Tuesday, August 27, 2013

What Is Missionary Life Life? - 27 August 2013

Mom's note:

For those who aren't familiar with LDS missions... A mission is not something that you go into and "have fun", as the world would classify "fun".  These young men pay for their missions themselves and voluntarily "check" every thought, every dream, every desire, every activity, EVERYTHING at the door when they walk through the Missionary Training Center doors.  For two years they will have no TV, no radio, no movies, no shopping (other than for strict necessities), no sports, no ocean/beach, no CD's, no DVD's, no cell phones, no iPods, no electronics of any kind, no pictures, no books, no magazines, NOTHING.  They spend 100% of their time on spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ and serving others. No phone calls home other than 1 at Christmas and 1 at Mother's Day. No mail, other than 1 hour each week for emailing family (sometimes friends). There is not "down time" at all. Every minute of every day from 6:30am until 10:30pm is scheduled for something that has to do with spreading the Gospel. They have only 3/4's of one day (Mondays) when they have "off" in order to get letters written, laundry done, personal shopping for necessities done, service done, a little Exercise time, and reports turned in. Then it's back to bed and wake up at 6:30am.  Seven days a week.  They give 100% of their life to the Lord during these two years. They also live either in low-end apartments or someone's home (older couples who have no children living at home), in usually very meager circumstances. They get around on bikes. In certain areas or at certain times they might have use of a conservative car.

If that wasn't enough they, more often than not, meet folks who yell out bad names at them in public, spit at them, slam doors in their face, throw objects at them, and try their best to shamelessly ridicule them in public.  It is TOUGH to keep up a good attitude in the face of all that, day-in/day-out, for two years.  (Jonathan has had all of those happen to him already, on a daily basis).  Yet, the fact that they are literally called of God and set apart through the laying on of hands by the authority of the Holy Priesthood as His emissaries, doing His work, means that they are also the recipients of great miracles and blessings, which helps provide them with added protection and strength. It is not uncommon to see them stop by their way and help someone carry groceries, or help someone work on that fence, or carry heavy boxes, etc.  They are all about serving humankind and inviting them to come to Christ. What a wonderful blessing these two years are for these young men!

It is easy to understand why anyone who writes missionaries is asked to (1) keep their communications a decent length (not too long) , and (2) to keep their communications uplifting, inspiring, focused on positive things, and nothing that would cause the missionary to lose focus on the work of the Lord. Anything that will encourage the missionary and help him feel supported, loved, and like continuing the work of helping others come unto Christ, is a good thing. ;)

Now when you see an LDS missionary next, you will know what they are about, what they do, what they suffer at the hands of others, what they are gratefully and happily sacrificing, and hopefully you'll invite them in to hydrate them or feed them. They'd be very happy if you did. :)

-You don't have to be LDS to offer them water, lunch, or dinner! ;) -

And you'll know that somewhere in the world there are two VERY thankful Moms who are missing their boys very much and offering prayers of thanksgiving for people like you who help feed and watch out for them while they serve God. :)  Thank you, from one of those moms!

Since no one had offered or signed up to feed these missionaries dinner Sunday night, they were headed home after meetings at Church. Their Stake President ran into them and asked them if they had dinner that night. They said 'no'. So he invited them to have dinner with him, at his house.  His wife and children had already eaten dinner earlier, so these men just had the left overs.  The wife took this picture and they emailed it to us that night.

Warms our hearts and makes them do the "happy dance" that someone would be so kind enough to feed our missionary sons, and then also take the time to think of their mothers, snap a photo, get their emails, and send the photo to us moms.  It has meant so much!!

We, too, try to do the same for the missionaries in our area.  We like to think of it as a "Pay Forward" kind of thing. :)

The Elders with the Lancaster Stake President after a long Sabbath day.
No dinner appointment that night, so the Stake President and his wife graciously offered to feed them! They were happy boys! And we are grateful parents!

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