The Mormon church encourages its youth to spread the message of Jesus Christ in two-year or 18-month mission terms. After a training time, the young people are sent out on their mission journeys.
Presently serving in Cleveland are Elder Sean Hagins of Weiser, Idaho; Elder Dalton Steele of Flagstaff, Ariz.; Sister Abigail Hollis of Palo Alto, Calif.; and Sister Kaylia Knauf of West Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada.
Hagins, 19, was 18 when he started his mission journey. He has primarily helped with the family farm. When he returns home, he plans to again farm and maybe continue his education.
His focus on this mission is to “help other people.” He wants to introduce others to what the LDS church teaches and help others gain a better understanding of the Word of God.
Steele said his goal is to help “people to know the joy and love we feel for the Savior and the Gospel.”
Hollis said they took on the mission as a way of “exercising greater faith and love of Jesus.”
She noted Jesus told Peter to “Feed my sheep.” She wants to follow his example of love and faith.
Knauf is excited about her mission. Her desire is to let her “Life and example bring people closer to Jesus. I know through Him all things are possible as long as you have faith. There are two parts of faith — believing and acting.”
She said in the training session they encouraged the missionaries to “read the Bible and Book of Mormon. They go hand-in-hand to come closer to Christ.”
Steele, who has an associate degree in criminal justice, plans to enter law enforcement field upon completion of his mission.
He noted “The idea of Southern hospitality is evident here. I’ve never been as happy in my life as I have been on my mission.”
Hollis has a bachelor of fine arts degree in television production and video editing. She has been active in her church. She has worked in many capacities at an animal hospital.
Knauf, 23, has been working as an administrative assistant. She plans to return to finish her degree in communication or psychology. She was “happy to be here ... I’ve always wanted to visit the South.”
The young people receive no funding for their missions. They must provide their own financing. They are often helped by family and friends to fund the effort.
While in town, the local Mormon worship center helps the youth by providing them with meals.
The local church is located at 420 Pryor Road.
The worship service is on Sunday, 9 a.m., with Sunday school at 10 a.m.
Individuals interesting in talking with the missionaries and learning more about the Mormons may call 423-994-1734.