Four young adults from Lilburn have departed or will leave in the coming weeks to serve as missionaries in the United States and abroad. All members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, these young men and women have made commitments of about two years to the mission field which they've chosen.
Brynn Ladd recently graduated from Brigham Young University with a major in linguistics. Ladd will serve at a Spanish-speaking mission in Mesa, Ariz., at the Visitor's Center of the Mesa temple.
"I am really excited to have the opportunity and privilege to serve a mission," she said. "When something has given you so much joy, you want to share it with those around you. I am probably most excited to serve near a temple, at the visitor's center."
Tanner Frost is a student at Brigham Young University and left Gwinnett County Wednesday to serve his mission in Everett, Wash. Tanner is the son of parents who both served missions, his father in Finland and his mother in Sweden. His father Thomas currently serves as Bishop of the Latter Day Saints Lilburn Ward.
Jeffery Baron just completed his first year at Brigham Young University-Idaho and will leave on Aug. 21 to serve a mission in Ghana. Baron, fluent in English and French, will use both languages while serving.
"I am looking forward to being able to return the favor for what I have been given and feel blessed for the gospel and want to share it with others."
Ronash Denis, a 2008 Parkview High School graduate, left the United States on March 31 and is serving a mission in San Paola, Brazil. He is happy to serve a mission where he will speak another language.
In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, missionary preparation starts early. Young people are taught about the gospel of Jesus Christ and missionary work as early as 3 years old. In their teens, students participate in programs in which they have opportunities to learn, improve several skills, and serve others.
During their high school years, students attend early morning seminary classes before school each day. Prospective missionaries also attend missionary preparation classes, and these same students learn the discipline of earning and setting aside their own money to fund a mission trip.
Missionaries are called to serve in one of 334 missions in approximately 120 different countries around the world. They begin their service at a Missionary Training Center, spending up to 12 weeks studying the doctrine, developing effective communication skills and, where applicable, learning a new language.
Young men must be at least 19 years old and serve for two years as missionaries, and young women must be at least 21 years old and serve for 18 months.