This blog covers the years 2014-2016 when we (the Robisons) were at the Ghana MTC. To see the blog covering the period 2016-2018 click on this link:

Friday, October 3, 2014

What do you call the Wife of a Mission President or MTC President?

So what do you call the wife of the MTC President?  She teaches, she gives medical advice, she administers, she ministers, she counsels, she leads Relief Society and a hundred other different things.

Above, Sister Robison teaches the MTC missionaries and below is President of the MTC Relief Society.

Or take the example of SisterRaelene Hill, who grew tired of those daily middle-of-the-night calls from her young Mormon missionaries.

         Sister Ralene Hill and her sister missionaries in Ghana Accra West Mission

Sure, stomach and digestion problems are endemic in West Africa, thought Hill, who oversees the LDS Church’s Ghana Accra West Mission with her husband, Norman Hill, but every night?

After a few months of such complaints, Raelene Hill figured out the proselytizers were eating food that hadn’t been cooked or preserved properly. She obtained permission from LDS higher-ups to buy a microwave for every mission apartment. When the ovens were in place, the number of calls plunged.

Hill’s microwave mandate represents precisely the kind of pragmatic thinking, problem solving and individual initiative that 400-plus Mormon mission president wives are doing all over the world these days.

As the faith’s 184th Semiannual General Conference gets underway this weekend, it marks the second anniversary of the historic announcement lowering Mormon missionary ages to 18 from 19 for young men ("elders") and to 19 from 21 for young women ("sisters"). With that change, mission president wives have seen their roles evolve and expand.

In addition to instructing elders and sisters in their charge on health and safety, today’s mission president wives are modeling how to lead discussions and speak in public; counseling the homesick, the newbies ("greenies" in missionary lingo) and the discouraged; teaching Mormon theology and participating in leadership councils.

The women sometimes advise their husbands on pairing missionaries into "companionships" — twosomes who live and work together 24 hours a day — and add their own inspiration, imagination and spirituality into the mission mix.
In other words, they are like surrogate mothers, but don’t call them "mission moms."

Everybody already has a mother, says David F. Evans, head of the Missionary Department for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The role of a mission president wife is "to train, to love and to inspire."

Don’t call her a "co-president" with her husband, either. Mission president is a "joint calling," Evans says in an interview from church headquarters in Salt Lake City, but only the man carries the title "president."

An appropriate moniker for "mission president wife" remains elusive, he says. The church’s all-male missionary committee recently asked the female LDS general auxiliary leaders to come up with one but so far has not settled on any that captures the job.

By whatever name, these women can have as lasting an impact on the young Mormons in their care as their husbands, who often rank as the most influential LDS leaders the missionaries will ever meet.

Mission president wives, who serve alongside their spouses for a term of three years, help set a tone for the mission, represent Mormon principles and practices, and exemplify a marriage in action.

And, though LDS authorities give broad directions on what the wives should be doing, their approaches are as varied as the women — their marriages, talents, personalities and challenges — themselves. Some bring children under 18 with them, so they have dual obligations to family and missionaries. Some are more comfortable in traditional female roles, talking about health, hair and grooming, while others emphasize leadership, doctrinal awareness and public oratory. Some are fluent in the language of the country; others rely on translators — most often the missionaries.

Such differences among these female leaders have always existed.

By Peggy Fletcher Stack, The Salt Lake Tribune, First Published Oct 02 2014 01:01 am

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