Saturday, January 11, 2014

When the Wait is Long

For many missionaries it is the wait for their call that seems the hardest but for countless others it is the waiting time before entering the MTC.

My brothers waited 5 Mons for one and the next waited 3 Mons in between the call and entering the MTC. Recently we have noticed that the wait time seems longer then normal, I don't know if their is any fact to that assumption, but with higher numbers in missionaries then ever before, it makes sense.

This article below discusses this very issue many pre-missionaries are struggling with:

When the Wait is Long Between Getting the 
Call and Entering the MTC
By Cara Secrist

One of the most exciting things you can do is to watch your son or daughter opening their mission call and searching for the location of their mission and the attached mission map.  After a while, they also find the date they are supposed to enter the MTC. When all the excitement dies down, you get to help them plan out what will happen between now and then.

Having had one son who waited about three and a half months and another son who only had five weeks before entering the MTC, I know it can be hard either way. With the new missionary ages I have heard of missionaries waiting five months or even more. It can be hard on a missionary to get his call before all his friends but then watch his friends all get their calls and leave before he does.

One thing that can really help is to set up a schedule of things that need to be done so that you are continually working towards being ready. Depending on where you live, your missionary may be able to work as a temple worker until they leave, or they may be able to enroll in an LDS institute class. Families can help by having regular study of the scriptures and of Preach My Gospel. Your son or daughter may also be able to go on splits with missionaries currently serving in your area or could work with your own ward missionaries.  All too soon for you, the mom, your missionary will be off on their big adventure, so you will want to get a good mission picture of your missionary to put in your Mission Tracker before he or she leaves.

While Waiting ... 
Here are some ideas to fill your time as you wait for your MTC enter date to draw near.

  • Go on Splits with the Missionaries.
  • Fulfill your duties in Church callings, especially in Home Teaching and Visiting Teaching roles.
  • Plan and prepare FHE's that center on missionary work or help you to prepare, sometimes family support can be a real strength as you are playing the waiting game.
  • Get a temporary job while you wait in attempts to keep busy and save up money for your mission.
  • Start learning the language, if there is a new one to learn, getting a head start may come in handy and can't hurt. 
  • Actively pursue service, it is likely you will be doing service projects throughout your mission so learn to love it now. 
  • Study, study, study. Fill your time with the works of the Lord. 
  • Surround yourself with uplifting people, media, and environments. It is said that while waiting for entry into the mission field you can be the most tempted. By avoiding those influences you are staying closer to the spirit and the work you are about to embark on. 
  • Help plan family outings and vacations. My family tried to go on an early family vaca so their soon to be missionary could join them. The memories made during this time will be so important as a missionary to look back on, try to relish in your family activities before you leave. It could be weekly girls nights before the Sister leaves. It could be family hiking trips. It could be taking younger siblings to the movies or park. Show your family you love them during this time. 
  • Give your family something to remember you by. I had a friend who painted an art piece for her family before she left, to hang in her room while she was gone. But making syncing a playlist for a sibling of your favorites will be cherished. 
  • Write letters to each family member, to give to them at the airport. Spend time thinking about what each person you love needs to hear. 

Always remember that no matter the place or the time or the language your call is prophetically given and should be held sacred:

“I have had [many] experiences feeling of the Holy Ghost…But I’ve never felt what I have felt as I have…participated in the assigning of missionaries…Because of technology, it is possible for us to have your picture and the information about you displayed. And then quickly, on that same screen, all the missions of the Church with all of their needs are displayed. Within minutes, and sometimes less than a minute, the impression comes so powerfully that it would be, if it were a single instance, something that you would never forget. Can you imagine sitting there for hours at a time, having that happen time after time without interruption? I testify to you that it is real…[The Lord] somehow not only knows you but loves you enough to ensure that your call is where He needs you to go to teach the children of our Heavenly Father.” (Pres. Henry B. Eyring, “Called of God,” address delivered at the Missionary Training Center, Aug. 26, 1997).


As always we would love to hear from our readers. What would you add to our "While Waiting" list? 

Thursday, January 9, 2014

My missionary ...

