Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Small "I love you so much" Hands

Thinking of something your little one could slip into your package, or something to send in the mail.
I love sending my missionary brother something from little ones, even if it is a scribbled picture or recent photo of them. 

Tip Junkie had this sweet idea, she uses it for Father's Day, but I think it is a perfect easy craft for our missionaries. 

Monday, March 18, 2013

Stateside and Disappointed

The excitement, the anticipation, the wait is all over and the call has come. You wait to hear that you will be in some exotic place, with a foreign culture, surrounded by deserts, jungles, or seas. 
But that is not your call. Your call comes and you stare, and you think STATESIDE.
People cheer and spread hugs, but the thrill is over. 
Disappointment sets in.

If any of you have felt this or your missionary has felt this, share your feelings and how you/they overcame it. 
This hits home for me,
I have two brothers and the oldest of them just returned from a Mission in Brazil. We all waited anxiously for my next brother to get his call. WE waited and guessed and anxiously heard his call, OREGONWe could see a little of that disappointment on his face, but he assured us he was happy and ready to serve some Oregonians. It wasn't too long after his call that it was announced to the ward, and he had people come up and announce their condolences for stateside. And whisper "oh poor kid" in the background.Someone even told my Mom that "it must be hard, him not going foreign". Seriously we thought? He is fine and excited, determined that Heavenly Father wants him there, and the people that surround him have to bring him down to the pity praise level. It made me so sad that we can't just be excited no matter the call. 
It is not the place, it is the people that matter!

Hipster RM shares:
For anyone who has ever felt a twinge of disappointment or despair over their mission call, this one’s for you.
I was sitting in the San Francisco airport when my phone buzzed.
“Your mission call came,” the text message said.
Elation. After seven weeks of waiting, all that stood between me and Sister Buchanan was a connecting flight to Salt Lake and a shuttle to Rexburg.
The next 17 hours were filled with every emotion imaginable.
One moment I was drowning in my inadequacies, the next I was a pillar of faith. I contemplated all the incredible places I could be called to serve. I even prepared myself for the worst:
“I’m sure I would be happy if I got called to a place like … Wyoming, or Montana.”
While this thought  left me worried with a big “what if,” I was positive I would be soon preaching the gospel on the cobble stone streets of Europe or the jungles of Brazil.
I got to my apartment at 2 a.m. on November 28, 2009. I was freezing, starving and exhausted. The trifecta. And anticipation was slowly starting to kill me.
Per my mother’s request, I woke her up so she could be on the phone with me when I opened my call.
I stood in my living room with my  faithful roommate who waited up for me. Phone in one hand, mission call in the other, my freezing and trembling fingers ripped open the immortal white envelope.
You know that moment that everyone talks about when they open their mission call? You know, the one where they read “Dear Sister Buchanan, you are hereby called to serve…” and the spirit overcomes you and you start to cry because, oh-my-gosh you are a missionary!
That didn’t happen.
My eyes searched until they found what I really wanted to know.
Montana Billings Mission.
“What?!” I exclaimed on the phone to my mom.
“What? What’s the matter?” she asked in a groggy panic.
My heart sunk. They had a mission in Montana? I was sure this was a mistake. I couldn’t have been called there.
Where was that feeling of rightness everyone had told me about? It was not coming.
Not really knowing what to say, my Mom and I hung up.
I was suddenly furious. Montana? I got on my knees. I yelled at God. He was sending me here? I couldn’t believe it.
I took a shower. Cried. Went to bed.
Morning. Guilt. More prayer.
I got off my knees after thoroughly apologizing to the Lord for my reaction. But I still didn’t want to go to Montana. I was a city-loving-kind-of-gal and open fields, cattle and hunting season was not what I had in mind. How in the world was I supposed to connect with those people? We had nothing in common.
God kindly reminded me that “those people” were his children.
Filled with shame, I resigned myself to the inevitable fate of cowboys and meat and potatoes.
I went forward. It was the only thing I could do. I began to tell people I had received my call and tried not to mind when there was an obvious unimpressed inflection in their voice when they congratulated me on my call to Billings.
The weeks went by. I prepared. I prayed. February 10, 2010 came and I entered the MTC. I still didn’t want to go to Montana.
The MTC was incredible. It changed and prepared me for the greatest experience of my life. But I couldn’t ignore the feeling of impending doom when I thought of proselyting in Billings in a few short weeks.
Tuesday. Devotional. A member of the 70. Inspired.
He spoke about loving our mission. My district turned and looked at me. They knew my little secret.
He spoke of Ammon. Ammon was an incredible missionary because he became one of the people.
“Well, Ammon didn’t go to Montana,” I thought.
I studied Alma 17. I studied Ammon’s service as a missionary. I wanted to be just like him. I left the MTC. I sat on a plane flying to Billings on March 3.
I looked out the window. On our descent into Billings a sweet woman named DeLaine Ellis sitting next to me said this:
“I know it doesn’t look like much dear, but you’ll love it.”
She was right.
The dead, bare trees. The dirty snow. The overall brown look. It didn’t look like much at all.
“But think of its potential,” a still, small voice whispered to my heart.
Everything changed. I imagined it green, lush and thriving. I imagined spring. I imagined the faces of good people walking those dirty snow covered roads. I thought of the love God had for them. This place could be incredibly beautiful. Suddenly, it WAS incredibly beautiful.
My thoughts turned to myself and everything I was about to embark on. I wasn’t much of a missionary coming out of the MTC. I knew a few scriptures, I knew many truths. But I was as green as they came.
“But think of your potential,” that same voice whispered to me.
Chills. A lump formed in my throat. I promised myself I would love everything about my mission. I promised I would love everything about Montana.
And sweet DeLaine Ellis was right in every way. I did love Montana. I loved my mission more than I’ve ever loved anything. I would give anything to be sitting on a plane starting its decent into that dead, wintry town right now.
Spring came. The brown transformed into the most beautiful, lush green I have ever seen.
And just as winter transformed into spring, my pride transformed into gratitude. And not a day has gone by that I haven't felt that same love for that sacred place: Montana.
Thanks Hipster RM!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Girl Scouts

