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When Bruce Bowen’s retirement became a possibility, he and his wife Valerie began to think about a mission. The couple felt they had a few things they still needed to do before they were ready to go but decided to start the process.

The Bowens continued to prepare until they received some advice from their stake president: “Don’t put it off.”

The couple began to recognize that there is “always something going on,” and the advice from their Church leader kept coming back to them: “Don’t wait.”

“I’m so glad we followed that counsel,” said now-Elder Bowen, who serves with his wife as a self-reliance missionary in the Tennessee Knoxville Mission. “It has been such a good experience.”

Elder and Sister Bowen have been serving in Tennessee for nearly 17 months. Their assignment has been to teach self-reliance classes in areas all over their mission boundaries.

They are part of the Church’s 5,800 full-time senior missionaries and more than 23,000 Church-service senior missionaries serving throughout the world.

Although those numbers are impressive, they are only a portion of what is desired, said Chris M. Miller, who works for the Missionary Department of the Church, during a BYU Education Week presentation.

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