Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Almost June - Where has the time gone?

May 27, 2013
We had a wonderful Memorial Day at the office.  Our mission office is open 5 days a week all year - no holidays for us except Thanksgiving and Christmas and then we have mission activities to be at.

So yesterday we were at the office.  The phones only worked partially.  We couldn't contact most of the places we needed to because they were closed.  But we got a lot done and saw a number of missionaries who came in because it was their prep day and we had fun!

Today the phones were fixed really early - at 8:15 - by  someone from Facilities Management.  Thanks so much, Alan.  We placed orders, found 2 apartments we needed and got those signed up, located another with some help from a wonderful Bishop's wife in Dayton. 

Last week was a great Mission Tour.  And President's parents met him at the end of it and came home with him for a week.  We're glad for all of them.

And now a few 'Memo's for Missionaries and their Parents':

  • If you have or are, a youth with poor handwriting or printing, consider getting a calligraphy book from the library or sign up for a class.  Practice and practice and practice until you can write your name beautifully.  You are going to have to sign a lot of things in your life, so prepare to do that the best you can.  I leaves an impression of who you are just like your grooming does.

  • Parents - shop around and find neckties for your missionary or to give to a missionary you know as gifts.  I mean shop at Good Will, Savers, Deseret Industries.  Anywhere.  Find any tie that does not have a clip on it.  Missionaries LOVE ties of all kinds and trade and trade them.

  • If you are going to fill out mission application papers and haven't done so already consider this.When you are asked about your health concerns,  you don't need to put every cut you've had since birth, or every fall, or every cold.  Just list things that might have some bearing on your mission.  And use the least number of words possible to describe what you need to.   Do the same thing when it asks what your  talents, callings and jobs have been.  The people in SLC and the mission office don't need a lot of wordy explanations.   If something is really serious, then by all means explain it well. 

  • Parents of Missionaries in the Nevada Reno Mission (and other mission's, too) - If you have questions, please call me.  Part of my calling as mission secretary to is answer questions for you and your missionary BEFORE they come out to the mission field.  And I love talking to you and your missionary.  I remember well as a missionary parent, and as an adult missionary, the great desire I had to talk to someone and get questions answered.  I am so happy to answer questions and if I don't know the answer, I'll find out and get back to you or send you on to someone who does have an answer.  If you don't want to call, e-mail me!

  • The same thing goes after the missionary is on their mission.  I can relay calls from you to them and vice/versa.  Of course if there is something serious you will want to call the mission president directly.  And if there is a health concern you'll want to contact the mission mother.   But if your last pair of shoes just lost it's sole and it is now taped on with duct tape and it is a week until you can e-mail, please call me and explain and I'll call your parents.  Or if you need an address call me.  Or if your wallet was stolen, call me.  Or if mom woke up in the night worried that her missionary doesn't have enough blankets, or a warm enough coat,  call me.  You don't have to wait 2 weeks to find out through e-mail if you need to know now.  This is what I do!  And I love doing it!  I don't get to go out the where the missionaries are very much so this kind of contact is so wonderful for me! 

  • Email -  I'd like to explain that our missionary 'P Day' is on a Monday.  That is the day that missionaries are supposed to e-mail, write letters, shop, do cleaning and laundry and do something enjoyable.   Missionaries are told not to use member computers to write e-mail.  Many of them go to public libraries to e-mail.  However, here in Nevada in various places some libraries are closed on Monday.  Then missionaries have permission to e-mail on Tues.  However (again), Tuesdays here are 'District meeting mornings' and these meetings last until noon or sometimes 1 or 2 - depending on how wrapped up the missionaries get.  So I occasionally get calls from parents worried that something is wrong if they haven't gotten an e-mail.   We also need to remember that after District Meeting you need to eat and if more than one companionship goes to eat then it could take a while...  ;-) Or other things can come up.  If you haven't gotten an e-mail by Wed. or for several weeks, PLEASE call me.

I wish I could explain the great joy and happiness I have serving this mission.  I love my Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ so much.  I feel their presence really often as I work.  Sometimes I can't believe all I am capable of doing here.  I couldn't have done all this at home just working on things so I am constantly amazed.  I see big and little miracles so often.  Being around the missionaries just brings such feelings of peace and joy - really BIG joy.  They are wonderful and they bring a wonderful spirit.  Seeing their faces as they talk about people they are teaching is just such a beautiful experience.

In addition to all of this - my husband and I have 3 missionary grandchildren serving right now.  They all left in a 5 week period so they are progressing together.  We look forward so very much to each of their letters each week.  We understand why parents call and are worried because their missionary didn't e-mail on Monday.  We get to worrying, too.  :-)

'Till later.....

Saturday, May 4, 2013

'Snail Mail' is SOOOOO important. Email. Packages. Bikes.

