News Release

Service Missionaries Help People Come to Christ

Nearly 3,000 service missionaries help in their congregations and communities in 34 countries

Elder Marco Diodato is one of nearly 3,000 service missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints scattered throughout 34 countries.

Like all service missionaries, the Aquila, Italy, native was called by inspiration under the direction of Church Prophet and President Russell M. Nelson, as the service missionary call letter says, to “help others come unto Christ by serving them as the Savior would.” Elder Diodato and other service missionaries live at home and volunteer in community charitable organizations or their local Church functions and congregations.

Unlike the faith’s 55,000-plus teaching missionaries, service missionaries do not preach or baptize. But, Missionary Department Senior Manager Greg Droubay said, a service missionary’s contribution is equally important.

“This is God’s work,” Droubay told some 400 service missionaries gathered in person and via broadcast for a conference in Las Vegas in February 2023. “You have the opportunity to be His missionaries. Teaching missionaries, it’s been said, are His voice, and service missionaries are His hands.”

Downloadable B-roll and SOTs

The video below is a full cut of what will be included in the April 2023 edition of the World Report, which will be published on Wednesday, March 29, 2023.

Service missionaries serve for 6 to 18 months (young women ages 19–29) and 6 to 24 months (young men ages 18–25). They serve as close to full time as their circumstances allow.

Elder Diodato, who is autistic, helps in his local congregation, in the Rome Italy Temple and at the Rome FamilySearch Center.

He serves, he said, “because I have felt the Spirit many, many times in my life.”

“He is sunshine,” his service mission leader Ester Petrollini said. “He is always happy. He is always positive. And he has all this love to give. And his best friend is Jesus Christ. He has longed to serve his friend, his Savior.”

“He has wanted to serve since he was in primary school,” his mother Olimpia added. “He loves to sing, so the hymns we sang always had missionary work as a theme. He is now able to do things that are only possible with the help of the Lord.”

Some service missionaries started out as teaching missionaries whose mission was cut short by accident, illness, or other health conditions. Sister Salote Kinikini of Utah is one of those. After coming home from Santiago, Chile, due to health concerns, she now serves as a service missionary for Newsroom in the Church Communication Department. She joyfully edits video for the Church’s social media channels.

“I just threw myself into it, and it’s been a great blessing,” Sister Kinikini said. “I’m just grateful to Heavenly Father for everything that He’s given me.”

“We were grateful for that tender mercy” of a service mission, said her mother, Marie. “[She has a] desire to serve.”

Another service missionary, Elder Preston Dean, previously served as a teaching missionary in Ghana. Severe health challenges limited his time in Africa. He’s now back home in Las Vegas, serving in facility maintenance at the Blind Center of Nevada.

“[This has] really opened my eyes,” Elder Dean said. “For the rest of my life, I kind of want to dedicate it towards helping others, not just looking out for myself.”

Ryan Wilson, an employee at the Blind Center, praised Elder Dean’s work ethic and determination to overcome health challenges and serve.

“That is, to me, amazing,” Wilson said. “He has the best head on his shoulders. It will be sad to see him go.”

Elder Conner Leavitt of Henderson, Nevada, was set to serve as a teaching missionary. But then his father died and he was assigned as a service missionary.

“I was so happy because that meant I was able to be there for [my mom] and be able to help her [and my family] in struggling times,” he said.

Elder Leavitt serves in various ways at the American Heritage Academy in Henderson, a school he attended in his youth.

“It’s amazing to watch others progress and to help them with that progression in their lives [and] help develop those skills,” Elder Leavitt said “It’s beautiful.”

Elder R. Jeffrey Parker, an Area Seventy in Nevada, said the service missionaries he sees “have a tremendous number of Christlike attributes. They are absolutely the most beautiful, wonderful, kind, loving young men and young women that one could ever imagine.”

And, like all missionaries, Elder Parker added, service missionaries “are called on a mission for the purpose of serving others.”

Those interested in learning more can visit the Service Missionary section of ChurchofJesusChrist.org.

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