News Release

Church Leaders Meet with Melbourne Missionaries


Elder S. Gifford Nielsen of the Pacific Area Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Sister Linda S. Reeves of the Church’s Relief Society general presidency, and Sister Carol McConkie of the Church’s Young Women general presidency met with missionaries from the Australia Melbourne Mission today. Also attending the meeting was Australian Church leader, Elder Robert J. Dudfield.

Elder Nielsen was accompanied by his wife, Sister Wendy Nielsen. Sister Reeves was accompanied by her husband, Mel Reeves, Sister McConkie was accompanied by her husband, Oscar McConkie III and Elder Dudfield was accompanied by his wife Darice.

President Cory Maxwell and Sister Karen Maxwell of the Australia Melbourne Mission also attended.

Sister McConkie told the missionaries, “My husband taught me how to be a missionary. His mission in Spain became a foundation of faith as we raised our family.”

She added, “Blessings will flow for generations in your family because of righteous missionary service.”

“I am the result of two missionaries knocking on my parents’ door when I was very young. Except for life itself, the greatest gift I could have received was the gospel of Jesus Christ in my life.”

Sister McConkie told the missionaries, “The Saviour walks with you. He knows you and loves you. You do what He would do and say as His representatives. That is your identity—who you are.”

Oscar McConkie told the missionaries, “You are special young men and women. The Lord loves his missionaries and blesses them.”

“We loved our missionary experience as mission president and wife,” Sister Reeves said. “We have commented together that we would go back there in a second.”

“Your mission does not end when you return home. As you return home, you can make it with flying colours because you have learned to follow the spirit. Virtue and cleanliness are so so, so important. Do everything to remain so when you go home.

Scripture study, prayer, keeping commandments and covenants. Make the commitment right now to ensure you maintain this at home. I plead with you, please, please.”

Sister Reeves added, “This is His church and priesthood power. Ordinances and covenants will bring every one of His children back into His presence. The Atonement of Jesus Christ makes everything clean.”

Mel Reeves said, “We are the parents of 13 children, but had over 500 missionaries we presided over when we were in the mission field. We now have 535 children.”

“You were not called here by accident. The Lord knows you and has called you here. As you are faithful and obedient the spirit will guide you. God will lead you to those who He has prepared.”

Sister Karen Maxwell and her husband, President Cory Maxwell, are coming to the close of three years of service and leadership in the Australia Melbourne Mission.

“We have loved serving with you,” Sister Maxwell said. “We are united in our efforts to preach repentance. We have a bond with all of you missionaries for eternity. I love your dedication to the Lord. You inspire me. Thank you for being you.”

“The Book of Mormon is a marvellous work and has been an inspiration throughout my life.”

President Maxwell said, it has been “a privilege to serve.”

“I know that the Book of Mormon is true. I would not want anyone to not know it, or that we have a prophet who leads and guides us today.”

Elder Nielsen shared with those in attendance his feelings for the Melbourne mission leaders. “The Maxwells have exemplied the teaching found in Timothy, ‘Be thou an example of believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.’ This is how they have led.”

Sister Nielsen said that mission presidents and their wives “are perfect for their missionaries.”

She asked the young missionaries to write on a card the qualities that they have seen and felt in their mission leaders. As some of the comments were shared, President and Sister Maxwell expressed gratitude for the outpouring of love that was evident. 

In concluding remarks, Elder Nielsen said: “We have come bringing the love of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.”

“You are absolute miracles, being here in the mission field. You have gone through the process, and your application has gone to prophets and apostles to assign you by revelation.

“Some of you have been assigned because you were meant to be here, and some have been called here because you needed to serve under the leadership of the Maxwells.”

Quoting from the Book of Mormon, Elder Nielsen urged the missionaries “to be agents to act, not to be acted upon.”

“Missionary service is a time to share the restored gospel of Jesus Christ to those we meet every day and to prepare for future service. We are here to create a foundation for the rest of our lives"

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