News Release

Young Church Service Missionaries Called to Serve in the Philippines

“Because of several health concerns toward the end of my high school education, I resigned myself to accept that I might not be able to serve a mission. Still, I prayed for an opportunity to make use of my talents and desire to serve the Lord, and He listened to my prayers with the opening of the Philippines NCR Service Mission last year.” These words rang true for Elder Orencia who is currently serving as a young Church service missionary in the Church Communication Department in the Philippines.

Elder Orencia, a young Church service missionary assigned in the Church Communication Department.© 2021 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

President Russell M. Nelson said, “A mission is a voluntary act of service to God and humankind” (“Ask the Missionaries! They Can Help You!” Liahona, Nov. 2012, p.18), and there are many ways of offering that service.

“We recognize that it may not be wise for some of our young men and young women to face the rigors and challenges of a full-time mission,” Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles has said. But this, he said, does not mean they cannot participate in the blessings of missionary service (“One More,” Ensign, May 2005, 69).

The Philippines Area Presidency has emphasized that for those who are honorably excused from serving full-time proselyting missions or return home early due to physical, emotional, or mental health-related reasons, the Young Church Service Missionary (YCSM) program provides opportunities for meaningful mission experiences.

What is a service missionary?

A service missionary is called by the Lord through His prophet to serve in an environment uniquely tailored to the service missionary’s interests, abilities, and talents.

Young full-time missionaries who return home early due to health challenges — during the pandemic or at any point in their service — are not the only candidates for a service mission.  

Service missionaries live at home and serve locally under the ecclesiastical direction of their stake president. Their assignments are customized to their capabilities, needs and interests, and they serve as close to full-time as their circumstances allow. Often, service mission leaders (similar to a mission president and his companion) are called to support service missionaries and identify service opportunities in their area.

Worthy young men (ages 18 to 25) and young women (ages 19 to 25) who are unable to serve a teaching mission for physical, mental, emotional, or other reasons may be called to a service mission, Elder W. Mark Bassett, a General Authority Seventy, and assistant executive director in the Missionary Department who oversees the Church’s service missionary program, explained.

Many service missionaries will serve the Lord in multiple assignments, including with approved charitable organizations, Church operations, and stake-assigned opportunities.

The objectives of a service mission include the following:

  • Provide an opportunity for all willing young women and young men to serve the Lord and increase in testimony of Him.
  • Help each service missionary prepare for a lifetime of service.
  • Provide needed and valuable service to the Lord through serving in Church and community organizations.

How are service missionaries called?

Young men and young women who are unable to serve a full-time proselyting mission are called to be service missionaries. This assessment is made either during the missionary recommendation process or after an individual serves a portion of a proselyting mission and returns home before the expected completion date.

Blessings of a Service Mission

As of December 1, 2021, a total of 35 young Church service missionaries have been called in the Philippines. They are serving in various Church departments as well as in their stakes and districts. YCSM assignments may include engaging in family history research, assisting with operations at the Missionary Training Center, helping with Church newsroom and the official social media channels of the Church, coordinating the “I Will Go, I Will Serve” initiative of the area presidency and monthly missionary takeovers, helping with the Church History Department and more.

Sister Calderon, a Young Church Service Missionary assigned in the Church Communication Department (CCD).© 2021 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

Sister Calderon who is from Catanduanes and is currently living in Quezon City with relatives to fulfill her service mission assignment emphasized, "The Church Communication Department (CCD) allows me to experience spiritually uplifting assignments to help me serve like the Savior. I regularly reach out to the “4600” missionaries and feature them on the Church's social media pages. My testimony and faith in helping others come unto Christ strengthened as I read their testimonies. I also assist and coordinate with full-time missionaries as they prepare for their missionary takeover every last Friday of the month. I have seen the Lord's hand hastening His work through technology. I have come to know that the Lord uses the unlikely to accomplish the impossible. I also help write articles for Church newsroom as well as help with administrative work in CCD.”

“I am grateful to serve the Lord and His children as a service missionary. I learned to be compassionate and joyful in serving others. I also continuously discover the unique gifts the Lord has in store for me as I contribute to build His kingdom here in the Philippines. It is truly a marvelous work when we center Jesus Christ in our consecrated efforts." Sister Calderon added.

Elder Costales, a Young Church Service Missionary assigned in the Missionary Training Center (MTC) Department.© 2021 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

Elder Costales, currently serving in the Missionary Training Center (MTC) since August 2021, shared the joys of his assignment. "There are plenty of tasks at the MTC. One that I really love is contacting incoming missionaries to ask questions and confirm information so that they will have a better experience in their training. Hearing them become excited as they anticipate the training that they will be doing motivates me to work harder and prepare the best for them. I didn't expect to be part of establishing the foundation of a great work among these future missionaries. I believe Heavenly Father has a plan for all of us. Sometimes, it may not make sense at first but because He loves us and knows what’s best for us, we will come to understand our purpose and mission. He lives and He listens to our prayers. I will continue to serve in His name and help others come unto Christ."

Elder Berones, a Young Church Service Missionary assigned in the Church History Department (CHD).© 2021 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

Elder Berones emphasized his exciting work. "Serving in the Church History department gave me a unique perspective in sharing the gospel. I have seen the importance of record keeping whether it's a personal journal or a ward's annual history. Come to think of it, the canon scriptures are literally glorified journals, and with me being responsible to preserve the records of Church pioneers and other important entities makes me feel like I have access to additional scripture. In coming unto Christ, our life stories become as important as in the scriptures and are equally worth preserving and sharing."

Sister Santon, a Young Church Service Missionary assigned to the Family History Department (FHD).© 2021 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

Sister Santos, serving in the Family History Department for the last 4 months shared, "My duty as a service missionary assigned in FHD is to work out my family tree, to index and review records, and help members of the Church find value in this important work using Church resources and technology. I have always felt the unconditional love of Heavenly Father for us because He Himself is making a way for us to be with Him with our families together, forever."

Loving and Ministering

Elder and Sister Adduru, currently serving as mission leaders in the Philippines NCR Service Mission have highlighted the amazing work rendered by the YCSMs, “We are privileged, blessed, and honored to work alongside these fine service missionaries, and it has been a great pleasure to serve Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ with them. 

“We are immensely grateful likewise to have such a wonderful support system - their family, the local leaders, and the area office - behind this work. Truly, the Lord’s hand, grace, and mercy continuously reach out to each one of His children, and His love is never diminished nor shortened by our flaws, challenges, and limitation. It is ever-increasing, ever-extending, and ever-unchanging,” they added. 

Elder Yoon Hwan Choi, General Authority Seventy and Second Counselor in the Philippines Area Presidency emphasized, “Your purpose is the same as a full-time missionary. You invite others to come unto Christ by helping them to '… succor the weak, lift up the hands which hang down, and strengthen the feeble knees. Wherefore, be faithful; stand in the office which the Lord has appointed you (as service missionaries). And if thou art faithful unto the end thou shalt have a crown of immortality, and eternal life in the mansions which I have prepared in the house of my Father." (D&C 81:5-6)

Elder Orencia who initially thought that he would not be able to serve a mission due to medical reasons reflected on his journey and looks forward with a perfect brightness of hope. “Like Nephi who responded positively to the Lord’s commandment despite the seemingly impossible task of retrieving the brass plates, I know that the Lord ‘giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save He shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.’ The Lord loves us and listens to us, and He will grant the righteous desires of our hearts.”

For more information on service missionaries, click here

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