Recent Shrewsbury High graduate to serve mission in Taiwan


Ben Balmforth (Photo/submitted)
Ben Balmforth (Photo/submitted)

Shrewsbury – Ben Balmforth, a 2016 graduate of Shrewsbury High School, will have quite a different packing list than other recent high school graduates who are preparing to go to college.

In August, Balmforth will depart to serve a two-year mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the capital city of Taipei, Taiwan. He joins over 74,000 other young adult missionaries from the church who are serving in over 400 areas worldwide.

While in Taiwan he will spend his time doing charitable service and teaching the principles and doctrines of his faith in addition to lending help and support to local congregations of the church.

Balmforth, like other young adults who apply for a mission, do not request the location where they serve.

“I was pretty excited when I heard where I was going. I went to Beijing in April of this year with my school Chinese group. It is such an amazing city. I’m looking forward to spending some time learning and experiencing the Taiwanese culture,” said Balmforth. “I hope that I will be able to help a lot of people in Taiwan and teach them about Jesus Christ. I’m looking forward to serving in their communities and helping them in whatever way I can.”

In August Balmforth will go to Provo, Utah, where he will enter one of the church’s Missionary Training Centers (MTC) for a short period of time to prepare for his service as a missionary. While at the MTC he will learn how to teach his religious principles in a clear way to those who wish to know and understand. Balmforth who has studied eight years of Mandarin Chinese in school and is a member of the National Chinese Honor Society, will also take an immersion course to hone his language skills.

“I think the biggest challenge on my mission will be teaching in Chinese,” he said. “I’ll have to read the scriptures in Chinese a lot to familiarize myself so I can teach effectively.”

Balmforth, a lifelong member of the church and an Eagle Scout, will be leaving many things behind including his parents and two younger brothers, friends, his personal phone and computer, social media, and TV in addition to his beloved Boston sports teams. He will be able to keep in touch with family once weekly through a missionary email account.

Regardless of the sacrifice Balmforth has been planning on going on a mission since he was a child and feels fortunate to have the wholehearted support of his family.

“It takes a lot of courage to be able to put your college education off for two years, to leave your friends, family and the comforts of home to give your all to serving and teaching people in another part of the world,” said Balmforth’s mother, Allison. “ I think when he gives his best self to Taiwan, Taiwan will make a bigger impact on Ben than he will on Taiwan. I will miss him terribly but I couldn’t be more proud and excited for him.”

When Balmforth returns from Taiwan in the summer of 2018 he plans on studying economics at Brigham Young University in Utah.

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