today—in the Conference Center, in chapels, and in living rooms all over the world. By this action, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints sustained 3 new members of The Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. We welcome our new Apostles, Elder Ronald A. Rasband, Elder Gary E. Stevenson and Elder Dale G. Renlund, and we thank them for their willingness to serve.
We will likely learn many new and interesting facts, stories, and tidbits from their lives as time goes by. For today, and here at LDS Missionaries, we share a little about their missionary service.
Elder Ronald A. Rasband
Mormon Newsroom shares this story about Elder Rasband’s mission call when he was a young man.
“Elder Rasband says the scriptures have been a life-long source of personal guidance for him. As a 19-year-old he received a call to serve as a missionary. He hoped to be called to Germany where his brother and his father had served. As he privately opened the letter he was perplexed to learn he would be serving in the Eastern States Mission headquartered in New York City.
“‘Ultimately I decided that I needed to get a testimony of this or I was going to be in a real sorry condition. I knelt down by the side of my bed and I prayed. You know, I’m just a 19-year-old, I didn’t have that much experience in the scriptures, but I grabbed my Doctrine and Covenants and it opened at the one hundredth section and I began reading.
“Therefore follow me and listen to the counsel which I shall give until you…and an effectual door shall be opened in the regions round about in this eastern land. Therefore, verily I say unto you, lift up your voices unto this people” (Doctrine and Covenants 100:2-3, 5).
“I had a witness come across me that not only should I be enthusiastic about that call but I knew it was exactly where the Lord wanted me to go. And I went from depression about my call to elation about my call that fast’.”
Mormon Newsroom also shared some of Elder Rasband’s feelings about being a mission president:
“His service in the Church is extensive: bishop; mission president; supervised the North America West, Northwest, and three Utah areas; a counselor in the Europe Central Area Presidency; executive director of the Temple Department; a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy since April 2000 and Senior President of the Quorums of the Seventy since April 2009.
“‘The calling that brought me to my knees the most, and that was serving as a mission president,’ he said. He oversaw hundreds of missionaries in the New York City area, serving with his wife. ‘My view is that it doesn’t matter what you’ve done in business. It doesn’t matter what your occupation has been in life. There is really nothing that can completely prepare you or even closely prepare you to be a mission president and companion. So I really learned to rely on the scriptures.’
“‘I really learned to rely on the Lord. I was on my knees more on that assignment than ever before in my life,” he continued “I was caught in situations that I had no experience in, things I didn’t know how to deal with and the Lord spoke to me through the Holy Ghost and I knew what to do. So I began to understand and learn the power of being spiritually dependent on a higher source.'”
Elder Gary E. Stevenson
Mormon Newsroom shares this about Elder Stevenson’s missionary service:
“More than nine years of Elder Stevenson’s life have been spent living in Asia. As a young missionary, he served for two years in the Japan Fukuoka Mission. ‘Missionaries develop a love for the people and the place.’ Later, he would return to Asia many times on business, and then served as the mission president of the Japan Nagoya Mission (2004-2007) and as Area President of the Church’s Asia North Area (2008 – 2012). ‘It’s really my second home,’ he said. ‘I’m very, very comfortable in Asia.’
“When a major earthquake hit Japan in 2011, Elder Stevenson was serving as the Area President of that region, and experienced a ‘defining moment’ in his life. ‘We knew immediately that this portended to something really big somewhere on the island. To see the destruction, to see the loss of life, to walk the streets and see it and feel it and be with people who were affected with family members that were gone. And to be able to see a response and to help shape a response. That was a manifestation of the Church of Jesus Christ filling one of its divinely appointed responsibilities of caring for the poor and needy. If there were people that were needy, this was them.’ He described it as a sacred privilege to be able to “go and minister, and bless, and organize assistance. There was so much we learned about the goodness of humanity'”
Elder Dale G. Renlund
Mormon Newsroom talks about the heritage of faith in Elder Renlund’s family that began the moment his grandparents met the missionaries:
‘With tear-filled eyes, Elder Dale G. Renlund describes a family legacy of faith and hope built on the restored gospel of Jesus Christ that has sustained and inspired him throughout his life. Both sets of his Nordic grandparents ‘instantly converted’ to the gospel in 1912 when they heard the message of Mormon missionaries and made great sacrifices for their newfound faith. That pattern continued with his own immigrant parents, who came to the United States in the late 1940’s so they could marry in a Mormon temple. ‘That kind of faith is what’s in my family. Does it motivate me? Absolutely’.”
LDS.org shares this about Elder Renlund’s missionary service:
“Elder Renlund was raised in a home where the blessings received from following the Lord’s counsel were cherished. He was also blessed to live in his parents’ homeland twice: once as a teenager when his carpenter father was called to Sweden on a Church-construction mission and several years later as a full-time missionary for the Church in Sweden.”