Turning down million-dollar contract offers for two years of nonprofit service might seem silly to some. But that’s just what 19-year-old Australian rugby league star Will Hopoate did in May when he chose to become a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) instead of accepting a lucrative offer to keep playing rugby league. (Rugby league is a version of football popular in Australia and some other countries, similar to rugby but with some differences.)
A new “I’m a Mormon” video features Hopoate, who says he made his choice as a way to give thanks to God for his blessings, including his athletic ability. Hopoate has been assigned to complete missionary work in Brisbane, Australia.
While Hopoate’s fame brings more attention to his missionary service, missionary work in the Church is not unique. More than one million young men and women have given such service since 1830, and approximately 52,000 are currently serving. Like Hopoate, each of them has had to postpone personal pursuits to serve others.