Randy Hayes, a faculty member in the Department of Religion, and his wife, Laura Hayes, have been called to serve in the Costa Rica San José East Mission.
Randy Hayes has been called as the new mission president.
He said their family has lived in Rexburg since he began teaching at BYU-Idaho 28 years ago.
Laura Hayes said the two of them were driving back to Rexburgon December 19, 2014, after a wedding when they received a phone call requesting that they meet with Elder Russell M. Nelson.
She said they changed into their Sunday clothes, turned the car around and headed back to Salt Lake City.
“We had a nice visit with Elder Nelson, and then with Elder Eyring, and he called us at that time to the Costa Rica San José East Mission,” Laura Hayes said. “We were stunned.”
Randy Hayes said his mind was full of questions.
“You just wonder if you can do what they’re asking you to do,” he said.
“With any calling, you feel inadequate,” Laura Hayes said. “You realize how hard you have to work to prepare and hope that Heavenly Father makes up the difference.”
Randy Hayes said the entire process of receiving and accepting the call was complete within an hour and a half.
“We were both taught by our parents that you never turn down a calling,” he said. “That’s how we were taught, and that’s how we’ve always been. To date, Heavenly Father’s always helped us in all of our callings, and so there’s no reason to believe he will stop now.”
Laura Hayes said she has wanted to have an opportunity to serve a mission for years and, specifically, that she wanted to serve a mission with her family.
Randy Hayes said their youngest daughter, Lizzy, immediately expressed her desire to go to Costa Rica when she learned of her parents’ call.
Currently there is only one mission in Costa Rica, the Costa Rica San José Mission, according to the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Randy Hayes said that will change this summer when the mission splits into the Costa Rica San José East Mission and Costa Rica San José West Mission.
According to the Deseret News, 11 new missions have been announced to open around the globe July 2015, while 120 new mission presidents have been called to begin their service at that time.
“Newly called mission presidents come from all walks of life, from many geographic locations, from varied experiences in Church leadership and from diverse family compositions,” according to Mormon Newsroom.
Mission presidents have a variety of responsibilities in their service.
“They are directed to first maintain their own well-being and that of their families,”according to Mormon Newsroom. “They will instruct missionaries to effectively teach gospel principles, as well as to maintain their individual health.”
Mission presidents are also responsible for the baptism and confirmation of new converts and the growth and progress of new members of the church, according to Mormon Newsroom.
The Hayes have been preparing for their service since January. Their preparation started out with paperwork, and by February, the couple started receiving official training related to their callings.
Randy Hayes said their preparation has included reading Preach My Gospel multiple times, instruction about the mission president and missionary handbook, and training in medical matters. They have also been in contact with members of the Seventy.
Randy Hayes said the Costa Rica San José East Mission is a Spanish-speaking mission and he will have to be able to communicate, teach, help and counsel missionaries in Spanish.
Currently, Lizzy and Laura Hayes are taking Spanish lessons with tutors at the Missionary Training Center via Skype.
Randy Hayes said newly called mission presidents receive three days of training at the MTC, and then depart to their missions.
The family will arrive in Costa Rica on June 29, and the current mission president will leave the next day. The mission will then split, and the two new mission presidents will begin their service.
Randy Hayes said no plans have been made whether or not the Hayes family will return to Rexburg after their service.
“It’s too far out there,” Randy Hayes said. “We’re going to wait and see.”
Laura Hayes said she and her husband are grateful for the support their family has received from the MTC and the Church’s missionary department.
“We’re learning a lot about faith,” Laura Hayes said. “It’s something to talk about faith. It’s another thing to depend on it.”