The Forgotten Missionaries

I’ve been absent for a while because I am on holidays with family (loving every minute of the sun and surf here in Queensland, Australia). But just wanted to share something quickly with you.

For the last week I have been involved in a conversation with some other missionary mums about the many missionaries who don’t receive any gifts from home over the Christmas season. For example, here in the Brisbane Australia Mission, as off Monday this week, there were 45 elders and 12 sisters who had not received a gift through the mail. As a result, I am in the process of delivering 3 gifts to the local mission office here in Brisbane to be given to any missionaries who haven’t received one.

I know it’s rather late, but I would encourage all of you out there to do something similar if you are in a position to. There are many families who just don’t have the means to send their missionary something for Christmas. There are also missionaries who don’t have family to send them anything. So, if you are in the position to, contact your local mission office and ask if gifts are needed. I know it is very close to Christmas, but most missions have the ability to deliver gifts to their missionaries right up to the last minute.

Let’s not forget them…

I would also like to wish you all a wonderful christmas and an amazing new year. Lots of new things to discuss in 2013. I am looking forward to sharing my thoughts…

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Top 10 Christmas Gift Ideas – Under $20

I’m sure right now our US friends are all enjoying a needed break from their busy lives, and  spending time with family and friends giving thanks for all the blessings they have. I wish you all a very happy Thanksgiving over this weekend.

Today I am going to jump the gun a bit and push your attention to the upcoming season. By the end of this weekend I know you will all be starting to focus on the next big celebration ahead…Christmas (did I hear a groan?). We all love this time of year don’t we? Well, I do…

Here I’ll be exploring some gift ideas for our serving missionaries. The first 6 ideas I found on the LDS Online Store – all items purchased can be delivered worldwide, directly to your missionary free of postal charge. The last 4 are taken from other LDS stores and may involve a delivery fee. Also, don’t forget to check out my previous post ‘You’ve Had a Birthday, Shout Hooray’ for some other gift ideas.

So here are my Top 10 Christmas suggestions:

1.    Mormon Tabernacle Choir CD.

Most missions will allow missionaries to listen to wholesome music (but please check with your missionary before buying). There is a huge range of Mormon Tabernacle Choir CDs on offer at the LDS Online Store, all at very reasonable prices; music that is both uplifting and inspirational. If your missionary loves the sounds of Christmas then this is the perfect gift.

2.    Journal

Missionaries love to keep a record of everything they experience, which means they will probably go through more than one journal in that time. The LDS Online Store has both hard cover and loose-leaf journals available. Loose-leaf journals are a great way for them to record their experiences and then mail them home for the family to read.

3.    LDS Magazine Subscriptions

Most mission apartments will have at least one Ensign subscription delivered each month. However, when you have up to 3 companionships in an apartment, it can mean survival of the fittest when it comes to having your turn to read a current magazine. Sending your missionary their own copy every month will help to solve this problem. They can then hand them on to investigators once they have finished reading them.

4.    LDS General Conference CDs

Most mission cars have a CD player. Your missionary can use travel time listening to the inspirational words of our prophets and apostles while they travel from place to place. DVDs are available too, which might be a good resource for teaching investigators as well.

5.    A New White Tie

Most Elders will have a white tie in their luggage when they go out, but it may be worth asking if the tie still looks white and fresh. Towards the end of a mission, especially if the missionary has performed multiple baptisms, it may need to be replaced.

6.    LDS Gifts for Investigators

Missionaries love to have things they can give their investigators that will help them understand the simplicity of the Gospel – especially for children. So things like simplified scripture readers, and Friend subscriptions, will help them in their teaching, and help their investigators understand Gospel principles.

7.    LDS Tie Tacs and Pins

Let’s face it, Elders are pretty limited in the extent of their wardrobe. So a tie tac or tie pin is a great way to introduce some variety and personality. There are some really unique tie tacs and pins available with appropriate messages for missionaries. Deseret Online Bookstore offers a large assortment.

8.    CTR Earrings

Ok, this one’s for the sisters. They can’t be outdone by the Elders, so these CTR Earrings are a cute way to express yourself as a missionary. Other jewellery items available from Deseret Online Bookstore are rings and charms with LDS themes.

9.    52 Weeks of Recipes

I know it is hard to go past all my amazing Food Friday missionary recipes. But if you have to then this sounds like the perfect way to do it – especially for a missionary who doesn’t have a whole lot of dinner dates (believe me, there are missions out there that don’t offer regular dinner appointments for the missionaries). There’s enough recipes for 52 weeks of the year, so they will never run out of food ideas.

10.    LDS Missionary Pillowcase

Just imagine your missionary resting his/her head on their pillow at night, with words of support and love to cushion them. This pillowcase is a fun way to remind your missionary each day how much you love them and support them…such sweet comfort 🙂

The Ultimate Gift

The more I searched online, the more I found. So there are multiple gift ideas for missionaries out there. But most of all, I think the ultimate gift you can give your missionary are words of support, love and encouragement. A simple hand written message to your missionary that is sealed, stamped and mailed can mean more to them than any kind of commercial gift.

I wish you all a safe and happy Christmas season. May the Lords blessings be distilled upon you like the dews from heaven.

Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. John 14:27

Things You Should Never Do On Your Mission – Part 1

 Memory Lane Series.

I was lying in bed the other day reminiscing about some of the funnier, and more unique experiences I had on my mission. Within a minute I had come up with at least 10 things. I kept having a bit of a giggle to myself over them and wondered if anyone else would find the humour in them.

As a result I have come up with a new idea for a series – Memory Lane. It is here that I will begin my reflections on things you should never do on your mission – from my perspective.

I also figure that after 30 years, they have probably passed the test of time, and can be considered narratives of a time gone by.

Each week I will share two of these things, and will continue until I run out.

Hope you enjoy them

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   1.  Never take a shortcut home through the cemetery when it’s dark.

In my first area, our flat (apartment) sat at the back of the town cemetery. I have never been superstitious about these kinds of things. In fact I really love cemetery’s, especially from a photographers point of view. And the standard statement our family makes every time we drive past any cemetery is that we have just passed the ‘dead center’ of town (haha, right?). 

But one of the things I learnt never to do on my mission was to walk home through a cemetery at night. You never know what will pop out from behind a headstone.

On this particular night we chose to walk our bikes through the cemetery on our way home from a long day of tracting. I guess we were just too tired to ride the long way round, as our weariness got the better of us.

Unknown to us, the Elders had decided to meet us at our flat that night to get a report on our days statistics and activities. Now, I’m not sure how they worked out that we were walking back through the cemetery, but what I do know is that as we walked through – pitch dark and quiet – two very tired and vulnerable sister missionaries were scared out of their brains as two dark suited elders emerged from behind a very big headstone making very strange ‘dead person’ noises (not sure what kind of noises dead people make, but it sounded like it that night).

Needless to say, we never did try to walk through the cemetery at night again. We figured that if two well-meaning missionaries could pull off such a prank, then there was every chance that some other not so well-meaning person could do the same, with less humorous outcomes.

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   2.  Never make the Elders so mad that they break the car window.

Every missionary plans for the day (or days) when they will face opposition. It comes with the job, and cannot be avoided. But they never think that the opposition will come from other missionaries. 

On this occasion, it was very close to Christmas, and everyone was in the festive mood – including the elders. There is something about the Christmas season that makes you just want to come bearing gifts and offering service to everyone and anyone – especially on a mission. This was not lost on the elders, so one day they turned up on our doorstep with the fantastic idea that, as a gesture of Christmas cheer, we (being the sisters) could make cookies and cakes for their (being the elders) investigators.

Our first thought was that we could combine our efforts, and actually come up with some great treats to share with all our investigators. But no, from the Elders reckoning, we would make all produce for their investigators only.

On that understanding they then drove off to do some ‘real’ missionary work, declaring as they drove out that they would be back to pick it up when we were finished.

Can you picture the look on our faces?

But, as every good missionary learns, ‘Obedience is the first law in heaven’ and since they were our Zone Leaders we got down to the serious work of baking and decorating.

Fast-forward…and that afternoon the elders returned as promised. We felt proud of our culinary efforts, and satisfied by a job finished and well done. We were now ready to focus on our investigators and do what we could do to wish them a Merry Christmas.

So it was with some amazement that we heard the elders suggest we needed to come with them to deliver the goodies to their investigators. We were perplexed as to why they would need us to come with them. But, obedience was the rule of the day, so with some reluctance we jumped in the back seat of their car and travelled with them – all the time trying to put on a cheerful and festive face.

Driving along, our patience and long suffering were really put to the test when they further indicated that they would be staying in the car while we hand delivered the goodies to the doors of their investigators.

This was really the end of all attempts to obey. I know, I can hear you saying, “But what happened to the part about obedience being the first law in heaven?” We just couldn’t play along any more. This was just too ridiculous. We had never met any of their investigators, so felt sure that had we been the deliverers, they would wonder who the strange women were bearing festive gifts on their doorstep. Besides, slavery had never been a pre-requisite of serving a mission.

So we flat out refused to do their bidding.

I would just like to say at this point, that I learnt a lesson that day. When people are pushed to the edge, you often discover their true colours.

Elder #1 was so taken back by our refusal that he found some kind of super human strength at this point. He bounded out of the front seat of the car, opened the rear door and insisted that we get out and deliver their cookies to their investigators. Refusal again…

Before we knew it, the plate of goodies was swiped from our hands and the rear door returned to the closed position – very rapidly and with great strength (remember the bit about the ‘super human strength’?). We were then greeted with the sound of shattering glass as the entire door window disintegrated into tiny shards of very pretty, sparkly glass bits. A bit like snowflakes actually…Christmas had arrived for my companion and I, as we couldn’t contain the laughter – Christmas joy.

All we could think about was how the Elders where going to explain this one to the Mission President…

N.B. I would like to conclude this little narrative with the comment that since that festive experience, my companion and I have felt the need to repent of our disobedient ways. We both believe that we should have obediently followed through on their request. The blessings could have been without number if we had. Can you imagine the coup we could have pulled off, if we had met each of their investigators? We could have doubled our teaching pool in just one afternoon if we had thought this thing through  😉

>> Forward to Part 2 of Memory Lane >>

>>Forward to Part 3 of Memory Lane>>

>>Forward to Part 4 of Memory Lane>>