Missionaries are interesting creatures. What they do is pretty remarkable, but they are, after all, still kids in a lot of ways.

The missionary handbook states: "Strive to fulfill what the President of the Church expects of you, as expressed in your call letter: 'You have been recommended as one worthy to represent the Lord as a minister of the restored gospel. You will be an official representative of the Church. As such, you will be expected to maintain the highest standards of conduct and appearance by keeping the commandments, living mission rules, and following the counsel of your mission president. You will also be expected to devote all of your time and attention to serving the Lord, leaving behind all other personal affairs. As you do these things, the Lord will bless you and you will become an effective advocate and messenger of the truth.'" That is a lot to expect of an 18/19 year old, but they do it day in and day out.

We have tried to help our missionaries understand that flashing signs in pictures is not maintaining the highest standards of conduct. That may seem like a little thing to some of you, but think about where those pictures go. I wonder how many missionary pictures are posted on social media in a day, and as Elder Bednar taught: "We should remember that the Internet never forgets. Anything you communicate through a social media channel indeed will live forever-even if the app or program may promise otherwise. Only say it or post it if you want the entire world to have access to your message or picture for all time." Signs mean different things in different places of the world. Just search the web; I think you will be shocked.

As representatives of the Lord, we need to be mindful of what we are saying when we flash a sign. What the world thinks of the Church, and surely the Church's missionaries, is driven by what they see missionaries doing in pictures posted online. I am so proud of our missionaries; they have caught the vision of this. I never have to remind them anymore. I still see pictures posted that were taken by someone else's camera and there are signs, but for the most part we are getting there. I am thrilled when I see a picture that I have not taken and our missionaries are portrayed as effective advocates and messengers of truth.

I have wondered about what this means in a global sense. What would happen if all of us who claim we are disciples of Christ appeared as His disciple in every post and every picture? Can you imagine the goodness that would flood the earth if we were mindful of Him just in pictures? It reminds me of Alma and his series of questions in Alma 5 of the Book of Mormon. One of the questions he asks teaches volumes about how we represent the Savior. He asks, "I say unto you, can you look up, having the image of God engraven upon your countenances?" I see that image over and over again as I look into the faces of earnest missionaries who are staving to represent Him and His truth.

April is interview month. We have been to Tutuila and Savai'i. President Tolman spends all day for ten days doing interviews. It is a joy to listen to him talk about how our missionaries are growing and changing and becoming true disciples of Jesus Christ. It is a blessing to witness!

Aren't they magnificent representatives?


  1. Beautiful message, Sister Tolman. It is a message for all of us as we represent the Savior in the way that we live our lives. Thank you for the reminder.

  2. Thank you for sharing! We are planning on sharing many of the messages from your blog with our children for family home evening topics while our son serves in the Samoa mission.

  3. Good morning, how are you?

    My name is Emilio, I am a Spanish boy and I live in a town near to Madrid. I am a very interested person in knowing things so different as the culture, the way of life of the inhabitants of our planet, the fauna, the flora, and the landscapes of all the countries of the world etc. in summary, I am a person that enjoys traveling, learning and respecting people's diversity from all over the world.

    I would love to travel and meet in person all the aspects above mentioned, but unfortunately as this is very expensive and my purchasing power is quite small, so I devised a way to travel with the imagination in every corner of our planet. A few years ago I started a collection of used stamps because through them, you can see pictures about fauna, flora, monuments, landscapes etc. from all the countries. As every day is more and more difficult to get stamps, some years ago I started a new collection in order to get traditional letters addressed to me in which my goal was to get at least 1 letter from each country in the world. This modest goal is feasible to reach in the most part of countries, but unfortunately, it is impossible to achieve in other various territories for several reasons, either because they are very small countries with very few population, either because they are countries at war, either because they are countries with extreme poverty or because for whatever reason the postal system is not functioning properly.

    For all this, I would ask you one small favor:
    Would you be so kind as to send me a letter by traditional mail from Samoa? I understand perfectly that you think that your blog is not the appropriate place to ask this, and even, is very probably that you ignore my letter, but I would call your attention to the difficulty involved in getting a letter from that country, and also I don’t know anyone neither where to write in Samoa in order to increase my collection. a letter for me is like a little souvenir, like if I have had visited that territory with my imagination and at same time, the arrival of the letters from a country is a sign of peace and normality and an original way to promote a country in the world. My postal address is the following one:

    Emilio Fernandez Esteban
    Calle Valencia, 39
    28903 Getafe (Madrid)

    If you wish, you can visit my blog where you can see the pictures of all the letters that I have received from whole World.

    Finally, I would like to thank the attention given to this letter, and whether you can help me or not, I send my best wishes for peace, health and happiness for you, your family and all your dear beings.

    Yours Sincerely

    Emilio Fernandez