Many families have multiple missionaries out at a time. But very few have missionaries out from three generations.
Elder and Sister Smart, a senior couple currently serving in the Cape Verde Praia Mission, raised their family of eight in Riverton, Utah. The joys from serving a mission and bringing others to the gospel was often a topic of conversation in their house, and has resulted in many returned missionaries in the family.
The age change in the October 2012 general conference had a big effect on the Smart family. Their youngest son, Carlin, had just graduated the June before and was anxious to leave sooner rather than later. By the end of that October, he had his call to the El Salvador Santa Ana Mission, where he has been serving since March, 2013. Not long after that, the Smart’s grandson, Elder Matthew Maxfield, turned his papers in during his last year of high school and had his call to the Oregon Salem Mission in his hand before he had even officially turned 18. The Smarts didn’t know it then, but they were next.
They attended a special meeting in June of 2012 to learn about the new missionary changes. And even though they had originally decided to wait three years to retire and serve, Sister Smart reports that the spirit spoke to them on their way home from the meeting, and they knew they needed to go then. They turned their papers in that July, the same month that their grandson entered the MTC, and were in the mission field by November 2013—which means they will still be back in time to welcome their son home from El Salvador.
Sister Smart says that their family has been blessed in many ways from having so many missionaries out, including a son who was able to get married in the Salt Lake Temple and a son and daughter-in-law who were finally able to get pregnant. While they have been gone they have also become great grandparents twice. “We have been able to share the same feelings and experiences we are all having with our son and grandson, and it seems like the hearts of our whole family have been turned to thoughts of missionary work and service,” Sister Smart shares, “We left a large family trusting them all to our Heavenly Father’s care, and He has blessed them and also us so much. D&C 100:1 says ‘your families are well; they are in mine hands…’ Now we have found another family here in Cape Verde that we will love forever also.”