Sommerfeldts Called as Mission Leaders
Sommerfeldts Called to Serve in Missouri
Professor Scott Sommerfeldt and his wife Lisa received a mission call to serve as mission leaders in the Missouri Independence Mission. They reported to the Missionary Training Center in June 2023 and traveled to Missouri to start in July.
Professor Sommerfeldt had been serving as Associate Chair of the Department of Physics & Astronomy. As a professor at BYU, he has worked with many students over the years. Looking forward to this new calling, he shared, “I’m generally teaching physics and acoustics, but I’ve been in a teaching setting for a lot of years, both here at BYU and in Church callings. Hopefully that will help me to engage these missionaries and teach them in ways that help them–the gospel, their purpose, life in general.”
The Sommerfeldts have been instructed to focus on Preach My Gospel and the missionary purpose as they begin their service in Missouri. They will build on the efforts of previous mission leaders and help the Church flourish in Missouri, an area rich with Church history. Brother Sommerfeldt said, “I’m excited to see many miracles–President Nelson told us we’d see many miracles happening and we should expect miracles. I think we’re going to see miracles in Missouri, and it’s going to be fun and rewarding to see how the Lord does that as we try to help carry the work forward.”
Preparing to serve a mission is a big task for anyone, and the Sommerfeldts are no exception. Sister Sommerfeldt recalled “stressing” about organizing their belongings and preparing to leave many aspects of their lives behind for three years. But in spite of these challenges, Brother Sommerfeldt shared, “We’ve seen the Lord’s hand over and over in things we could be worrying about or things that could be a big headache… but they get taken care of efficiently.”
Brother Sommerfeldt had originally planned to retire before leaving on a senior mission, but he has not officially retired yet. Instead, he will be on leave from BYU. “We’re going into service thinking that I am probably not coming back to teach and do research; I’ll call it quits. But we’ll see in two to three years. It’s been a good career,” he says. They plan to return to their home in Mapleton after their three year service. They look forward to focusing on their mission and plan to keep themselves busy; “We’ll do a lot together, probably almost every day,” Brother Sommerfeldt said.
The Sommerfeldts hope to accomplish what the Lord commands. Brother Sommerfeldt says that neither of them are going into the mission “with an agenda, or trying to leave a legacy. If we just do what we can to build the Lord’s kingdom, all that other stuff sorts itself out.” Sister Sommerfeldt shared that her goal is to “help the missionaries; strengthen their testimonies in Jesus Christ, and fulfill their purpose as a missionary.”
The important Church history surrounding Independence, Missouri makes the Sommerfeldts’ calling that much more exciting to them. They gave many examples of Church history sites they are excited to be near, such as Liberty Jail, Far West, and Adam-ondi-ahman. They hope to use the history of Liberty Jail “with our missionaries, to help them understand that during the greatest trials of our lives, there can be some of the greatest revelations and blessings that come to us.”
The Sommerfeldts both emphasized their strong testimonies of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Sister Sommerfeldt has faith that Heavenly Father will be guiding and helping them. “I’m so grateful to go teach others about Jesus Christ, because I know through living the gospel that is how we have true happiness,” she says. Brother Sommerfeldt expressed that even though they never regarded themselves as particularly great missionaries, they have felt confirmation that this mission is what they are supposed to do. “We are excited to serve and know that we’re doing what Heavenly Father wants for us.”
We are grateful for the Sommerfeldts’ contributions to the BYU community and particularly to our Department and College and wish them the best in their new calling.
Seneca Heilesen, Nick Freeman, Jared Logan, and William Giforos