Our missionaries can e-mail family and friends every 'preparation day'.  They cannot use a member's computer.  They have to go to a public library, a church library, a Family History library, etc. to e-mail.  When a  holiday falls on their 'p-day' and the library is closed, they can write the next day instead. 

Of course missionaries really want to hear by e-mail from family and friends.  I is important they do.

But 'snail mail' or 'regular mail' is most important.  Anytime a missionary comes to the office, they will always ask if there is any mail for them and I always hear them say things like, 'I never get mail anymore' or 'I've been out too long so everyone has forgotten me' or 'Look, all the mail is for new missionaries.  After they've been out a while, they won't get any, either.'  

Don't forget to write to your missionary - or any missionary you know.  A single letter during the mission of someone in your ward, or a missionary you know can really help, if that is all you get written.  Don't forget your missionaries.  They can get discouraged and down and letters can help so much.

I recently saw a really great idea for a package for a missionary.  It was called a 'Sunny' package and it was a little box full of yellow things.  A lot of things were from the dollar store - but everything was yellow.  What a great idea - think of all the variety of boxes you could send just using single color.

Remember once in a while to include something for the companion, especially if you know that the companion never gets mail or packages.  Ask your missionary if his/her companion gets things.  Ask when his/her birthday is.  Remember at Christmas to send something for the companion. 

Most missionaries love and really appreciate a couple of dollars tucked in a letter.  For some, $5.00 could be a couple of lunches at a fast food place.  You don't have to send a lot, but once in a while, especially if you think the missionary may not have a lot of extra money, a little would be a blessing.  This is especially true towards the end of the month when their money may be gone.

Our mission now requires all missionaries to have a bike.  This has been a huge amount of work for the office and a surprise for many missionaries and families.  Some simply cannot afford a bike.  And a bike is not all - there are helmets, lights, bumpers for at least the Sisters, and other things needed, too.

We've had several real miracles associated with getting these bikes.  One mother of a missionary in a different mission read about this and called and donated 2 complete bikes for missionaries who really need one.  What a huge blessing for our mission.  Thanks so much to her.   Members of a ward here donated 2 bikes.  The Ward mission leader bought and added the helmets & other needed things. Thanks to those who have helped by giving bikes in other ways and getting helmets and lights for needy missionaries. 

I LOVE serving this mission.  I cannot tell you how happy I am.  I find so much joy every day.  The missionaries are so young (I am 72) and bring such a wonderful spirit.  I can't help but love them before they get here, after I type and send letters, prepare their incoming book, fill out files on them.  I can't always remember their names when I see them and that frustrates me totally.  But I know that they are here because Heavenly Father wants each of them here (and I know he wants me here.)  I know Heavenly Father is real.  He is alive.  He knows each one of us and our individual feelings and thoughts.  He is our real Father.  He wants us to succeed.  He especially wants his missionaries to succeed.  We know there is opposition that does not want them to succeed. So missionaries have this new opposition in a new place doing new work.  It is understandable the missionary could be discouraged and worried and thinking they can't do want they need to do.  Please remember to write and send something once in a while to any missionary who is in the field.  It may seem a little thing for you - but may be a huge thing for the missionary.

Photos -finally!

The dates on the first 3 photos are completely off.  I forgot to set them.  :-)
This is our 'Transfer Board'.  It is one of the most 'important' and 'sought after' things for missionaries to look at.  This is where photos of every missionary are hung.  The blue signs at the top indicate zones.  The smaller aqua signs indicate districts.  The pink squares hold photos of the Sisters in our mission.  The yellow squares hold photos of missionaries called to speak Spanish.  They are hard to see, but there are a few cards who are 1/2 pink and 1/2 yellow - indicating Sisters called to speak Spanish.
The 'Transfer Board' is housed in the President office and missionaries rarely, if ever, see it. 
They LOVE to have a chance to stand and look at it.

Transfer day, April 30, 2012.  The new missionaries are inside the Prater Church, the peach/pink building you can see in the background.  Seen here are their companions-to-be or missionaries who are being transferred from one place to another.  I wish I could have been on the roof of the mission office, which is behind me.  Then I could have taken a really good picture of every one outside.  I love this time and having so many missionaries around.  What a great spirit is there.  It was a beautiful day, too.
We had 14 new Sisters incoming for these transfers.  There were 13 Elders incoming.
6 of these (3 Sisters and 3 Elders) are 'Visa Waiters' - one going to Peru and 5 to Brazil.  While they are waiting for their visas to go through they will serve in our mission and then leave for the mission they were called to.  We also have 2 'Temple Square' Sisters serving in our mission.  Temple Square missionaries go to more 'traditional' missions for a couple of transfers to serve.

This is our mission office.  It used to be a Seminary building.  It is in the back of the parking lot you see in the above photos.  It was mostly gutted and redone inside before we got here last year in June.
The Nevada Reno mission opening last July 1, 2012.  It is beautiful inside.  I love the flowers on the
bushes in front.