As Elder ‘T’ stood to give his farewell talk just before entering the MTC, you would have been forgiven for thinking that he brought with him his own personal cheer squad. Sitting in the congregation were four of his friends, all sporting the same colour tie as him. These were just five of the 13 ties that Elder ‘T’s’ mum had made he and his friends while he was studying at BYU-I.
But this was not just a quirky display of solidarity for a newly called missionary. For Susan Bever, it was the only way she could think to support her missionary son as he dedicated the next two years of his life to the Lord.
After losing her job, and with no means of a steady income, Susan determined to find a creative way to help support him. When discussing her situation with her sister one day, and knowing that her son was about to submit his mission papers, it was suggested that she give tie-making a go.
Having been a seamstress for much of her life, Susan felt confident that this could be the opportunity she was looking for. She declared, “I couldn’t make a financial commitment, because I didn’t have the income to make it… the purchase of a piece of fabric was about all I could do.”
The term cutting the ties took on new meaning for Susan as she bid her son farewell. Since August 2010, when her son entered the Provo MTC, she has cut, sewn, and sent him at least 3 ties per month; and estimates that by the end of his mission he will have received close to 200 ties.
Not all of them end up around his neck tho’. Elder ‘T’ generously shares some with fellow missionaries, and many of his investigators. When this happens, Susan simply gets back to cutting and sewing some more.
But this is not the extent of her commitment. Susan is determined to share her tie-making talents both at home, and across the globe. She makes ties for many of the missionaries serving around the world from her own ward, as well as sharing them with missionaries serving near to where she lives. It is her way of showing support for not only her missionary son, but for dozens of other ‘s as they spread the gospel.
Recently, through the LDS Missionary Mom’s Email group, Susan offered to trace, cut out, and mail several tie patterns for any of the missionary mum’s who might like to sew a tie for their serving missionary. Each pattern was traced by hand, tailored to measure the individual missionary, and mailed at her own expense (in my case, sent half way around the world to New Zealand).
Since making those first few ties for her son and his friends, she, and her sister Lois, have started up an online tie making business. “All Tyed Up” gives you an idea of the extent of her tie-making skills. Susan also suggests that if the tie you are looking for is not there, then it is only a phone-call or email away.
If you are interested in purchasing a tie from All Tyed Up, then pop on over to Susan’s website and scroll through the huge range she has displayed there. Orders cannot be made through the website, but if you email Susan with your order or questions, she can make arrangements from there.
Some interesting facts about ties:
- Not all men are the same size and therefore can’t wear the same size tie – you have to make adjustments for both taller and shorter men. Susan has made a tie small enough for a child – a tiny 42” long, as well as a tie for a 7’7’’ tall man – a huge 78”.
- Ties can come in different widths, according to your preference. Susan makes ties to order, anything from 1 ½ “ wide through to 4 ½” wide.
- Ties can be made with many types of fabrics including cotton, cotton-polyester blends, silk, satin, satin brocades, ultra suede, and denim – just about any material can be used.
- The only type of tie she would encourage missionaries not to wear are character ties – Spiderman, Pokemon, Little Mermaid etc. But as for which colours not to wear, according to her missionary son, “If she makes it, I will wear it”.
There is an assortment of ways that we can be missionaries or, at least, support the missionary effort. We are all blessed with different talents and abilities, and it is up to us to find those talents and use them in the unique way that only we can. Susan found her unique way.
I wonder if any of you have had a similar experience with something that you are passionate about? Please share with us here what your passion is, and how you see it as an opportunity to support the missionary effort.