A few years ago, Lorraine Samaseia participated in a mini mission for the Melbourne Wyndham Stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Melbourne, Australia. At the time she was 13, a year younger than the intended age group for the event, but the area’s mission president gave her special permission to participate.
“[It] was a bit scary at first, because there were no other young women my age with me,” she recalls. Lorraine was also worried about having to talk to strangers while she practiced proselyting. “I had heard about how some missionaries have bad encounters when approaching houses or people on the street . . . I couldn’t help but wonder if that was going to happen to us.”
But she refused give in to fear. She knew that the Lord would protect her and her companions throughout the 3-day event.
Serving a mini mission turned out to be extremely enjoyable. “Most of the people we met while door-knocking were friendly and respectful . . . even if they weren’t interested [in our message], they still asked questions about us, like, ‘Where are you from?’ and, ‘Why do you go on missions so young?’ We had great conversations.”
Lorraine was also grateful for her companions, who were the full-time sister missionaries plus a recently returned missionary (RM). “They gave me a few tips for door-knocking and teaching lessons, which have helped me gain confidence for my own real mission.”
In fact, she’s dreamed of going on a full-time mission of her own since she was in Primary. Her mini-mission experience only strengthened her testimony of Jesus Christ and her desire to share His gospel with others. Since then, Lorraine – who is 17 now – has been actively preparing to submit her missionary recommendation papers as soon as she is eligible in less than two years.
“I’m so excited!” she says. “I love going out with the sister missionaries, whenever I can, to proselyte, teach investigators and visit less-active members of the Church.
“One thing I have learned while preparing is to really study the scriptures in-depth,” Lorraine says, and a recent experience helped her gain an even stronger testimony about the importance of the Book of Mormon.
Since Church activities were restricted due to Covid-19, Lorraine has been doing a lot more personal scripture studying at home, supported by her weekday seminary classes held online. Seminary is a four-year programme where youth in the Church study each of the four standard works of the gospel of Jesus Christ – each testament of the Holy Bible, the Book of Mormon, and the Doctrine and Covenants (together with the Pearl of Great Price) – one book in each year.
In 2019, halfway through Lorraine’s third year in seminary, the Church made some changes to the curriculum, which meant her class – which had already spent a year learning the Book of Mormon – would study it again in 2020.
Lorraine says she was really confused about this sudden change. “Why does Heavenly Father want me to study the Book of Mormon twice?” she thought.
“Then I remembered our prophet’s invitation for us to join the Youth Battalion and gather Israel,” Lorraine said. “I knew that if I am to gather Israel, I need to have an extended knowledge of the scriptures, especially the Book of Mormon.” She concluded that the Lord wants her – personally – to know it so well because the people He is preparing for her to meet on her mission, they need to be taught the Book of Mormon.
Lorraine is now even more committed to her scripture studies, on her own and with her seminary class, and the more she learns, the more she understands why her desire to serve a mission is so strong.
“I was always taught the importance of [missionary] work, but I finally realize now why I want to go,” she says. “I love my family and I want to be with them in the next life. I know many people want that, too.
“I know that my purpose is to share the gospel with families . . . so they can be sealed together. I want to help as many people as I can to be with their families forever.'