Friday, April 26, 2013

Getting Along

Serving two by two isn't always as easy as it sounds. Sometimes you find your best friend for life, or you seem like you just got added to their hit list. Either way getting along is an essential part of the mission. I enjoyed reading this post from Hipster RM, that shared advice for getting along. 

I will be sending a few of these tips along in my emails to my brother, his current companion seems to be one of these "sweet spirits" as mentioned below ;)

Getting Along with Companions: 

Tips and tricks for future missionaries

Let’s be honest. If your papers are in or your call has been assigned, the following has crossed your mind at least once: “I really hope I don't have a crazy companion.”
Well, you probably will have at least one. #reality
But every RM has been there and I’ve yet to hear of a a missionary being released for murdering his companion. And by released I mean incarcerated. #youvegotthis
Whether you like it or not, you'll be spreading the good Word two by two.
Whether you like it or not, you’ll be spreading the good Word two by two.
But here are a few tips and tricks from some classy RMs on how to deal with those sweet spirits.
“I did have a rough 3 transfers with the same person, and I love the guy but we didn’t mesh very well at all. We taught well, but our alone time was full of tension. I think a lot of it had to deal with me being a bit of a punk, which I’m sorry for. I would think it was me not knowing how to climatize to another’s upbringing.” -Jordan Welch, Montana Billings Mission
“Try to empathize with them, I had a comp with severe depression and anxiety and I probably learned more from him than any other companion because I had to try to put myself in his shoes. Try to see things from their point of view.” -Cameron Dunn, Oklahoma Tulsa Mission
“Service service service.” -Jordan Mills, Mexico Merida Mission
“The end of a transfer(s) will always come. I look back now and realize that my hard transfers weren’t really all that bad but lacked the perspective at the time to realize it.” -Justin Wilcox, Taichung Taiwan Mission
“I’d just say the main thing is is to quit complaining get over yourself and realize you guys are there for one goal and one purpose. And as you focus on the Lord everything else magically falls into place and you will be so busy with work you won’t have time to bicker back and forth!” -Jordan Unga, Montana Billings Mission
“Service was NOT the solution for me. Service just made him hate me all the more. I just did my best to ensure that I wasn’t harboring any negative feelings or thoughts. The few times we had peace were when we found a common interest. He knew I liked to draw and he wanted to learn to paint so on P Days we would paint together. Find common ground (something besides the church)” -Tanner Gilliland, Brazil Joao Pessoa Misson
“When you get into an argument, slowly but carefully switch your position to the side your companion was taking. If they’re still disagreeing with you, point it out. Best experiment I ever tried.” -Michael Lanham, Montana Billings Mission
I agree that service is good, but I had a comp who HATED when I tried to serve her. Once we found something we both liked we bonded. She was the worst, but that was the transfer that I most learned about the atonement.” -Jessica Black, Brazil Fortaleza Mission
“I had on really hard comp we didn’t get along at all but what I wish I did was focus on his strengths one he was a convert so he related well with people. I would say to pray for a way to get along with him and repent for the hard feelings. Trying to see where they are coming from is helpful. Even if you do not like them love them and compliment them on what they do well. Having comp inventory was helpful. When someone talks bad about them stand up for them don’t agree or if someone is giving them a hard time again stand up for them.” -Brock Seymore, Montana Billings Mission
“Serve your companion, make them breakfast, make their bed, etc. You cannot truly love someone if you do not sacrifice for them. Sacrifice your time by doing something for them even if that means to listen.” -John Bottema, Washington Seattle Mission
“My stake president gave me some good advice when he set me apart. He said that I should always try to make my companion a successful missionary. If you’re doing what’s best for them, you’re forgetting what you want and working toward a common goal. And heck, if your companion is successful, chances are you probably will be too.” -Kinsey Bowman, California San Diego Mission
“Just suck it up, work well together, and most importantly work hard while following the spirit. And of course, don’t make it obvious” -Mitch Adams, California Roseville Mission
“Something that helped me a ton was when there was something that bugged me or a concern that I saw in my companion I wouldn’t point it out straight away, I would wait a couple three days (if it wasn’t an obvious problem that hurt our teaching) and see if it was a pattern or if that was really the thing that was bugging me. It gave me time to gather my thoughts and when comp inventory came I had constructive things to say and it made me sound less like an idiot. Other times I knew that the behavior wasn’t anything wrong and I just needed time to adjust to it, if I’d “corrected” them in the moment it would’ve been unnecessary.” -Shane Wood, Montana Billings Mission
“I learned how to stand up for myself with my tough companions, I didn’t teach the way they wanted or wasn’t as cool as they thought I should have been but sometimes you have to stand up for yourself-respectfully! I’ve heard of Elders slamming eachother into walls and breaking doors and stuff and that’s not productive. Make sure that you’re doing what you feel is right and try to work it out as best as possible.” -Emily Ivie, Montana Billings Mission

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Mailing Cookies How To

I had to share this awesome post on sending cookies in the mail. Whether they are peanut butter, sugar, chocolate chip, or a home recipe; this Mom gives all her secrets on her cookies sent from home. 

