By Cecily Markland
Four Siblings Serve Missions Simultaneously
The announcement of the change in age for missionary service set in motion a flurry of activity in the home of Russ and Shelle Clouse, of the Southern Estates Ward, Mesa Kimball Stake.
Parents of 10 children, the Clouses had already seen five leave the nest to marry and start families of their own. With the announcement, the three oldest still at home put in their mission papers, got their calls and within a short time were serving in the mission field. A year later, a fourth left to serve in another part of the world.
“Our twins were 18 and a half in October two years ago when the announcement was made,” says Brother Clouse. “They weren’t planning to go on missions for a while, so they still had their braces on.”
Still, two months after the announcement, the twins—Ruston and Auston—were ready to submit their papers.
By then, “our 22-year-old daughter had come down with a bombshell,” saying she wanted to serve a mission as well. She submitted her papers in January.
Their calls came and the three left a year ago this past June: Ruston to Guatemala, Auston to Honduras and Kimri to the Georgia Macon Mission. Just about at their one-year mark, the fourth of the Clouse siblings, Redden, graduated from high school and shortly thereafter got his call to serve in the Peru Lima Mission.
“The boys have been planning to go all their lives. Our daughter said for several months she had been feeling she should go,” Brother Clouse explains. After a good friend of hers was converted and baptized, “and then several people, out of the blue, said to her, ‘You should go on a mission,’ and she knew it was time to pray about it.’”
People have asked how the Clouses have managed to outfit and keep that many missionaries in the field.
“We have a lot of faith,” Brother Clouse says, “and the blessings just come. They fall in our laps.”
He says they are fortunate to have several family members who contribute, and the missionaries themselves, “worked and saved enough to buy everything they needed to be outfitted and to cover the first few months they were out, so it hasn’t been completely left on us.”
The Clouses have enjoyed receiving weekly emails from four different countries. Brother Clouse was particularly thrilled when “Sister Clouse” was transferred to South Carolina to serve in a town called Beaufort.
“I served seven months of my mission in that same town,” he says, “and she has met three families I knew well.”
He and Shelle and some other family members will be traveling to pick Kimri up in January 2015. The twins will come home in June and then, before Redden returns home, it will be time for their youngest son, now a junior in high school, to serve a mission.
In the meantime, Brother and Sister Clouse enjoy serving in the Mesa East YSA Stake’s Countryside Ward, where he is in the bishopric.
“We love that. It keeps us busy,” he says.
It also allows them to feel the missionary fervor among the young single adults.
“We had a baptism in our ward two weeks ago, and we have two or three investigators right now. These young adults are great missionary examples.”