You see all those cute little Girl Scouts dressed up from head to toe in their uniforms this time of year. They are standing at walmart and the grocery store eager to sell all their delicious box's.

We just recently sent my brother a box of theses little yums. We hope he gets to enjoy them soon. Even far from home he can still share in these fresh little cookies, that remind me of home and childhood.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Tips to the Lord's Work

Keys to Missionary Work
by David Ren Jenkins

1)      Develop a deep gratitude for what the Gospel of Jesus Christ has done in your life such that it is consciously in the forefront of your mind throughout your day. (In other words, you think about it constantly.)

2)      Perfect your love of others and your desire to see them blessed by the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This, too, must be consciously in the forefront of your mind throughout your day. Soften your heart through scripture reading, prayer, and fasting, but DOING it is what matters. If you so choose, ‘take it upon yourself’ to share the word of God ‘all the remainder of your days’. Read and pray about Helaman 5:4. Also  come up with a list of scriptures that inspire you to do missionary work, such as D&C 4, Alma 36:24, D&C 60:2, Mosiah 28:3. etc.  Read and ponder them DAILY. If you do not do this daily, it will just be something you think about occasionally, but never do!

3)      Care more about others than what others think of you. D&C 60:2

4)      ‘One is all that matters’. One person. One soul is all that matters in all of God’s creation. Learn to love ‘the one’ enough to share everywhere, for every person you ever meet means everything to God.

5)      Be ready for you greatest fear. My greatest fear is that someone will yell at me and treat me rudely. I am ready for that fear. If someone does yell at me or treat me rudely, then (inside my mind) I say, ‘Yes! I did it! I talked to them!’It doesn’t matter what they say. I am not after an answer of ‘yes’ or ‘no’. I am after a ‘way of life’ of sharing, and each time I share, it will be so much easier next time. Sharing the gospel is about getting yourself to do it, over and over, in the moment and getting used to that.

6)      Don’t base your self-worth, or any judgment at all on what they say. Many people share the gospel and are so scared that the person might say ‘no’. IT IS OKAY IF THEY DO, as a matter of fact it is their right. When people feel it is okay for them, either way, they feel comfortable and will make a decision based on their heart instead of on ‘not wanting to hurt your feelings’.  This way they can feel the Spirit.

7)      Tell people what it means to you. Don’t try and convince them of anything through scriptural rhetoric and proof. Tell them what it has done for you (they can’t argue with that) and the Spirit will manifest the truth of it unto them.

8)      If you feel comfortable, they feel comfortable.

