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Spotlight: Danville Ward

Elder And Sister Wiley

Posted: Sunday - August 6, 2023

On this Missionary Monday, let’s drop in on Mark and Eileen Wiley of Keeling, Virginia, the first senior missionaries to serve from the Danville Virginia Ward.

They are finding their mission rewarding and fun.

The couple entered the Provo MTC on February 27 and are serving in the New Mexico Albuquerque Mission in the Santa Fe area.

The Wileys are assigned to the Santa Fe Stake, which consists of six wards and four branches. They were asked to spend most of their efforts working with the Las Vegas New Mexico Branch, which is small, and takes an hour drive to reach.

“We initially thought our time would be spent visiting inactive members, but it has evolved into teaching classes in the evenings most of the week, said Elder Wiley. “We teach Gospel Principles, Temple Preparation, and Addiction Recovery classes in an effort to build and strengthen members. We do occasionally go with the Elders as they teach investigators and to stand as additional witnesses of what they are teaching. It is all very enjoyable as we see people making efforts to draw closer to Christ.”

They will also start visiting the other wards/branches one Sunday out of each month in order to try and cover the stake. They are also teaching a Gospel Principles class in the Espanola Ward, which is 45 minutes away. They will begin a new Addiction Recovery Program there as well on July 11.

To add to all the teaching responsibilities, they also have oversight of 16 young missionaries, whom they interact with weekly in zone/district councils and inspect their apartments and vehicles during every transfer. They also feed them as opportunities arise.

Elder Wiley explained that New Mexico is mostly Catholic due to the early Spanish influence, so helping new converts adapt to a new way of life is a big challenge.

“They eventually do adapt, but it does take a while,” he said. “Large remote areas and many addictions also present unique challenges. But the people here are very friendly and easy to love.

“Plus, Northern New Mexico is very beautiful with lots of things to do. We have visited native cliff dwellings so far and been to a real live rodeo to celebrate our 40th anniversary.”

He said there is a great need in the mission field for senior couples or sisters. He didn’t realize until he was actually involved how much they do behind the scenes to keep the church running.

“The types of service are so varied, and the locations are just about anywhere in the world. Using the tools found on the Church Missionary web page, a mission can be tailored to anyone’s circumstances, regardless of what they may be,” he explained. “Whether serving abroad, in your home country, or working out of your own home, the possibilities are endless and extremely rewarding.

“The Brethren are very diligent in listening to the Spirit about where to assign you, and the blessings that come are innumerable. We invite and encourage others to plan and serve when and if you can. You won’t regret it.”