When 18-year-old Ethan White of Lebanon entered the U.S. Naval Academy in 2010 as a “plebe” (first-year midshipman), he was designating the next nine years of his life for military education and service. His plan was to graduate in four years with a Bachelor of Science in Quantitative Economics and complete five required years of service with the Navy. After two years of undergraduate work under his belt, plans changed.

On a break from school after his sophomore year in 2012, Ethan said he received a spiritual confirmation that before he could serve his country, he must first serve God. With that in mind, he submitted his application to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to serve a voluntary two-year mission. While waiting for the paperwork to go through, Ethan spent his time working allowing him to finance the majority of his service mission. He worked in the education field helping immigrant students in Chinatown, New York. Through that experience, Ethan learned how to communicate across age, gender and cultural barriers. That experience would prove valuable because in January 2013, he was called to serve the immigrant-rich country of Argentina as a full-time missionary.

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