Monday, November 18, 2013

LDS Member Accepts Senior Mission Call To Tennessee Almost Five Years After Receiving A Liver Transplant

Lanny and Gloria Littlefield of Henderson, Nevada have accepted a call to become senior missionaries. They will depart for Rogersville, Tennessee on December 2nd, 2013, and will spend the next 18 months driving through the area to visit less active Church members and encourage them to return to full activity. The Las Vegas Sun refers to it as a "leadership mission trip".

What makes this call even more impressive is that, according to the Las Vegas Sun, 67-year Lanny Littlefield received a liver transplant back on February 7th, 2009. Brother Littlefield's original liver had become scarred and swollen from a rare case of nonalcoholic cirrhosis; his odds of survival were marginal. According to a February 2009 Sun article, it was quite difficult to find him a matching liver because because matches have to come from a donor who is similar in stature, and Littlefield was 6-foot-4 and nearly 300 pounds at the time. He was forced to retire from teaching biology and coaching football at Green Valley High School, causing his family to struggle to make ends meet. At the time of his transplant, his liver was so deteriorated that it caused his heart to begin to fail. The organ donor was 27-year-old Nicolaas Unlandt Jr., a Dutch native who emigrated to the United States in 1990. His obituary does not give the cause of his death, but states that he was hospitalized the last two years of his life, and that he had arranged for his other vital organs to be donated to people in need as well.

The Littlefields did not serve ordinary proselyting missions when they were younger, opting to get married instead. But they always nurtured a desire to serve a mission. Even when Brother Littlefield's medical prospects appeared grim, he says he knew he would go on his mission. The fact that he received a liver transplant from a 28-year-old man merely strengthens his desire to give something back.

Seniors get considerable more latitude in selecting their missions than the younger folks. Senior couples can choose either 6-month, 12-month, 18-month, or 23-month missions. Senior sisters 40 year of age and older can also request mission calls. The LDS Church regularly publishes a Senior Missionary Opportunities Bulletin to provide information on the different calls available.

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