9)      The first thought is the Spirit saying, ‘Go talk to that person’.  The second thought is just you talking yourself out of it. Learn to recognize this! You can always give yourself ‘great reasons’ no to do anything (and you will find them!) Learn to talk yourself INTO it all day long.

10)   When the Lord knows you will talk to people, he will bring them out of their way.  This is a very important key. When you are willing and ready to talk to people (and maybe even pray and say, ‘Heavenly Father, please put people in my path today who are ready and I will talk to them.’) the Lord will drag them out of their way to meet you. When He drags them out of their way to bump into you and you just say, ‘Excuse me,’ and keep going, then He will be reluctant to do it again.

11)   Never condemn someone to saying ‘No’.  You can never tell if someone will say ‘yes’ or ‘no’. The person you are sure would say ‘yes’, may not be interested at all, and the person you thought would say ‘no’, may voraciously wish to hear the message. Never condemn someone to saying ‘no’ by not giving them the gift of choice. Let them decide.

12)   Share because you love them.  They will feel when you are speaking to them for this reason.

13)   Allow the goodness of the Spirit to flow within you as you speak.  You have so much ‘goodness’ inside, especially regarding the gospel. Allow it to animate you and your smile as you share the gospel.

14)   Know the strength of your message in the moment you share it.  In other words, ’No Stinky Rag’. If in the moment you share, you doubt anythingabout your message, yourself, or that the person may not want to talk to you, they will feel it. In the moment you speak, you must know the power of your message and the truth of it.

15)   Be conscious of where the other person is at, and follow the Spirit. When called upon, bear a powerful testimony about the truth of this message. But if you feel inspired, be conscious that they might need something different. Telling them this is ‘the one true church’, when they don’t believe there is a true church, may be like telling them, ‘This is the one true yogurt and you must eat only this kind’. The Spirit will let you know, but be ready to witness the truth, powerfully, at all times and in all places (Mosiah 18:8-9).

16)   When they feel the Spirit, invite them to make a commitment  (go to church, etc.). The Church spent a lot of money researching how people become converted. They found that when people feel the Spirit, and are asked to make a commitment, then they keep it, that is how they are converted. The key here is to always ask, but especially ask if they feel the Spirit. That is a key moment.

17)   If the Lord knows you will talk to people, he will drag them out of their way.  When you are willing to talk to people everywhere, the Lord will set up opportunities.

18)   Train your mind to be a ‘Missionary Mind’. Train yourself to consciously see missionary opportunities everywhere, and you act on them.

It is my prayer you will learn to overcome your fear and share, and make a difference in the lives of others constantly. The gospel is true, and not only true but so important. It can change the heart of any man or woman and return them to who they are as a child of God. It is my prayer we will do so, in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen- Brother David Jenkins

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Living ready to Serve

Tips for living: '10 Questions to Answer 

While Preparing for a Mission'

BY Wendy Jessen, For the Deseret News

{Wendy Jessen is a Southern Utah University graduate and a stay-at-home mother of six. Her email and she blogs}

With the recent announcement by President Thomas S. Monson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that lowered the missionary age to 18 for men and 19 for women, many may be wondering if they are fully prepared to serve a full-time mission.
Author Benjamin Hyrum White, a returned missionary, Brigham Young University graduate, and current LDS seminary teacher in Orem, Utah, has written a book which fully encapsulates what is necessary and expected as a missionary. "10 Questions to Answer While Preparing for a Mission" (Cedar Fort, $10.99) is a masterfully written "manual" specifically for those preparing to serve missions, but is also effective for anyone planning to attend the temple or who simply wants to live the gospel more fully.
Some key tips White offers are:
  • Be sure to live worthily to have the Holy Ghost as a constant companion, to have a testimony and be prepared to enter the temple. Being worthy is a major part of being able to share the gospel.
  • Know how to work — hard. Missionaries have busy schedules, with little time for much else than the Lord's work. Being responsible and working hard now is important to being fully prepared.
  • Understand what "success" really means. Hint: it isn't necessarily how many baptisms a missionary has or doesn't have.
  • Have a plan to avoid idleness upon returning home from two years dedicated to serving the Lord. Enrolling in college and obtaining a job are two suggestions to keep working hard and not become a sloth.
Whether serving a mission soon or wanting to live a more inspired life, White provides some questions for readers to answer about themselves and their spiritual progress.