Missionary work is normally something that is associated with young men in white shirts with black name tags knocking on doors. But, retired Rugby, Warwickshire residents Keith and Christine Withington, have taken the brave step of volunteering to serve a full time mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Adelaide area of Australia.
This self-funded venture will see them leaving friends and family to focus on people that need help. The weather in Adelaide can reach 40c in the summer and that is something that this couple are not used to. Keith Withington said, “We have been preparing to serve a mission for the Church for a number of years. That preparation has involved both studying and saving”. Keith added, “We will be engaged in helping people from all walks of life and taking the opportunity to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with them.”
Whilst they will be able to Skype with family members from time to time, they will not see them in person for 18 months, until they return home.
For many years now, older retired couples have been encouraged by the Church to serve missions, like their young counterparts, and there are currently nearly 7000 mature missionaries serving around the world in many capacities. When missionaries apply, they can express a preference about what type of mission they would like to serve, but all are prepared to go and do whatever the Church asks them to do.
Keith explained, “For many years we were determined to serve a mission, to be able to take the Church’s teachings to others and testify of the truth of it. We are really looking forward to serving and we know we will gain great satisfaction from assisting others, but, we are not looking forward to the spiders that they have in Australia!”