Friday, September 22, 2017

Best-kept Secret in the Church!

My dear Brothers and Sisters,

It has been four years this month since I sent my boy off to the Mexico MTC. Do you know what that means? That means MMs is 4 years old now. However, long before there were Blogs, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or Pinterest... there were Missionary Mommas all over the world.

I have often said that the whole "MM thing" is one of the best-kept secrets in the church. You know, when you are expecting, there are all sorts of people that will tell you about child bearing... the good, the bad and the ugly! And there are libraries full of books written on how to handle newborns, toddlers and teens! BUT, I have never come across a book or class that teaches you how to act and what to do when you become a Missionary Momma! 

I have got to say that having a group of men and women that all have one thing in common --a missionary-- was one of the most helpful things ever. I had somewhere I could post pictures and concerns and share with people who truly *get it*! You know that glazed look you get when you start talking "mission stuff" with a non-MM friend... yeah, that didn't happen here! When I posted a pic of my son eating crickets (YES, CRICKETS), I had hundreds of you share pics with me of your missionary eating icky stuff too! It was GREAT!

So on this MM Anniversary Month, I would like to take a few minutes to say THANK YOU! Thank you for sharing your missionaries and their experiences! Thank you for sharing your pictures and videos. Thank you for sharing your joys and your heartache. Thank you for sharing your best letter, Skype and package ideas. Thank you for attending the Missionary Momma Workshops. And thank you for the farewell/homecoming recipes, decorations and ideas.

But most of all... thank you for loving me and each other!


Monday, May 1, 2017

“I Had Zero Sick Days While Serving in Africa” - The Missionary Health Product Everyone is Talking About

Guest blogger - Michaela Proctor

My eyes were too eager as I opened my mission call. No matter how earnestly I tried to read line by line, I couldn’t help but read ahead to see the words “Zambia Lusaka Mission”. I could hardly squeak the words out with all of my emotions, but behind the immediate joy, I felt a little scared. Throughout high school, I had traveled to Africa a couple of times, and though two weeks there were life changing, I was apprehensive with the thought of living there for 18 months. What kinds of illnesses and physical hardships would accompany the already strenuous work of daily preaching the gospel?

Packing was quite the feat, trying to fit 18 months worth of supplies I would not be able to find in Zambia and Malawi. My parents included in the supplies 18 months worth of the capsules that they had personally used for several years. I had tried it once or twice before in liquid form and felt my body respond well to it. Though my luggage weight capacity was limited, I felt that bringing those capsules would ease my fears of sickness.michaela-3

Within the first couple of weeks in the field, I saw just how often I could potentially eat or drink things that were not very clean. Despite our best efforts, we could never carry enough water from our apartment to last us the entire day of walking, so we inevitably had to ask people for water. While our apartment had a filter on its tap, most of the people we got water from took it from wells in their backyards. Often times it was slightly brown, but when we were totally parched and it was between 90 and 100 degrees, we didn’t have much of a choice.

Through these days of drinking this water, I faithfully took the capsules, and the miraculous thing was that when others got sick, I never had one day when I needed to stay in sick. I seemed to be preserved.

Others were not so preserved, however. One sister struggled with constipation her entire mission while my last three companions always felt bloated, constipated, or had diarrhea almost the entire time we were together. Often times when I was ready to go they took extra time because they weren’t feeling well, or we had to stay in for part or all of the day for them to rest. Most of the time these sisters would want to soldier on and push through the pain during the day, but this often led to lost time in transition and extra time for lunch breaks.

Our mission president’s wife was always very aware of the missionaries’ health. As I was a sister training leader most of my mission, I was called upon more than once to take a sister to the hospital that was having stomach issues (whether this was from the water, food or previous health problems I am not sure). Unless there was a serious issue, we were usually told to just avoid the water and street food and go on the BRATs diet where you only eat bananas, rice, apples, and toast. Stomach or intestinal discomfort was practically commonplace.

At one point near the end of my mission I got a little lazy in taking the capsules and started feeling bloated all the time. I remember lying on the floor of my apartment with my companion during a lunch break and trying to find a comfortable position to relieve the pain. Soon after this I began taking the capsules again and this bloating went away. We often joked about our “food babies” and how big our stomachs would get when this bloating occurred.michaela-4
We may have laughed, but it was really uncomfortable and sometimes took away from our focus.

One particular month during rainy season, flooding buried the city’s water pipes in sludge, preventing any running water from getting to the towns we were serving in. Our zone leaders scrambled everyday to provide water for the missionaries, but many times we were left having to collect rainwater that poured from our roof. As we walked the muddy streets and saw many houses with collapsed roofs or walls saturated with water, we saw mothers and young girls walking with buckets trying to find any source of clean water for drinking, cooking, and washing. The irony was that in such a torrential flood, there was no water to be found.

Again, my companion and I could not carry enough water to last us the whole day. Though we were warned of cholera and we did our best to avoid drinking the water, sometimes we had no other alternative. It was jarring to see such tragedy all around me. Families were desperate. I often wondered as I sat in people’s houses if the rains would make their walls collapse, too. With so much sickness and fear around me, my body still remained healthy.

Watching others get sick around me was a difficult part of my mission. The mission is a time where everything familiar is stripped away and you are left to rely solely on the Lord. It is vulnerable and can be extremely discouraging at times. Discouragement and stress only made these stomach issues worse.

