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Employment Services Missionaries See Their Own Lives Change as They Serve Others

‘It isn’t really about you, but it is about being an instrument in His hands,’ says young service missionary

Elder Owen Romeril of Covington, Louisiana, began serving at Employment Services of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in January 2023. Photo provided by Employment Services, courtesy of Church News.© All rights reserved.

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By Mary Richards, Church News

When Elder Owen Romeril from Covington, Louisiana, was called to a service mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, he began with doing temple ordinance work, working for a local hospice organization and serving at his local bishops’ storehouse — which led to an opportunity serving at the nearby Employment Services office.

He answers phone calls at the office and connects people with resources such as one-on-one coaching, webinars and the Active Job Search program, also available at Employment.ChurchofJesusChrist.org.

As he has helped people who are looking for a new job or a better one, he has learned much that can help his own family and his future — and his testimony of the Savior Jesus Christ has increased.

“I’ve learned that it’s not about me,” Elder Romeril said, and pointed to Matthew 16:25, which reads, “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it."

The young missionary said he did not realize how many people he would be able to help on his mission.

“I’ve been able to influence a lot of people and I’ve been able to help my family. … I’ve learned that when you are serving, there are a lot of things you can do and God will magnify that. It isn’t really about you, but it is about being an instrument in His hands.”

Richard and Sheryl Pannell recently finished a mission with Employment Services in Houston, Texas. They said their own lives were changed as they saw how their efforts changed others’ lives — they felt like they were acting as the Lord’s partner.

“We are truly walking in His footsteps. Those we help come to know God’s love for them, and we come to know Him more fully.

“We are grateful for the Lord’s love of humanity and the opportunity to walk with Him, where we are able to see His children grow in self-worth, and identity as a beloved son or daughter of God,” they wrote in a LinkedIn post for the Church about their mission.

Elder Richard and Sheryl Pannell when they were serving as Employment Services missionaries in Houston, Texas. The couple was released in 2023. Image provided by Employment Services, courtesy of Church News,© All rights reserved.

Employment missionaries support those who are seeking new or better employment so they don’t have to go through their job search alone. They coach individuals one on one and in groups, teach effective job search skills, provide encouragement and help individuals build confidence.

Speaking on the phone used to be difficult for Elder Romeril. But he has become much more comfortable with it in the year he has been serving at Employment Services. He has also learned time management skills as he balances different service opportunities and responsibilities on different days. Every experience on his mission, he realizes, is for his good.

And as he and the other Employment Services missionaries help people with their employment — whether or not they are a member of the Church — Elder Romeril knows the work is of God.

“It helps to really show the title that Christ has of the Good Shepherd, how He is always reaching out to everybody and wants to bring everyone in. ... Christ is gathering His people now, and He’s using us to help everyone with their employment, no matter what stage they are at.”

Besides encouraging anyone who needs job help to reach out to Employment Services, Elder Romeril also wants to encourage other people to serve a mission.

“It’s a way we can give back to God who has given us everything,” he said. “It’s also a good way to disconnect from the world and business of life and really get closer to God ... to let that help you grow spiritually and let it anchor you in the gospel so that after you are done with your mission, you can still have that with you.”

Couples who are interested in becoming an Employment Services missionary can visit that section of seniormissionary.ChurchofJesusChrist.org. Young men and young women interested in a service mission can talk with their bishop and stake president and find out more at ChurchofJesusChrist.org/service-missionary.

A job seeker with a missionary at one of the Church Employment Centers in the U.S. and Canada.© 2024 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.
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