A Word About Mailing Cookies

from Missionary Mail 

I thought I'd include a few tips about mailing cookies to your missionary.  Lucky for me, Mason is serving in the United States and he receives his mail in just two days usually IF I play my cards right.  I've done a bit of research on the post office and how things 'move' around there.  I've also experimented with different kinds of packaging.  Here are my results:United States Post Office: Don't you just love those men and women who rain or shine, sleet, snow or hail do their darndest to deliver our mail?  What an amazing group of dedicated workers!  We tend to take things for granted here in the good old U. S. of A. and trust me, other countries do not have it as good as we do.  Our mail system is OUTSTANDING and I for one am totally fine with postage rates increasing by a few cents every year.      Did you know that the mail never stops once it's in the system?  Your local post office might be closed on the weekend and your mail carrier may have Sunday off, but once your package is in the system I have been assured that it is moving.  Always moving until it reaches it's final post office to await delivery.      Depending on how you mail your package (Overnight, Flat Rate, Air or Parcel Post or slow boat to China) your package can arrive very quickly or be delayed by sitting in the local post office waiting for the next day that the office is open.  For example:  If I get my cookies to the post office just prior to the post office closing, my package is going to sit in the office overnight until pickup the next morning.  If I get my cookies there just prior to closing AND towards the end of the week, my package is going to sit in a post office on Mason's end until they can deliver it on Monday.  Be very careful when you mail too close to Federal holidays.  Your package may sit at the other end of it's destination for as many as two to three days if the holiday is on a Monday. your cards right and your cookies will arrive ever so fresh and tasty.Packaging:  I've tried it all.  Seriously.  I bake, package, mail and then sit patiently (ok, I'm never really very patient but I'm known to occasionally give it a valiant effort) awaiting Mason's email on Monday to see how his package arrived and how they tasted.  I've tried Ziploc bags packed carefully in 'ghost poop' (styrofoam packing peanuts) or popcorn = crumbs and "not too fresh tasting either" (he cautiously mentions while trying not to hurt my feelings); plastic toss-away containers (Gladware, etc) = fresh but broken.; and wrapping each cookie separately in Saran wrap and placing them in a smaller box then inside a larger box for mailing = broken and again, not so fresh.      The best way to mail them that I have found thus far:  Pringle's potato chip containers.  Seriously.   Use the regular size cans not the jumbo "see how much I can eat and not get sick" size.     Just rinse them and dry them well.  If the chips were a rather pungent variety, say maybe Mesquite Barbecue or Sour Cream & Onion, you might want to leave the lid off for a day or so to let it air out.  Nothing worse than one of Mom's famous chocolate chip cookies with an onion aftertaste.     I use a small scoop to scoop out the dough onto the cookie sheets for baking which makes the cookies just the right size for the can.  Bake the cookies and let them cool completely (so they don't sweat inside the can) then stack inside and seal with the lid.  Viola!  You can tie a ribbon around the can so that the lid won't pop off in transit but I usually just mail it in a medium sized flat rate box.  The width of the box is the exact length of the Pringle's can.  No way that puppy is coming off.  Another perk about using the Pringle cans?  I can decorate and label them!  Cute!!    A final word about freshness.  It is absolutely essential that your cookies are the freshest they can possibly be.  Don't make them the day before and then run to the post office just before closing on the next day.  Try very, very hard to bake and send on the same day and as early as you can in the morning.  Some larger post offices have more than one pickup during the day.  A friend in Utah mailed gloves to her son in New Jersey on her way to work in the morning and he had them the next day.  Now that's incredible!

