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.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Letter # 17 Night Lights

I love light! When it is daytime, I like for it to be bright and sunny with light. When I am indoors and it is daytime, I like for the room to be light and bright. When it is night time, I'm not scared of the dark, but lights can become the focal point. A room can be shimmery with light, the heavens can be a velvet black blanket studded with diamonds. When the fireworks finally start because the sky has become black, it is magic for me. As I look at Christmas lights, they feel like the perfect representation of the light of Christ in our lives. Light illuminates dark places. Light is new knowledge shared. Light travels from person to person on smiles and hugs. Light is revelation, new thought, and Divine power.

When I received my assignment to serve as the mission nurse specialist, I wondered how much "nursing" I still remembered. Would I know what was necessary in all circumstances. Would those I served be safe from me. The words "first do no harm" rolled around my head. From day one, I prayed for the grace necessary for me to be of use. I hoped the light would turn on and I would be able to render true service. My work is done mainly over the phone. After months now, I still find it challenging to make judgment calls on rashes, bites, fevers, sprains, and tongues that are the wrong color without seeing what they look like. It amazes me daily that I seem to be able to listen and then suggest a whole range of ways the person might care for their situation. I feel like there must be an angel sitting on my shoulder using me as a  conduit for the light and love the Savior has for his children. I am grateful for this light.

There is another occurrence like this daily help, yet different. I want to always remember this evidence of Divine power. There are two instances I want to record. The first was when it was winter. The term being cast about was a "polar vortex".  The temperatures were frigid, the snow deep, and the winds fierce. The missionaries never missed a beat. Shoveling snow, carrying groceries, pushing cars, knocking on doors, finding referrals was daily action. My phone rang constantly. The voices and names were different, but the complaints were the same. Everyone had headaches and nausea and fatigue-----it had been going on for two weeks. My little nurse brain stewed and strained to no avail. And then came the night light. I woke in the last hours of night before the morning and as I came to consciousness, I knew what was wrong with everyone. The information came into my brain with the clarity of sunlight. They were dehydrated. I did some research and finally found a document from the University of New Hampshire that described frigid weather dehydration. The remedy came in similar fashion, was applied and everyone felt recovered within two days. The second occasion involved a missionary who approached me at a zone training meeting reporting blurred vision in one eye and excruciating headaches for the past week. I knew that he worked out with weights and asked about changes in his routine, increased weights, etc wondering if he had detached a retina or if there might be an embolism, etc. There seemed to be no correlations to his activity. He was visibly worried and called my phone at least 20 times the next day as we worked on getting him into a doctor. He saw an eye specialist and there was no accounting for his blurred vision. I went to bed puzzling over what to do next. Then the night light returned. The darkness of my lack of knowledge was illuminated once more. As before, I awoke in the early morning hours with a question in my mind. The question was for the missionary----"Are you using a supplement for bodybuilding".  I did my job and asked the question. His first reply was "why do you ask". I explained. He then answered in the affirmative and added that he had only started it a week ago. Almost immediately, the light came on for him. I researched the ingredients in the supplement he was using. They were extreme to say the least. Discontinuing this product allowed his symptoms to clear. The Lord is in the details of our lives and provides light and love as we need it.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Letter # 16 Just Over My Heart

Soon after starting the process of putting our papers in for our mission, I began to look forward to getting my name tag. As the process progressed and the time to actually set aside our everyday life and devote ourselves to fulltime service drew nearer, I became more and more anxious to be able to put on, as some call it, the badge. I don't know if I felt like it would be more real when I had the tag or if my comfort level with the known circumstance is better than the way I feel about the unknown. Having my tag would make things more defined, perhaps. I just knew that for some reason, I was really excited to get hold of that name tag. We met with President Cannon and he set us apart as fulltime missionaries. It had actually happened and yet I didn't have the evidence on my lapel. It would not be until we walked into the Missionary Training Center and received a registration packet that the coveted tag would appear. There it was in the envelope! I lost no time in attaching it to my sweater. It wasn't like when I advanced from Brownies to Girl Scouts and my new leader pinned on my new Girl Scout pin with great ceremony. It wasn't like when I crossed the stage at graduation and was handed my diploma. It was more like when I was first handed the new baby I had just delivered. To wear the Savior's name just over my heart is momentous to me. It reminds me that I have been set apart from the world to give all of my time in the Lord's service. I find that I am extra careful to do nothing that would embarrass or degrade him. I work hard to represent him and all the love and joy encompassed in his gospel in a pleasing manner. It makes me better. I feel some remorse in needing the tag to give me that mind set. I had that obligation long before I had the tag. Never the less, I love my tag and the way I feel when I put it on. When Ian was about 16, he had a tag that had belonged to Bret when he served as a missionary. Ian would take out the tag and come into the kitchen and view his reflection in the microwave. He would put the tag on his pocket and tell about how anxious he was to be a missionary--how he couldn't wait to wear the tag. He was also the one to tell me that as much as it meant to put on the tag, the real impact would come when I had to take it off. I feel it already. I don't want to take it off.