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Peterson have a mission tradition

Kevin, left, Jordan, Davis, Jason Peterson and their father Sean, will all serve two-year LDS church missions. Jason and Sean have completed their missions; Kevin, Jordan and Davis will serve in the coming years.

By Bonnie Vanecek, Contributor

Young people in the Latter-day Saints faith are encouraged to volunteer to spend two years on a proselytizing and service mission for the church. Previously, the age requirement for service has been 19 years old for men and 21 for women.

But in October 2012, the church changed requirements to 18 for men and 19 for women.

That change is directly affecting the Peterson family formerly of Hager City.

When they were children, brothers Jason, Davis, Jordan and Kevin each set a goal to serve a mission when they were old enough. Now, as the boys begin fulfilling their goals, the close-knit siblings find that they will not all be together again until 2017.

Jason, 21, returned in March from serving for two years in the Washington Spokane Mission. That was just a few months before Davis, 19, entered the Mission Training Center in Provo, Utah, on June 19. He will train for two months learning Portuguese before heading to the Brazil Manaus Mission.

"I am excited to teach the message of Jesus Christ to the people of Brazil because it has brought me such great joy and I want to share that with them," Jordan said. "I am very blessed to have this opportunity."

Jordan, 17, has already submitted his mission paperwork. He has been assigned to the Brazil Santa Maria Mission, where he will begin his service in September after he turns 18.

While Davis and Jordan will be in the same country, they will be 2,703 miles apart and will not see each other. Davis will serve in the constant heat and humidity of the Amazon, where Jordan will experience homes without heat during 40-degree winters.

The youngest brother Kevin, 16, said he looks forward to serving his own mission. He will start before his older brother returns.

"Serving a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints changed my life for the better and I am excited for my brothers to have the same great experience," Jason said.

The Peterson brothers will only have limited contact with their parents while they are serving. They will be able to call home on Mother's Day and Christmas and email home once a week where Internet is available.

"Having children who are willing to sacrifice two years of their lives to serve God and others is one of the most wonderful blessings I have ever known," the boys' mother, Lisa, said. "I will miss them dearly but there is nothing else I would rather have them do right now."

The boys' father, Sean, served from 1987-89 in the Austria Vienna East Polish-speaking mission.

The family lived in Hager City for nine years while Sean worked for Central Research. Their parents moved to Michigan in June.