The Ince family, of Kitchener, Ontario, have a multi-generational heritage of missionary service. On a wall in their home is a “missionary family tree” that includes pictures of all family members who have served, or are currently serving, full-time missions for the Church, including Leona’s parents, Lorne and Bessie Diebel, who served several missions, including one in Abbotsford, B.C.
Before their marriage, Glen and Leona Ince each served missions, Glen in the England London mission and Leona in the Missouri Independence Mission. Leona remembers an event that occurred after her mission:
“On the day my son entered the mission training centre, which was December 31, 2014, I received a facebook request from a person whose name I didn't recognize.
“Normally I would delete such a request, but something prompted me to ask how I knew her. She told me her name was Myrna and she had met me while I was on my mission. My companion and I had taught her and her mother, but they never joined the church at that time.
“Myrna told me that it took 25 years of missionaries, but she finally joined the church. She and her husband have been sealed in the temple and are temple workers.
“She just wanted to let me know that the seed that we had planted came full circle and she had joined the church. That was such a testimony of missionary work to me and how we never know when the seeds we planted will grow.”
All five of their children have either completed missions or are currently serving.
Leona said, “There comes a time when children can no longer rely on the beliefs of their parents. They must develop testimonies of their own of the gospel of Jesus Christ and His infinite love for all His children. Sharing that knowledge on a mission is the fastest way for that testimony to grow.”
Elder Landen Ince, the fourth of the Ince children, served in the Canada Calgary mission.
Sorella (Sister in Italian) Alyssa Ince served her mission in the Italy Milan Mission. One experience stands out to her:
“My companion and I had been given a list of names from the bishopric of some people in the ward who they felt needed a visit. One name stood out to us, and we didn’t think she lived too far away.
“We located her street on our map and set out on our bikes to visit her. When we arrived at the street, we checked the numbers on the houses and realized that, since the street was, in fact, a lot longer than we thought, it was going to be much more of a journey than we had anticipated, through the long, bendy, cobblestone streets, in the August heat. But I felt very strongly that we needed to go, and we needed to go right then.
“As we rode I reflected on these feelings that I had just had. I knew it was the spirit prompting me to continue. I envisioned that we would be welcomed with open arms. She would introduce us to her family and many baptisms would follow.”
“After riding for what seemed like forever, covered in sweat and very thirsty, we finally arrived, but as we approached the house we realized that it was empty.
“I was disappointed and confused. We had to reschedule our next appointment, and surely there was a better way we could have spent our time than riding to the middle of nowhere to an empty house.
“We got on our bikes and started the long journey back home. Admittedly I was feeling frustrated, so when we noticed the one person on the otherwise empty street, I wasn’t very eager to stop and talk with her. Fortunately, my companion decided to stop, and we met Tiziana.
“We greeted her and introduced ourselves as missionaries of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Her eyes seemed to light up as we talked about the principles of the gospel and the restoration. I had never met anyone so willing to learn! Before we could even ask, Tiziana offered us her phone number and we set another time to meet.
“Riding back that day felt amazing. I knew we had been guided there, not to meet the woman on the list, but to meet Tiziana. I felt the Lord’s love for Tiziana. I felt the love that Heavenly Father had for me, that he trusted me to follow the promptings of the spirit. I felt love toward my companion who had the courage and hope to stop to talk to Tiziana.
“The greatest gift I have ever been given is the gift of the Holy Ghost as my constant companion. Sometimes it can be difficult to understand the purpose of each prompting that the spirit gives, but I know that they are always a part of the Lord's plan.”
Sister Meghan Ince is currently serving in the Tennessee Knoxville Mission. She recounts:
“At the beginning of my mission, we were having a hard time finding someone to teach who would progress towards baptism. We were working hard and being as obedient as we knew how and yet struggled to find someone.
“We had been praying to find someone who was prepared to hear the gospel, so one morning we specifically prayed to find someone, that day, who was prepared to hear the gospel.
“We knew that we had to put our best efforts towards finding them, so we went out and we worked hard and did our best. The end of the day came and to our disappointment, we hadn't found anyone promising at all! I knew that God doesn't always answer our prayers when we want Him to, but I couldn't help but feel disappointed.
“Then.... we got a phone call, and we were given a referral for a girl named Clarissa. She had already read all of first Nephi and we had an appointment booked with her for the next night. At that lesson, we taught the whole Restoration of the Gospel.
“The spirit filled the room. When we asked her how she felt, she said it all sounded so familiar.
“About a month and a half later, Clarissa entered the waters of baptism.
“It was such a testimony to me that God hears our prayers and when we do all we can, He will make up the difference. He may not answer it how or when we want, but he always will answer. I know God loves me and hears my prayers.”
Sister Kylee Ince served in the North Carolina Charlotte Mission. She recalls:
“A good faith building experience for me happened about four months into my mission.
“My companion and I had been out all day. We had about half an hour left before we needed to head for our dinner appointment and didn't have any more people who we planned to see, so we decided to say a prayer and ask Heavenly Father where He needed us to be.
“After our prayer, a name came to my mind. It was the name of a 14-year-old girl that we didn't have permission from her parents to teach. I told my companion what I thought the spirit had told me, and, after some discussion, we decided to go.
“When we got to the 14-year-old girl’s street, we saw a lady in a motorized wheelchair. We stopped her and introduced ourselves, taught her about the restoration, and gave her a copy of the Book of Mormon. She continued to meet with us, and a few weeks later she was baptized.
“From that time forward my testimony on prayer and the spirit grew immensely.”
Sister Brianna Ince served in the Salt Lake City Temple Square mission and went outbound for four months to the San Fernando California mission.
Harold G. Hillam, Of the Presidency of the Seventy, speaking in the October 1995 General Conference, said:
“Why have these great missionaries and others like them been willing to sacrifice the comforts of home, family, loved ones, and sweethearts to answer the call to serve? It’s because they have a testimony of Jesus Christ. And when they know Him there is no bed too short or too hard, no climate too hot or too cold, no food too different or language so strange that they are unwilling to serve Him.”
In the book of Mosiah, we read of the desire of the sons of Mosiah to serve. “Now they were desirous that salvation should be declared to every creature, for they could not bear that any human soul should perish; yea, even the very thoughts that any soul should endure endless torment did cause them to quake and tremble.” (Mosiah 28:3) These words could be used to describe all who choose to leave their homes and families to serve the Lord:
President Hillam continued:
“No sacrifice is too great to serve the Master, who sacrificed His all to provide the way for His brothers and sisters to return home to their Heavenly Father. And because they are faithful to their callings, thousands will revere their names throughout the eternities.
“I testify there is no more majestic call than to be in the full-time service of our Redeemer, to help to bring our Heavenly Father’s children to the knowledge of Him who has made eternal life possible….” (Sacrifice in the Service, Harold G. Hillam Of the Presidency of the Seventy)