Users Guide:

This blog is a journal of our assignment in Chicago, IL as missionaries for The Church Of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We will be missionaries for twelve months starting in January 2014. It is a public blog so that our family and friends can share our experience with ease. The writings here are not intended to be a political, religious or social commentary. They are the memories, thoughts and "light bulb' moments we have as we serve. We welcome you the reader.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Letter # 4 The MTC

January 13, 2014
Our report day was finally in sight............!

We hopped on a plane with no idea what to expect and headed for the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah. We love this area and felt very familiar with our surroundings due to the many years our many children spent there attending BYU. Arriving in Provo would be the last familiar thing we would experience for a long time. Why would you have to go to a training center to be a missionary? We didn't know, but we would soon see a new world open before us. This new world is totally removed from the one we all know. Here there is no media, no need for shopping, or cooking, or most of the other daily tasks one spends time on. The Spirit dominates your consciousness, bringing a peace and a feeling of lifted cares. Our time was occupied with classes and devotionals and meeting new friends who were headed off to other mission assignments. The days were long and the schedule full-----a mission is not for wimps! Although the bounteous meals set before us, with no effort on our part, were a lovely experience, our bed became our best friend. We fell into it early and stayed there until the last possible minute before starting the next new day. There were approximately 200 senior missionaries----people of retirement age---in the MTC the week we spent there. In contrast, there were several thousand young missionaries there the same week. Those young missionaries stole my heart right then and there but that is another post to come.

Letter # 3 The Call

December 2013
It had taken all summer to order our affairs. Our home sold in July and we furnished two storage units with all of our earthly belongings. We moved in with our daughter and her family until it came time to leave on our mission. When we finally sent in our papers, it was the end of October. The standard waiting time to receive an assignment is 4 to 6 weeks. It is now December----we have been waiting for 6 weeks. We are not waiting for a phone call. We are waiting for a letter from the The President of Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It will tell us where we will serve and what our assignment will be. In addition we will learn when we are to report to the missionary training center. It will be heaven directed and made according to needs present. The mail box becomes the focus of everyone in the house. Time is spent watching for the mailman's approach on numerous days. Toward the end of week 7 the coveted envelope arrives. We hook up with our far flung family on the phone and on Face Time and when everyone was gathered, we open our Call. We couldn't have been more surprised! Family members had registered guesses ranging all over the country. One grandson hit the nail on the head when he predicted Chicago. We were called to serve in the Illinois Chicago Mission. My assignment was as the mission nurse specialist and Max would receive his assignment on arrival. We were to report to the Missionary Training Center on January 13, 2014. Lots of answers and lots of new questions.

Letter # 2 All Systems Go

May 2013.
 How does one become a missionary? We started by scanning the list of opportunities. The posting that caught our eye and interest was working with a program called the Perpetual Education Fund and Self Reliance Centers. The PEF allows individuals from developing countries to receive educational funds and then repay those funds when they finish their education and are employed---then the next person uses the funds, etc. The Self Reliance Centers are paired with this and provide classes and training in life skills, health and educational basics. We will need to serve somewhere in the world other than the United States since these programs are not offered here. We can do this!  Filling out scores of forms and questionnaires are our next task. All body systems are ok'd to serve. In this age of technology, you push the button and your info heads off into cyberspace. But wait, don't push the button yet! We become aware that although we have a plan, there are family circumstances that cannot be ignored. There are concerns that become apparent and this changes things. Our forms get a do over and we say that we will need to serve in the United States. We say that we are willing to serve anywhere and in any capacity. Now we push the button and the wait begins. what are we waiting for? We are waiting for our "Call".

Letter #1 New Colors

It is April 2013.
 Life is good. We are wrapped in a cocoon of family, friends, service opportunities, and comfortable physical circumstance. But, there is a gentle stirring in our hearts and minds. After years of blessed living we are wishing to give back a portion of the love that has distilled upon our spirits and warmed our beings. The way becomes clear for us----we will leave our cocoon and spread our wings. Our days will hold new color and space. We will serve as missionaries. But how do we start? After much prayer and pondering, we feel like the first step is to sell our home. A FOR SALE sign sprouts in the yard.