Change is in the Air

I’ve been reading with interest the comments and excitement surrounded by the announcement of the new missionary schedule and key indicators. It’s an exciting change for sure. As a mission presidents wife I was very happy with the changes and can see so many advantages to these changes – benefits such as health improvements and young men and young women being more prepared to transition back into the ‘real world’, post mission, by continuing good study and prayer habits. It’s been fun over the last week to see the reactions of our missionaries. I make note here that the biggest source of excitement by the missionaries surrounding these changes is that they get to do their planning and personal study on Preparation Days in their PJ’s (if they choose)…put a smile on my face for sure.

Anything that helps our missionaries become more accountable for their time while serving gets my tick of approval too. This change will certainly affect the lives of these young people as they learn to schedule their busy days in the most effective way. Our hope and prayer too is that they will learn good discipline in their daily schedule so that when they go home they will be more able to discipline the spiritual aspects of their life, without someone telling them how to.

But the purpose of this post is not to highlight this small part of the Worldwide Broadcast for Missionaries in 2017. Indeed, these changes constituted about 1/4 of the entire broadcast. As stated in the heading of the broadcast, this training focuses on teaching repentance and baptizing converts as well as introduces changes to key indicators and the missionary schedule.

The real value of the broadcast was found in the training our missionaries received on the Doctrine of Christ. The missionaries were invited to join in with the Missionary Executive Council (comprised of Elder Oaks, Elder Bednar, Elder Andersen, Sister Bonnie Oscarson, Elder Brent Nielson, and Stephen B. Allen) and participate in one of their council meetings at Church headquarters. In this meeting they spoke about the most important principles that constitute the Doctrine of Christ – Faith, Repentance, Baptism, the Spirit, enduring to the end, real intent, testimony, conversion etc. all these things oh so important to success in their endeavours to ‘Teach Repentance and Baptise Converts’. 

So my invitation to all those mums and dads who have a missionary serving right now is to ask them next Pday, in your weekly email, to share with you some of their insights they learned during that broadcast. Have them share the ways in which this broadcast helped them to find answers to their prayers or answers to questions about those they are teaching. Encourage them to refer back to their study journals often and seek inspiration as they consider the needs of their investigators.

In my opinion, these changes, and this more specific a renewed focus on the Doctrine of Christ by the brethren, heralds a new approach in the work of salvation.

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Feed A Missionary

You may not know it, but lately I have been a little distracted with another project. My connection with many missionary mums around the world thru the LDS Missionary Moms email group has led me into a little venture. I thought I would share it with you here, especially since this week I am running a little giveaway at the moment, and I would love for you to be a part of it.

Over the last year or two I have made a connection with many missionary mums and dads, particular those who have missionaries serving here in New Zealand. I have found that one of the biggest concerns they have had is how to send their missionaries something special from time to time without it costing an arm or a leg, or without the fear of knowing whether it will make it thru customs or not. As such, a friend and I got together and came up with this new little venture called Missionary Morsels – Bringing home-cooked comfort to the LDS missionaries of New Zealand.

Missionary Morsels offers these mums and dads a way to send their missionaries something special without it costing them the earth. Some of you may be familiar with the service that is offered thru DearElder.com where mums and dads can order freshly baked goodies for their missionaries while in the MTC and serving within the US on missions…well Missionary Morsels is a similar service offered to missionaries serving in New Zealand.

With Christmas on our doorstep, we decided to run a bit of a giveaway at Missionary Morsels. You may wonder why I am promoting this giveaway here since most of my readers probably don’t have a missionary serving in any of the three missions in New Zealand. But that shouldn’t stop you from being a part of this giveaway. There are lots of missionaries serving here (particularly from the surrounding Pacific Islands) who probably never get a package of anything from home because of economic restraints. If you are a winner of the giveaway I would be more than happy to nominate a needy missionary serving here that would love to receive a surprise Christmas package. What a fun way to feed a missionary!

If you would like to participate in this giveaway, or know someone who has a missionary serving in the Auckland, Hamilton, or Wellington Missions (or even in the NZ MTC over Christmas) then follow the link below and jump on over to be a part of this giveaway. REMEMBER, you don’t have to have a missionary serving in New Zealand to participate!

Missionary Morsels Giveaway

ENTER THE GIVEAWAY HERE

ENTER THE GIVEAWAY HERE

An Invitation

Las Vegas, Nevada Temple

Welcome to all my new readers, and also to those who drop by now and then. With lots more missionaries preparing to serve, this kind of forum is going to be sought after more and more. So I would invite those who have visited here already to share it with your friends and families.

If you haven’t found MMM on facebook then please do as there is so much more offered there in the way of resources, videos and links. It’s very easy to do…

Just return to the Homepage of this blog and click the ‘Like’ button on the right hand side of the page under MMM on Facebook.

