As a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Andrew Lykins had a great desire to serve as a full-time missionary. He wasn’t quite sure that the traditional proselytizing mission was for him, but when he learned about a new program called Church Service Missions, he jumped at the chance and wanted to be on board.
Andrew, the 4th oldest son of Tally and Lisa Lykins of North Vernon, Indiana, was called to be a Service Missionary in February 2020. Andrew said he thought a Service Mission was a “neat idea” and liked the thought of being able to contribute in a positive way in his community. Rather than don a white shirt and tie and seek out people to talk to about Jesus Christ, Andrew’s daily uniform consists of work clothes, and his actions are his words. He spends his days serving his fellow man at various locations around the Columbus and Seymour areas.
When asked how a typical day is spent, Andrew says he usually rises at 6:30 a.m. and has personal scripture study. He then heads out to Love Chapel in Columbus to work every weekday morning from 8 a.m. until noon. He unloads trucks and helps keep the shelves full.
After that he spends two afternoons a week at Reins to Recovery in Reddington, a therapeutic equestrian center. The remaining three afternoons find him at his grandfather’s farm in Azalia helping with the farm chores. He drives the tractor and helps with the farm animals and an array of never-ending tasks.
To Andrew Lykins, this really isn’t work. These are all things he loves and he says he is “so lucky to be able to serve my fellow brothers and sisters and be a light in
A service missionary’s purpose is to help others come unto Christ by serving them as the Savior would. They serve voluntarily in charitable organizations, Church functions, and within the community. They minister in the name of Jesus Christ to the one, just as He did, expressing His loving kindness. They do not proselytize, they just serve.
The work he does at Love Chapel is greatly appreciated. It is a luxury to have someone show up consistently and on time. He can feel the appreciation that the managers of Love Chapel have for him, and it makes him feel good to know he is valued. He said he tries to do simple things without being asked and looks for what the needs are.
Reins to Recovery is a non-profit corporation since 2008 that promotes the physical, psychological and social well-being of persons with disabilities through their interaction with a therapeutic team consisting of a horse, an instructor and volunteers. Andrew, being one of those volunteers, helps get the horses ready for the sessions by brushing, feeding, and tacking the horses. He helps in the lessons by walking at the side of the rider to calm and reassure them.
This all comes naturally to him, as he loves animals, especially horses. Calli Johnson, the founder and Executive Officer of Reins to Recovery, said, “Andrew has been such a blessing. He is there every week on his scheduled days. I can always depend on him. He not only does the things I ask him to do, but he looks for things to do just to make everyone else’s jobs easier. You name it, he’s willing to do it. He has been a go-getter from the start, takes on challenges and the clients love him!”
When Elder Lykins was asked what the hardest thing about being a service missionary is, he said, “I don’t think there’s anything hard! I like showing up and being responsible.”
Another aspect to his mission is being able to interact with other service missionaries across the state of Indiana. Every Tuesday evening, they host a Zoom call that allows interaction and sharing of experiences. Andrew said this is a very uplifting time and he always looks forward to it.
For many young men and young women who are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a full-time proselytizing mission may not be in the cards. Russell M. Nelson, President and Prophet of the Church declared: “Through a lifetime of service in this Church, I have learned that it really doesn’t matter where one serves. What the Lord cares about is how one serves”. For those with physical, emotional or other health issues, a service mission allows the missionary to live at home, but still serve in an impactful and needed way.
Each service missionary is provided a customized mission experience uniquely tailored to his or her talents, skills, and gifts. During the course of their missions, it is common for service missionaries to serve in multiple assignments, including approved charitable organizations, Church operations, and other assigned service opportunities.
Lykins will conclude his mission in February of 2022. He then wants to head
off to college and study agriculture, returning home to work within the family farm enterprises. In the meantime, the Columbus area is greatly blessed to have him, and the people he has served have truly benefitted from his selfless efforts. A former apostle of the Church, Neal A. Maxwell once said, “God does not begin by asking us about our ability, but only about our availability, and if we then prove our dependability, he will increase our capability.”
Elder Lykins lives those words every day and his actions show how capable he has become.