It was almost 12 months ago that our family crammed into the family car and drove out to the airport to bid farewell to our daughter, the newest missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Preparing for that day involved, not only concerted spiritual readiness, but also foresight into what clothing needs she would have. Gone are the days when missionaries were expected to embark with, “…no purse, nor scrip, nor shoes…”(Luke 10:4)
For us, that preparation took on quite a unique nature.
While our missionary daughter was already well prepared with much of her personal clothing needs, coming from the fairly temperate climate of the pacific, she was not ready for the possible sub-zero weather conditions of mid-western USA.
As all mothers do, I panicked. My daughter was going to die from hypothermia on some quiet Utah street. Four months out from her departure, and from our humble abode in Sydney, Australia, I could not imagine how we were ever going to kit her out with enough warm clothes to avoid this outcome.
Typically, my daughter seemed to think that she could survive on what she had…
This was probably the first time I had to contemplate the principle of ‘faith’ as the mother of a missionary. But, desperate times require desperate measures…well that’s how I saw it anyway.
Coincidentally, my husband and I were heading out on a trip to General Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah just three weeks before she departed. So a plan was hatched…
With shopping list in hand, my spare time while over there was spent ticking off each item. With the help of my husband, and lots of size guessing, I managed to fill one middle size suitcase with winter-ready clothes. Part one of my plan was complete.
Part two required that faith I was fast acquiring…I left the suitcase there. That’s right, I didn’t take it home with me.
My daughter had a total of one day, upon arrival in Utah, to try the clothes on and make any exchanges or adjustments needed. How’s that for an exercise in faith? I say, “Faith without works is dead” (James 2:20).
I am pleased to report that I not only managed to please her with my design choices, she actually survived the freeze of her first winter in America.
I am sure many of you were faced with similar decisions when helping your missionary prepare for their adventure. I would love to hear your story here.