Or if you want to go directly to the Facebook page then my page can be found at…

MISSIONARY MUM’S MEETING PLACE FACEBOOK PAGE

Yesterday I shared a link to a blog that offers some ideas on how to organise your missionaries emails, letters and photos…

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The Dying Notion of a Sister Missionary

Elder Richard G. Scott quote

In the kitchen, bare foot and pregnant, was how one missionary suggested my life would be better served. As a new missionary it shook me to my boots to think that my sacrifice was not as valid as the Elder’s standing next to me.  In my eyes the only difference between he and me was our gender (and certain priesthood responsibilities). But in a day where sister missionaries were the exception rather than the rule, it highlighted a misconception within church membership that suggested a divide.

But when I look at the statistics quoted recently – within two weeks of the October 6th 2012 announcement there was a 471% jump in mission applications and more than half of those were women – it screams at me that the notion of sisters serving missions has come a long way.

I was delighted to read recently an article titled  A Letter to Girls About Lady Missionaries’  – written by a returned lady missionary way back in 1972 (even before my time as a missionary). While it was on the whole a fair depiction of what it meant to be a missionary in the 70s, the thing that jumped out at me was the suggestion that a sister’s success was based more on how well groomed and presented she was than on what she could do to prepare herself spiritually to teach the saving ordinances of the Gospel. It threw me straight back to that gender comment by the Elder in my mission.

I’m confident we ‘ve come further along the scale of understanding today to be able to identify that there are far more pressing concerns for a missionary sister than how long her hair is, or whether or not she outwardly presents a perfect persona to the mission president after having ridden a motor cycle to an interview in the pouring rain.

Indeed, on further introspection, I realised that I had had similar comments tossed to me when I was determining whether, as a young 20 year old, a mission was the right thing for me. “Oh, a mission is only for those girls who can’t get married”, or “You’re too young and good looking to serve a mission”. As much as that last comment fed my ego, it fell short of allowing me to understand that the decision to serve a mission for a sister is based purely on spiritual enlightenment and inspiration from the Lord – nothing to do with age, marriageable potential or looks.

As the parents of three daughters my husband and I may have unwittingly reinforced this barefoot and pregnant notion. Suggesting to our girls during their teenage years that if they were not married by the age of 21 then we would be encouraging them to consider serving a mission. But let me say in my defence, it was spoken more in excitement on our part. As parents we had both experienced the joys of serving a mission and knew that such an event in their life would not only bless the lives of countless sons and daughters of God, but also bless the lives of each of our daughters. In my heart I really wanted them to taste the bitter/sweet fruits of missionary labour.

However, I’m not here to slander the deeds of the past – be them mine or anyone else’s – just to highlight the changes that have occurred.  History describes our progression as a people. It’s our progression that describes the things we have learnt along the way…

When my daughter announced she was preparing to serve a mission in 2010, much had changed in terms of attitudes and expectations.  Of course as parents we were over-joyed at her decision. But more importantly, amongst her friends and peers there was generally an overall sense of excitement and support; a recognition that this decision had come through sincere prayer and preparation on her part, and not because she had been ‘left on the shelf’.

In 2010, the words of one LDS returned missionary sister, when asked, ‘How is missionary preparation different for women than men?’ reveal the changes in thinking that have occurred in the last 40 years,

“I don’t know that preparation for a mission is much different. You have to be physically and spiritually strong, you have to know the gospel, you have to have a deeply rooted testimony, you have to have a desire to serve and share the gospel. Both young men and young women need all of these things.
Wendi Condie, Montana Billings Mission

More recently, with the announcement of age changes, and new leadership roles for sister missionaries, prospective sister missionaries have greater flexibility of choice, and greater opportunity for input and service. It is wonderful to see that mission organization is fitting in more with the pattern of ward and stake councils. Sisters will now not only have the opportunity serve at an earlier age but also contribute to the success of the Lord’s work worldwide in a more focused and united way.

While I would change nothing about my experiences as a missionary, I welcome the dying notion of the sister missionary of the past. I think it opens the door to a wave of more focused missionaries and closes the divide of the past; missionaries – both male and female – who understand their role, are prepared spiritually to perform their labours wherever they serve, and who work in harmony to extend the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ to every one of His children on earth.

The Call of the Future

Missionary Training Center

Do you feel it in the air? It’s thick with anticipation and excitement. At church, at home, lunching with friends, through email, phone and text, and of course all over Facebook. It’s the call of the future…Everyone is affected by it, so if you are not preparing now then it’s time to start.

Just this morning I read of several new missionary announcements on Facebook and received an email from a friend revealing her daughter’s call to the Tokyo, Japan Mission. This is a daily experience for me, as I am sure it is for you. It seems the call has gone out and the challenge has been accepted…on a mass scale.

It’s exciting!

In a previous post I talked about the qualities required of a missionary…Faith, hope, charity and love, with an eye single to the glory of God (D&C 4:5). So today I want to add to that and suggest some ways that we can, as families, help prepare our young men and women develop those qualities and be able to answer the call of the future.

Elder HollandParents, families and all in the church, have been summoned to participate as a joint effort. Elder Holland made it clear on October 6th 2012 when he stated, “As part of the pre mission preparation, we are going to ask everyone to be working earlier and sooner…”

In our own home, as we prepare our 17-year-old son for this phase of his life, we have been searching out the most effective ways to equip him with the resources and attitudes necessary to leave in less than a year. Notice how I suggest here that it is ‘we’ and not just ‘he’ that is involved in this preparation.