Decorating Your Cookie CanisterITEMS NEEDED:

decorative paperspray adhesive or gluepaper cutter or scissorsembellishments, if desired

     Decorating your cookie cans is a very simple project.  Cut your paper to size and then removing the lid, adhere the paper to the can using spray adhesive or glue.  Follow directions on the can of spray adhesive.  Follow the temperature guidelines completely.  If you spray your paper outside and the temperature is not warm enough, it doesn't matter what you do, it's not going to stick.  Allow to dry completely then label or embellish as desired.  Fill can with cookies and replace lid tightly.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Bike Survival Kit

I came across a fun BIKE SURVIVAL KIT package idea via pinterest. Which I am totally excited to make for my brother!

I especially loved this poem that went with it:

We know you're on a bike now

 And it’s hilly and it’s hot.
 You think you would be used to it
 But your body say’s you're not! 
Sometimes there is some puking
And sometimes there are some tears
Sometimes that single, mammoth hill
 Seems like it takes you years!
 So here’s a September Survival Kit
 We hope it gets you by
 And helps to survive those ruthless miles
 And makes you smile not cry!

 Dear  Elders:  Use these items to store 
in your backpacks for when you have miles to go!  

The package includes items for your missionary to store in their backpack for long bike rides. 
Including fruit snacks, granola bars, beef jerky, lip balm, bandaids, ibuprofen, vitamin c drops, gatorade drink mix, candy bars, antacids, and mints. 

Here is a link to the blog where I get this fun idea, she named it September Survival Kit :

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Prepping for Sisters

Article found at Tips for Sister Missionaries:

Especially for sisters-- prepping

Some of the best suggestions given while preparing to serve include: 

1)   Wear your mission clothes for at least 1 month to check out the fit, especially shoes. Some missionaries get into the field and then find out how uncomfortable they are walking in cute shoes all day. Be more practical and be comfortable. Tired, achy feet slow down the work.

2)   Start taking vitamins and probiotics a month or two prior to leaving home. There is a lot of strange and wonderful food in this world and just because it is edible does not mean you will feel great afterwards.

3)   Sisters have personal hygiene needs monthly. Try to determine what kinds of supplies you will need during your mission and the availability in the area you will serve. Stateside, you will have a Walmart around every corner. Foreign areas may have low quality, if any supplies. Be prepared to take 18 months worth of supplies like my friend did for Japan. 

4)   First aid kit and medications. Get some instruction if you have never dealt with allergies, a cold, flu or stomach upset by yourself. Buy a thermometer at the dollar store and put it in. A few bandaids and ointments go a long way towards comforting blisters, foot fungus, bug bites and heat rash. Familiarize yourself with these and test them to make sure you don’t have allergy to any.

This website will help you be familiar with the kinds of region- and illness-specific medical information so that missionaries and their families can find all the health information necessary at the click of a button.

Friday, April 19, 2013

For the Missionary Mom

Missionaries aren't the only ones that could use a special gift in the mail. All those Missionaries Moms could use one too. I love this idea, and I wish I had found it sooner for my Mom. You could make something similar to this or run with your own version, there is even an option to buy this exact package.

Pioneer Party:
Sending out your missionary is sure to bring you blessing, but we know how hard it is to say goodbye! So we have built a "Missionary Mom Survival Kit" It includes "Tissues- to dry your tears, Chocolate - to give you comfort, A Watch - to remind you that they're on the Lord's time, remember they'll be watched over, ... etc" This gift is sure to bring comfort to all of those mom's sending out their daughters and son's to do the Lord's work.

You can order it from here for $11.99

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Missionary Tip #2

Be Better

My Mom recently wrote my brother an email in hopes to inspire him to be better than his companion. He is currently companions with a rough character, and it has been a challenge for him. I loved my Mom's advice here, talking about starting a list that you can continually add on to with ideas of how you want to be as a leader. This is especially helpful when your leader isn't the best. 

"When I heard about your new companion it reminded me of something Pres. Cook (Stake President) said when you were set apart to be a missionary. His daughter was going through a rough patch in Brazil due to her senior companion being obsessed with going home in a few months, whereas she had over a year left. He gave her advice from his mission where he had a similar situation. He decided that it was a great learning opportunity for him. He learned what not to be like as a senior companion and he vowed to be different, to be better, to focus and be excited about his mission until the very end. So this too can be a learning opportunity for you, of what not to do as a leader. You can start making a list of what you want to be like as a trainer or senior companion, and remember YOU ARE A GREAT MISSIONARY!"

Feel free to click on our contact tab and share a Missionary tip that has worked for you and your missionary.  