One of the great miracles of missionary service in this Church is that Sid Going and thousands just like him have not asked, “What will I get from my mission?” but rather, “What can I give?”
In 1961, at age 18 and holding the Aaronic Priesthood, Sidney Going was becoming a star in New Zealand rugby. Because of his remarkable abilities, many thought he would be chosen the very next year for the national All Blacks rugby team.

At age 19, in this critical moment of his ascending rugby career, Sid declared that he would forgo rugby to serve a mission. Some called him crazy. Others called him foolish. 4 They protested that his opportunity in rugby might never come again.

For Sid it was not what he was leaving behind—it was the opportunity and responsibility ahead. He had a priesthood duty to offer two years of his life to declare the reality of the Lord Jesus Christ and His restored gospel. Nothing—not even a chance to play on the national team, with all the acclaim it would bring—would deter him from that duty. 5

He was called by a prophet of God to serve in the Western Canadian Mission. Forty-eight years ago this month, 19-year-old Elder Sidney Going left New Zealand to serve as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Sid told me of an experience he had on his mission. It was evening, and he and his companion were just about to return to their apartment. They decided to visit one more family. The father let them in. Elder Going and his companion testified of the Savior. The family accepted a Book of Mormon. The father read all night. In the next week and a half he read the entire Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price. A few weeks later the family was baptized. 6

A mission instead of a place on the New Zealand All Blacks team? Sid responded, “The blessing of [bringing others] into the gospel far outweighs anything [you] will ever sacrifice.” 7

Spiritual Thought:
Excerpt from ...

Second Counselor in the First Presidency

" Another topic I would like to discuss is the difference between growth and real growth. We have heard some about this today. In Church terms, growth could be defined as new members. New members come through children baptized at age eight as well as convert baptisms. Real growth, however, is defined as growth in the number of active members.
In some areas of the Church we have dramatic growth in new members, yet active membership remains stagnant or grows only a little. We have some measurable ways to indicate activity in the Church, such assacrament meeting attendance, ordination to the priesthood at the right age, missionary service, and possession of a current temple recommend. Perhaps the more accurate indicators of real growth in the gospel of Jesus Christ are those that we can’t measure as easily, such as daily prayer, scripture study, family home evening, love at home and for our neighbor, and personal experiences with Christ’s Atonement. These are recorded not by a clerk in Church records but in our hearts and in heaven.
Our missionary efforts are compromised if we baptize God’s children but do not maintain love and friendship with these precious new members who are excited to find fellowship with the Saints and a place of belonging in the household of God.
Here again, our councils can deliberate on the spiritual and temporal welfare of every member—taking special care to consider each new convert. Our work as a council is to help our members grow in their love for Heavenly Father and their fellowman. If we focus our efforts here, one-on-one, many more members will feel that they have found a home in the Church—that they have found the “why” of the gospel.
Brothers and sisters, let us remember that you and I are not perfect. Consequently, our councils will not be perfect either. At times they will be understaffed. At times they may include one or perhaps several people who are not fully engaged in the work or who are distracted by the complications and stresses of everyday life.
Please do not give up. Be careful not to over-idealize your expectations of how your councils should operate. Once again, if you are focused on the “why” of the gospel, the Spirit will direct your humble efforts.
President Hinckley once said, “We are here to assist our [Heavenly] Father in His work and His glory, ‘to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man’ (Moses 1:39). Your obligation is as serious in your sphere of responsibility as is my obligation in my sphere.”2 What a humbling statement by a prophet of God.
If your circumstances are less than ideal, please take comfort in knowing that the Lord will support and enhance your efforts, sanctify your decisions and actions, perfect them through the tender mercies of Christ, and “consecrate [your] performance … , that [it] may be for the welfare of [your] soul” (2 Nephi 32:9) and the souls of those you serve.
As I mentioned earlier, there is little good in hearing the word of God if we do not translate what we hear into our lives. Consequently, we ask that you take the following steps without hesitation and continue to do so throughout your service in your callings. "

Monday, January 6, 2014

Finally an RM ... What Now?

