News Story

Maritime Couple Accepts Mission Call to Alberta

Effective July 2016, George and Lisa Pattison of Hampton, New Brunswick, will put their lives on hold for three years as they join over 400 married couples in becoming mission presidents for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Pattisons will be as surrogate parents to approximately 200 missionaries, predominantly between the ages of 18 and 23, in the Canada Edmonton Mission.

George will be responsible for training and assigning companionships to different areas within the mission, helping them accomplish their goals. Lisa, acting as the mission “mom,” will be responsible for ensuring the overall well-being of the missionaries.

“Increasing numbers of selected men and their dear companions catch the wave [of enthusiasm] as they are called to preside over missions of the Church,” said President Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in 2013. “In that service they will shape the destiny of generations born and unborn. Mission presidents hold keys of responsibility for the welfare, safety and success of their missionaries” (“Catch the Wave,” April 2013 general conference).

Having served as a Mormon bishop and stake president in New Brunswick, George hopes he and his wife will become role models for the missionaries in their care. He often reflects on the relationship he had with his mission president during his two-year proselyting mission in Ogden, Utah, before his marriage to Lisa, who had earlier served a seven-month mini-mission in the Maritimes. He remembers how inspirational his mission president and mission president’s wife were. “They felt like grandparents!” he says.

Lisa is excited about the Canadian east–west connection that their mission will provide. “Everybody we talk to [in New Brunswick] has a connection to somebody in Alberta!” At the same time, she says, “It’s a little overwhelming to think about putting life on hold for three years to do missionary service at this stage in our life, while we’re still parents [with children at home] and still employed. But we feel that if God wants us to do this, we’re willing to do it to the best of our ability.”

Thomas S. Monson, president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, often refers to treasured family experiences during his call to preside over the Church’s Canadian Mission, headquartered in Toronto, Ontario, from 1959 to 1962. He now meets each year with newly called mission presidents and their wives before their official assignments begin. In such gatherings, he has offered the following counsel: “My brothers and sisters, you have been hand-selected. You have been chosen from among the most faithful in the Church, and now you have the opportunity to go forth in the Lord’s harvest field. You are going to build rich memories. The next three years will be among the happiest of your lives” (“President Monson Instructs, Counsels New Mission Presidents,” Church News, June 2013).

George and Lisa are humbled to serve together. “It started many years ago when we sought to do that which God would have us do in our lives, … and blessings often require sacrifice and service,” says George.

Speaking to a group of new mission presidents and their wives in 2015, President Monson said, “I testify to you that whom God calls, God qualifies. This promise extends not only to you but also to your missionaries as well. When we are worthy, when we strive with faith nothing wavering to fulfill the duties appointed to us, when we seek the inspiration of the Almighty in the performance of our responsibilities, we can achieve the miraculous” (“President Monson Shares Love of Missionary Work with New Mission Leaders,” Church News, July 2015).

The Pattisons have seven children, five by birth and two more by choice who have been with the Pattisons since their teens. Their 13-year-old son will join them in Edmonton.

Contributed by Kayla Fraser

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