"Make no mistake about it, Elder Holland said. Senior missionaries do mean a lot to the LDS Church's overall missionary effort.
"It's almost impossible to say how much these couples mean to the work," he said. "Every mission president in the church wishes he had more of them."
"The couples report to the field with strength that the young single missionaries do not have due primarily to age, experience and maturity in the gospel...The only problem was," he added, "we didn't have enough of them."
Elder Holland remembered a time during his service in Chile when the parent of one of the Chilean missionaries died. The mission president was far enough away that he couldn't get to the missionary quickly.
"But there was a sweet older missionary couple serving in the area. They came and sat with that missionary and tenderly cared for and comforted him until the mission president could make personal contact," Elder Holland recalled. "We had great young missionaries in our missions, but no young single missionary could have done for that elder what that couple was able to do."
Similarly, senior couples are often "literally an answer to prayer" for bishops and branch presidents in the areas to which they are assigned.
"Our numbers are small in many areas of the world, and our local leaders are relatively new to the church and somewhat inexperienced," Elder Holland said. "Can you imagine what it means to a branch president who has only been a member of the church for a few years to have ready access to veteran church members who have served as bishops and high councilors and auxiliary presidents and teachers? The value of that resource is absolutely incalculable".
We are losing several of our senior couples soon. We will miss them. They have become our friends as we have served together.