. . . who shall declare his generation? Behold, I say unto you, that when his soul has been made an offering for sin he shall see his seed. And now what say ye? And who shall be his seed? (Mosiah 15:10)
A royal generation of missionaries serves in the Richmond Virginia Mission. They are finding others to join them as followers of Jesus Christ. Who will join in this family of Christ? Who shall be his seed?
We meet new members of the generation each week at baptismal services. Baptisms are wonderful, simple events. They bless the lives of everyone. We see people covenant to take upon themselves the name of Christ and keep his commandments.
There is another way to look at this generation. It is the generation of the Virginia Richmond Mission. New missionaries join this mission family every six weeks. Their arrival corresponds with transfers in the mission. In VRM language it is not how many months you have served, but how many transfers.
When new missionaries arrive a new generation is declared – often with confusing references. You hear Elder Smith refer to Elder Jones as his son. Or you may hear Sister Williams refer to Sister Anderson as her aunt. Given time everyone understands.
You come into the mission as a child. You are assigned to a companion who becomes your father (Elders) or mother (Sisters). It takes two transfers to grow up. Your first companion will always be your father (or mother). Most missionaries have very good parents. In unusual situations a child is unable to stay with his/her father or mother for the first two transfers. In these situations they are raised by a step-father or a step-mother.
A few transfers go by and a new missionary is transferred away from father or mother. The next companion becomes a brother (Elders) or sister (Sisters). For the most part brothers and sisters work well together to further the work of the Lord. In our mission we discuss helping others to reach the next covenant in their lives. For nonmembers it is the covenant of baptism and receiving the Holy Ghost. For others it is attending the temple and receiving the endowment, experiencing a temple marriage, or having a family participate in the sealing covenant. For many it is attending church on the next Sunday and partaking of the sacrament.
Back to the VRM family. With more transfers new relationships are formed in this generation. A father’s companion becomes an uncle and, likewise, a mother’s companion is an aunt (think about it for just a second). You can see where all of this becomes complicated. A brother’s son is a nephew and a sister’s daughter is a niece. Your son’s son is a grandson. So, Elder Newton could be Elder Adam’s great-great-great-grandson. Sister Evans becomes Sister Johnson’s step-mothers sister. Cousins are everywhere. We have to stop.
Additional language skills are necessary to understand what is happening in the mission. If both companions are transferred out of an area they are “shotgunned” to a new location. Of course when missionaries are shotgunned out new missionaries must be shotgunned in. This activity causes a “whitewashed” area.
In addition, just as missionaries are born into the mission they must die. A rather unappealing phrase occurs when you are with a companion during their last transfer, before they are released to return home. In this case you “kill” your companion. Recently Sister Palmer killed Sister Tanner in our zone. The good news is we know Sister Tanner is happily resurrected in Boise, Idaho.
In the VRM we are a peculiar people, with a peculiar language, but we enjoy bringing others to the marvelous light of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.
But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light (1 Peter 2:9)