Most returned missionaries feel a lot like this 
when they get home,

So for all the RM's out there that are wondering what's next ... 
"He had been home ten days. … He still sometimes thought in German, forgot and used German words, which made people smile. At first he had been lost without a companion and the daily routine of missionary work, but in the last two or three days there had been moments when he had to think about his mission to remember it, as if it were possible to forget the whole two years.

… At first he had thought that everything and everyone … had changed, but then he realized that it was himself, and that change was proof of what had happened to him on his mission, how he was new, which he couldn’t have understood in Germany. (Douglas H. Thayer, “Elder Thatcher,” Under the Cottonwoods and other Mormon stories, Provo, Utah: Frankson Books, 1977, pp. 79–80)

Top 10 things to do your first week back
 from a Mormon mission

1. Take some time to rest. 
2. Spend time with your family. 

3. Reconnect with old friends — especially those who aren't LDS! 

4. Ease into — don’t dive into — old hobbies and media habits. 

5. Go to the temple. 

6. Don’t be idle. 

7. Set meaningful goals for yourself. 

8. Eat your favorite meal from home.

9. Visit the dentist and doctor. 

10. Take advantage of chances to share your mission experiences.

When “The Best Two Years” Are Over

“A returned missionary should still serve, still plan for each day, still keep himself clean, still share the gospel. The only thing that changes is that he doesn’t go tracting,” says Elder Featherstone.

More common than a conscious abandonment of missionary habits is an unconscious lowering of one’s personal expectations. A young woman convert who served a health mission in South America describes her experience: “At first, I felt this depression, this terrible weight on me, because I had quit studying. I was getting out of tune with the Spirit. Then I began spending mornings studying my institute lessons and the scriptures. I had felt so empty; but studying again made me feel so good.”

Elder Carlos E. Asay, member of the First Quorum of the Seventy and executive director of the Missionary Department, “Returned missionaries can’t afford to lose any of their good missionary habits. If they don’t hold on to them, they’ll be throwing away two years of precious training!”

Elder Hartman Rector, Jr., member of the First Quorum of the Seventy and president of the California San Diego Mission, tells his returning missionaries to check themselves periodically on “points of positive affirmation”:

—I am morally clean. I live by Doctrine & Covenants 121:41–46.

—I sustain the general authorities and stake and ward leaders. I keep my eye on the prophet by reading what he says and then following his counsel.

—I pay a full tithe.

—I live the Word of Wisdom.

—I observe the Sabbath by using the day for “uplifting, inspiring activities,” and by not buying.

—I am honest in my dealings with my fellow men.

—I daily read, study, and ponder the scriptures.

—I daily pray with earnestness. I pray for specifics, and I pray with humility.

—I set worthwhile goals and actively work to achieve them.

—I hold a current temple recommend and attend the temple regularly. I wear the temple garments with honor and reverence. I will be married in the temple and will raise my family in the Church. I will do all in my power to have all of my family united together in the celestial kingdom.

6 Things You DON’T Need to be Happy
1. To be Married.

2. Money and Stuff.

3. The Approval of Others.

4. Ideal Circumstances.

5. A Perfect Past.

6. Control of the Changes in Life or even in Your Body.

It’s almost certain that at some point in your life, something will happen to you that you have no control over. There are actually a lot of things that you can’t control. 
Here are just a few:
What other people say
What other people do
What other people think about you
The weather
Your genetic inheritance (I inherited a history of heart disease, diabetes and cancer. Yay!)
Whether or not you will get cancer, heart disease or some other disease
When you die
Gas prices
Who is in your family
Your age
Traffic or other people’s road rage
God’s will
Here are some things that you CAN control:
How often you smile
How you react to other people
Your integrity
How well you are prepared
How grateful you are
Your own interpretation of events that happen
Whether you compare yourself to others or not (wouldn’t recommend comparing yourself to anyone)
How much exercise you get
How much sleep you get (this may be debatable)
How you interpret your past
How you live in the present
The goals you set for the future
How much you commit yourself to
Your creativity
The amount of information you share with others
The books you read
Whether or not you watch TV
The type of and amount of information you consume (thank you for consuming this)
When you ask for assistance from others
Whether or not you believe what other people tell you
How often to share your love
How often you pray
Your connection to God

