For this episode, we spoke with Jeff Strong about the experience of missionaries in today’s mission field, including the unique challenges and opportunities they face. This conversation was based largely on a document Jeff wrote, called “What One Mission President Would Tell His Own Grandchildren About Serving a Mission.” Jeff wrote this document after his experience as the mission president of the Bentonville, Arkansas Mission.
We found Jeff’s reflections on missionary work to be refreshingly candid and deeply insightful. He illuminated how in many ways, our culture can be afraid to share honestly what a mission can be like. It’s not “all roses,” as he says — and talking openly about the thorns doesn’t have to be a bad thing; not only can we be more honest about the mission experience, but we can honor the difficult parts of it that cause the most growth.
Jeff also emphasizes that not every missionary, or every young person, is the same — and that’s ok. He shares several experiences that show how God works differently in different lives, including different types of missions and different lengths of service — including the choice not to go, or not to stay.
Jeff has worked as a senior level executive at several multinational companies and has spent 28 years in management. He’s also worked as a consultant and private equity advisor, in addition to serving as a special project director at BYU’s Marriott School of Business, where he led the startup of the Marketing Lab. In 2018, he and his wife Sara were called to the Bentonville, Arkansas mission, where Jeff served as President until 2021.
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