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Missionary Wall

Deciding to go on a mission is a big deal. When I saw this Missionary wall dedicated to missionaries in the family, it filled me with admiration for this woman and how proud she is of missionaries. I know I want to inspire my children to have a respect and love for missionaries and their sacrifice to serve the Lord. But not only that, I want them to have those excited butterflies when the day finally comes!

At our home we have a wall, not just any wall, it's our Missionary Wall...sometimes irreverently referred to as "The Shrine" by my other children yet to pin their photos.  I should explain.  We have a lot of returned missionaries in our family and many, MANY neices and nephews who are growing up much too quickly.  Mason would be the first missionary grandchild on my side of the family to serve a mission and I wanted to show where he was serving and where others had served before him.
We purchased a very large map at a local school supply store (Utah Idaho Supply).  I bought the laminated version because I wanted to protect it as I didn't plan on putting glass over it.  I also picked up some gold map pins while there to used for marking where the missionaries had/were serving.  I just used a heavy embroidery floss in a coordinating color to span from the pin to their photo.  I took the map to my local frame shop (FrameWorks of Utah) and we sketched out what I invisioned. 
First I needed to figure out how much mat I wanted showing between the map and the frame itself.   I figured that most people have a wallet size photo and so allowed enough room to mount the photo as well as a name/place tag under that. I contacted all of my family members (on both sides of the family) who had served missions and requested a photo.  They can just email one to you and you can print it out.  If they send you an original please be very careful with it and return it promptly.  I only contacted our direct line i.e. Grandparents, parents, aunts/uncles and cousins.  If I did our extended family...well, that would just be too many missionaries!  I do have a few that I haven't received photos from yet...I just printed out a tag anyhow and someday I'm sure they'll come across a photo.  Everything is just mounted onto the mat (which has a slick surface) with photomounts so they are easy to reposition and move around when I need to squeeze another missionary in - so their strings don't cross over each other 'cause I'm really anal and that would just drive me bonkers!  When everyone came over for Mason's 'Grand Opening' of his mission call, I had the cards with photos and places ready and those that were there got to attatch their own photos and strings.  Then Mason opened his call, and attached his photo and pinned his mission, and I cried.  It was a pretty amazing evening and the cousins look forward to their chance to be on the Missionary Wall.
Here's a cost saving hint:  Try to find a composite frame i.e. one not made out of wood.  Mine looks beautiful, I think.  It's actually a plastic composite and is very light and very inexpensive.  You could also go to a thrift store and purchase a picture in a frame; take the picture out, spray paint the frame any color you desire, take the frame to the frame shop and they will mount your map and mat for you.  Even better!
As usual with my hairbrained ideas, what started out as something simple morphed into something bigger but in this case better because we all actually really love what it morphed into.  My son Connor, came up with the brilliant idea to mark the temples.  I loved it!  I went back to the school supply store and purchased more pins:  White = temples in opperation, Brown = temples under construction, and Yellow = temples announced.  We had an amazing evening one night pinning all of the temple pins.  My daughter, Rebekah had the list of current temples and she would read them out while the younger kids found the location and pinned it with the appropriate color pin.   After finishing we stood back and were amazed at how the world is literally dotted all over with temples.  One of the kids said, "Look at all of the places in the world where there are wars and contention.  Look how far away they are from a temple.  The temple really does bring peace."  Out of the mouths of babes...One of our favorite parts of General Conference is when they announce the dedicated and new temples. We stand ready at our map to change colors and insert new pins.
Now, my cute little Matthew has opened his call and guess what? He got to attach his photo and pin his mission and I cried again.  What an amazing adventure he's about to begin!

Thanks Missionary Mail for sharing!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Missionary Tip #1


My Mom shared this song that she sung to us growing up in my Brother's latest email. It talks about positivity being the key to happiness. As we all know missionaries go through ups and downs on their mission and here is a little reminder to bring them up from a down. 

"Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive"

You've got to accentuate the positive

Eliminate the negative
Latch on to the affirmative
Don't mess with Mister In-Between

You've got to spread joy up to the maximum
Bring gloom down to the minimum
Have faith or pandemonium
Liable to walk upon the scene

To illustrate my last remark
Jonah in the whale, Noah in the ark
What did they do
Just when everything looked so dark

Man, they said we better
Accentuate the positive
Eliminate the negative
Latch on to the affirmative
Don't mess with Mister In-Between
No, do not mess with Mister In-Between

The music was written by Harold Arlen and the lyrics by Johnny Mercer, and it was published in 1944.