Dating for RM's
Most of these articles are from this fun site: TheRMTC.COM

My top two favorite sites for RM's are

Friday, January 3, 2014

Names, Not Numbers

I recently read this on LDS.ORG when searching for something to send my brother. I really enjoyed reading this article and remembering the importance of records rather then for the numerical purpose but the personal purpose. Although this article talks about local record keeping and so forth I saw such purpose in sharing it with our missionaries as well. To remind them as they turn in their reports filled with numbers that it is the names, not the numbers that truly matter. My husband shared an experience on his mission where as district leader he was turning in the reports and the numbers were very low. He later got a call that day from a leader stating the lack of determination and work that was being put in if the numbers were really that low. After being frustrated and depressed over this news he contacted the Mission President in hopes to identify where he could improve these numbers. But his Mission President assured him that the Lord cares not about numbers but about fulfilling the prayers of those that surround you. He urged him to concentrate on those few numbers he served and to think nothing less of them for they may be hundreds in the course of time. 

Names, Not Numbers

The true reason for keeping reports lies not in numbers; surely the Lord must have little interest in statistics alone. But his work and his glory center in what those numbers represent—people, his children. Numbers can tell us, his servants on earth, about the faithfulness or falling away of our brothers and sisters and about their need for assistance and loving guidance back to safety.

If we count only numbers, we have only statistics. Once we learn to count names, we start to save souls. This is the work the Lord intends us to perform.

When every secretary and clerk accurately record attendance, at the end of every meeting the names of all those who did not attend are known. And when the names are known, a caring secretary, a concerned leader or teacher, a loving friend, a home teacher or visiting teacher can take action. Nobody should be absent from a meeting without somebody recording it and caring enough to ask why. Is it sickness—of body or mind or spirit? Is the person on holiday, or has he or she moved?

As members of the Church, we can all show genuine concern for everyone around us and act to save souls. Then truly we become caring under-shepherds—followers of the Master Shepherd, who cared enough for us to give his life for us.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Why would someone go on a mission for two years?

This article really hits home for my family and my Mom. With one missionary out and one missionary home we know those feelings of excitement as you wait for them to return home and those feelings of longing when you are doing the waiting. 

Deseret News Article

Mormon woman responds: 'How can you go two years without seeing your son?'

For the full story: Click Here

As I stood back watching this sweet moment between mother and son, a family friend, who isn't a member of the LDS Church, leaned over and said to me, “How can you go two years without seeing your son? I don’t understand how they can go two whole years.”

He caught me off guard. I wasn't prepared to explain why missionaries leave for two years because I honestly didn't know. I missed this missionary opportunity and mumbled in agreement, "I don't know. I know, it would be so hard!"

But I've reflected on that question for the last few weeks.

Why? Why would someone go on a mission for two years? Why would someone leave their family, the comforts of home, and put off an education, career and relationships? I think there are many answers on the surface: Because of duty. Because it was expected of them by their family. Because that’s what 19-year-olds in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints do.

I listened closely the following Sunday when Elder Hinckley spoke in church and reported on his mission. I suddenly had my answer. There is really only one reason to stay out in the mission field for two years without any real contact with your family, and that reason is love.

Elder Hinckley loves the Lord, more than his family, more than his friends, more than his education, career, home-cooked meals, and, yes, even A&M football games.

Elder Hinckley may have gone out on his mission because of duty, but he stayed out in California for two years because of love. He went and taught, often without success, but many times with it. He knows that the LDS Church is true. He knows that Jesus Christ died for his sins. He knows that because of Christ, he can return to live with his Father in Heaven and be with his family forever.

And because of love, Elder Hinckley went door-to-door for two years to preach the gospel to the people in Southern California because he wanted them to know of God’s love, too. He wants them to be able to be with their families forever, too.

Missions aren't always easy. You don't always know why you're out there. You don't always meet the nicest people. It can be discouraging. But it can also be joyful. You can have the Spirit to guide you. You are not with your parents, but you know they love you and are out there waiting with anticipation until you return home to them again.