Our son is legally an ordained minister. A friend of mine has a son leaving soon for Spain and the government is requiring a copy of his Seminary graduation (this is a four year course of scripture study which many students take before high school or give up an elective course to take) and a copy of his Priesthood ordination certificate before he will be allowed a visa. Our son has been ordained an Elder in the priesthood and as such has the power and authority to preach and teach the gospel of Jesus Christ. He can conduct meetings, baptize, administer the sacrament, and bless the sick. He may even be called on to administer the affairs of a small branch of the Church. So our son really is an official, functioning minister. When he returns, he will continue with the same priesthood responsibilities only not on a full time basis. To maintain his legal status as a minister and to enable him to be an example to those he serve and earn their respect, He is required to live certain standards. If he violates these rules of conduct, he is returned home. All faiths expect exemplary behavior from their ministers and missionaries.
These people are representing the Lord and take their calling seriously. Our son knew what would be expected of him and chose to fully devote his life to serving the Lord for two full years. We are so proud that he is the sort of person who would be willing to do this. He knew that he would have to make many sacrifices. He would have to live with the people he served as they live. He would live on a meager income with no supplementation from family and friends. He would have little material wealth of any kind and no luxuries. He would live as a humble servant of the Lord. He would dedicate himself fully to the service of his Savior and as it says in the New Testament, with "no looking back" or longing for his past. This is why he does not call home except on Christmas and Mother's day. (we're really looking forward to talking to him). He always wears dark suits because that is expected of a minister in our culture. One day a week is his preparation day. A day for him to write letters, do his laundry, shop, clean and occasionally play a little ball with other missionaries or visit a sight. He ALWAYS remains with his companion. He tries to do nothing that will distract him from serving God and cause the spirit of the Lord to leave him. He does not date, watch TV or video's, or listen to secular music. He is up early, studies scriptures, proselytes and is in his apartment at the time his mission president advises. Our son is always addressed by his priesthood title, Elder, which denotes respect for his calling. It still amazes me that he really wanted to do this. He is such a good person. It is kind of hard to believe that he has willingly taken on such tremendous, adult responsibilities. He certainly deserves respect and support for his willingness to dedicate two years of his life to serving the Lord and mankind.