Monday, July 17, 2017 - by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Lucas Vandehei, TJ Christensen and Joseph Wolfe – 2017 graduates of East Hamilton High School – have been called to serve as missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They are 18 years old and have responded to a prophet’s call to “invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end.”
These young men will serve for two years, without pay, as “a mission is a financial sacrifice made primarily by the missionary and his or her family” (lds.org ).
“A call to the work comes from God through the President of the Church,” as stated by Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Lucas, TJ and Joseph have prepared themselves spiritually and have been found worthy to engage in full-time service to the Lord. Virtue is a prerequisite for service. This is why they adhere to high moral standards and obey the Ten Commandments.
These young Chattanoogans will also engage in humanitarian and community service. Each will labor in different locations – but they will be required to work with all their “heart, might, mind and strength” (D&C 4:2). During their two-year service, they will focus entirely on missionary work. They will not date, vacation, watch tv, or movies and they will only communicate with family and friends once a week via email. Phone calls to family are limited to special occasions like Christmas, and Mother’s Day.
The commitment is tremendous. But these young men have been taught from their youth “to go into the world and preach the gospel” (D&C 80:1). And so, Lucas will go to the Salt Lake City mission, leaving July 19. He is the son of Brad and Wendy Vandehei. Lucas has two older brothers – Ethan and Jonah – and a younger sister, Laney. Lucas’ father, mother and brothers also served missions – Texas, Australia, Ghana, Arizona, respectively, and Laney is planning to serve, too. Lucas loves skateboarding and Xbox. His favorite scripture is from the Book of Mormon – “And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God” (Mosiah 2:17).
TJ Christensen is the son of Brad and Melanie Christensen. He enjoys sports, family, friends and skateboarding. He has four brothers – Connor, Coleman, Bridger and Cannon. TJ’s brother, Connor, just returned last week from serving in the Florida Tallahassee Mission. His father also served a mission, and his younger brothers plan to serve. TJ has been assigned to the Texas Fort Worth Mission. He leaves on September 13, 2017. His favorite scripture is from the Doctrine and Covenants – “Be thou humble; and the Lord thy God shall lead thee by the hand, and give thee answer to thy prayers” (D&C 112:10).
Joseph Wolfe, who also leaves July 19, has been assigned to labor in the Las Vegas Nevada Mission. His mission president will be Richard G. Youngblood, president and CEO at Blood Assurance in Chattanooga, who has also been called to serve for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. President Youngblood will direct missionary labors in the Las Vegas Nevada area for three years, and his wife will serve by his side. Joseph is pleased to be serving with President and Sister Youngblood. Prior to his call, Joseph was a cross-country runner at East Hamilton High School. One of his favorite quotes is from President Gordon B. Hinckley – “The distance between mediocrity and excellence can be ever so small.” Joseph is the son of Dan and Kathy Wolfe. He is the youngest of 7. He has three older brothers and three older sisters – Laura, Jonathan, Jared, Katie, Ashley and Jacob. His father and three of his siblings also served missions.
Lucas, TJ and Joseph are members of the Harrison Bay ward (congregation) of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints located at 3067 Ooltewah Ringgold Road in Ooltewah, Tennessee. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has a presence in 189 countries and territories across the globe. Currently more than 71,000 missionaries are serving in 422 missions worldwide. President John Griffey presides over the Chattanooga Stake (congregation), and all are invited to attend local services.