With our daughter not long off her mission, we decided as a family to explore the Preach My Gospel manual in our FHE lessons. Following the model of the youth teaching curriculum (the model of the Saviour’s teaching), we take turns in presenting some of the gospel principles from the manual. I must admit it has been a struggle at times to get everyone involved…but fun. Playing the investigator and trying to come up with some interesting questions for the teacher is a highlight. But most of all it’s definitely helping to prepare our future missionary son.

Who is ‘everyone’?

If you feel you are exempt as a mother or father of very young children, then think again…remember what Elder Holland said? “…everyone to be working earlier and sooner…”

Preach My GospelToday I read a great blog post by an amazing LDS mum, and I believe she struck upon gold while struggling with some choices about teaching her young children. In the process of decision-making she was prompted several times to explore Chapter 6 of Preach My Gospel,

“I wanted to teach them letters, study world cultures, geography, study music, art, history, numbers, and go on field trips.

“So ignored the prompting and delved back into my hunt for just the right educational curriculum. My feelings of unease increased and so I went back to my knees. Again, the same answer, “Chapter 6, Christ-like Attributes. Once a week on Family Home Evening isn’t enough, they need it every day.”

“But God, that chapter really isn’t designed for 4-year-olds how am I going to teach that? But I get the idea you want me to teach them virtues, right? Okay, I can do that.””

                                           —‘Moms Missionary Training Center’ – Women in the Scriptures

Richard G. Scott

Richard G. Scott set forth the challenge when outlining the power of Preach My Gospel,

I encourage you to find out how this extraordinary resource can help in your missionary efforts, either as a parent preparing a child for a mission, a Church leader helping new converts, a member sharing the gospel, or an individual getting ready to serve.

                                    April 2005 General Conference

For The Strength of YouthAnother mother suggested that we have all the resources at hand, but may not recognize it. Her recommendation was to use the principles taught in the For The Strength of Youth booklet…a great idea for our youth. For several years as our family grew we would spend 10 minutes each Monday night exploring and discussing a different section of this booklet. At the very beginning of the book a promise is given by the First Presidency,

“We promise that as you keep the covenants you have made and these standards, you will be blessed with the companionship of the Holy Ghost, your faith and testimony will grow stronger, and you will enjoy increasing happiness.”

                                        For The Strength of Youth

Certainly nothing to be ignored…don’t we all hope and pray this for our children?

Come Follow Me CurriculumThe new Sunday school and youth curriculum is a wonderful model for mum’s and dad’s to follow in Family Home Evenings and other learning sessions. If you haven’t checked out the ’Come Follow Me’ website, then it is a must. It includes ideas and methods of teaching that we can all use at home and at church.

Would it surprise you if I told you that parents are an important part of the success of this youth teaching program as it prepares them for missionary service? How much do you pattern your FHE lessons around the lessons they are having in Sunday School and Youth classes each month?

English: Name tags of two of . Created by Saaby.

Then of course, for those young men and young women who are on threshold of their future, there is the inspired institute program of Mission Prep classes. It’s here that they will work together to practice and implement much of the missionary specific principles contained in the Preach My Gospel manual.

All the resources are there at our fingertips to help in getting these precious young men and women prepared for service. It’s now time for all of us to answer the call of the future…

Pocket Size Preach My Gospel

Pocket size Preach My Gospel

I feel completely ignorant about this, but apparently the ‘Mini Preach My Gospel’ has been a hotly anticipated item. As far back as 2009 there have been mini copies of this manual available, but none published by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They have been very hard to get a hand on one as a result.

However, it is now official. The Church has now begun publishing a pocket sized version, which is available to all. If you are computer savvy, and don’t mind purchasing online, then the LDS Church’s Online Store is now selling it for $2.90. Word has it that it is still a little difficult to purchase, but back ordering is available.

If you are not so confident about ordering online, then I am sure that your local Deseret Bookstore will be able to order it in for you.

I can think of some great uses for this mini manual, but I am sure that it will be a must have item for any new LDS missionary heading out from now on.

A New Week

Hope you all had a great weekend.

I have been away for a few days with my Young Women at camp. I had the most amazing time, and hope to share with you some of the very special things we experienced there. I suffered from lack of sleep, but I feel very blessed to be working amongst some of the most incredible girls.

I will say no more, and keep you wondering what we got up to for a little bit longer.

I am excited about this new week. I’ll be bringing to the blog my first guest writer. She is someone very special to me. For those who have served a mission you will understand me when I say she was my mission mum. For those who have not served a mission, then this article will help you to understand, a little bit more, the bond that is created between a trainer and their new companion.

So, in the next couple of days I will be sharing her story…make sure you hang around for it.

Also, as part of my university studies, I have been asked to write an article on a current newsworthy topic that relates to the theme of my blog. This could be a real challenge for me as the world isn’t that interested in Mormon missionary’s. But I think I have an interesting angle and am eager to get started. I’m hoping you can help me out a bit.

When I post I want you to give me some feedback so I can make sure it makes sense and it is interesting enough before it gets graded. I will let you know when it is about to go up.