Those little green capsules made all the difference on a daily basis as I preached the gospel in Zambia and Malawi. When I had so many opportunities to be sick and stay home, I was healthy and strong and could continue to serve and teach. Many missionaries came home and continued to face stomach and intestinal issues, including diarrhea and constipation, but the only residual effect I’ve felt from my mission was an increased desire to use my health and strength to build the Kingdom.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Going Home

I had messed up and I knew it. I wasn’t supposed to be there. I sat at my desk across from my companion. I had my scriptures and Preach My Gospel out, studying, as was the routine every day for the past fourteen months of my life. However, for the past two weeks, it had been harder to concentrate. As my eyes drug across the pages, they were splintered with the pains of sleepless nights. The words would leave me almost before I could finish reading them. Black shadows had formed under my eyes from the lack of sleep. This was ironic because sleep was the only thing that I wanted to do. It was the only way to escape from my own thoughts. I didn’t dream, luckily, for if I had I’m sure they would have been a compilation of the same endless terrorizing images that flashed in and out of my head during the long hours of the day.
Two weeks prior to that day I had decided that I would tell my mission president, God’s representative, everything from before the mission. I wasn’t worthy to be there. I had lied to my stake president and bishop. I thought that it would be easier, better perhaps, to take care of it after the mission. If I had said anything before the mission, I would have had to wait longer to leave. Everyone would have known. Wouldn’t it have been better anyway to just save myself from that embarrassment? Yet as the days and months of being in the mission wore on, the aching sore got deeper and deeper. The sting of embarrassment felt like it would be a great relief.
Back at my desk, I started writing in my journal. I had written in my journal every day of my mission. It was custom, although today was harder than usual. I scratched the month into the top of the page. N-O-V-E-M-B-E-R. Then the day and date. S-U-N 2. Up until this point, I had only mentally decided to talk to President. But today I was going to write it down. I knew that if I wrote it down I would actually follow through with my decision. My palms were sweaty. I could barely grip my pen. I felt so cold. The door was closed and the heater was on, but at my very core, I was shivering. As pen fell on paper, tears fell with it. “I need bravery to talk to prez….” Then in that very moment, I decided to put a disclaimer. A rationale. I would bargain with God. I would go home like I knew I needed to, but he had to give me something in return. I continued writing “… when I get my driver’s license and the Cardona familia gets baptized.” I felt guilty for writing it. Who am I to command God? But that condition I made with God was the only thing that kept me sane. I knew that going home would be hard. I saw all of the things that I would have to give up. I would no longer be going home at the right time with my friends. “I have to let down my home ward, my mission, the people in my area, my comp., district, zone, my family, especially my mom.” Oh, when I thought about letting down my mom, my angel mother, I couldn’t. I wouldn’t. I can’t. I have to. I must. “Right now it doesn’t matter. I know I need to be clean. I need to repent.” My mother had told me the week before in her email that I always knew the right thing to do. Those words entered my head with the sweetest peace that I had felt in the past two weeks. She always knew the right thing to say and when to say it. I could do this. Now I would just wait on the Lord. I still needed my license and for the Cardonas to get baptized.
The next day we had interviews with President. The walk to church was blistering hot in my black suit. I wasn’t going to tell president anything, it was supposed to be a normal interview. But as soon as we got to the church I knew what was going to happen. I was going to crack. I was going to spill everything. I couldn’t take it anymore. The pain I was carrying around was too much. I needed to get it out. I walked in, sweaty from the beating sun. I didn’t talk to anyone. I went to the chapel to wait for my interview. I sat alone in the corner, thinking about what the next few days would be like.  Surely there would be more interviews. I would have to go home. Then I would see my mom. Tears streamed down my face as I thought about prematurely reuniting with my mother. I buried my face in my lap so no one else could see me crying. I didn’t want anyone else to see me. I wished I could disappear out of existence. There was no way I was going to tell President. Plus, my conditions had not been met. If I was going to do this I was going to do it my way!
“Elder Chapman!”
That was me. It was my turn. I stood up, wiping the tears from my face. I tried to smile as I walked past the zone leaders who had called my name. No one must know that something was wrong. I could do this. I would just have a friendly chat with President as I had done in all of my other interviews, and then it would be over. I would leave. I didn’t have to do this right now. I walked down the long hall to the door. President opened it. “Hola, Elder Chapman!” President smiled with his cheery face, as always. I knew that voice well. He was a short little man, from Oaxaca, Mexico. He never spoke to me in English, this was comforting. It was something familiar. He had calm brown eyes that made me feel like he understood every word that I said. They let me know that I was loved and gained him my trust at the first glance. We entered the room. It smelled like chalk. We sat at the table across from each other. His eyes were locked on mine, as he asked me questions about my area and mission. But he didn’t seem to be looking at my eyes. I felt his eyes piercing my soul. Did he already know? Could he tell that I wasn’t worthy to be there?
Then he asked me, “Is there anything else you would like to share with me?” My insides cringed as if every piece of chalk in the room was being screeched, like fingernails, on the chalkboard. The tears fell like a waterfall down my face. I couldn’t even speak. I just nodded yes. He waited patiently, not saying a word. We just sat there for what seemed like days. Me crying helplessly in my chair and him lovingly waiting for my response. Finally, I cleared my throat enough to let out the words “I have to go home.” This must have taken him off guard, for he didn’t say anything. He looked at me with concern, wondering why I had to go home. He handed me a tissue and I blew my nose. I stared at my lap. I didn’t want to see his eyes. I didn’t want him to see me. I had let it out. I would surely lose his trust and love. I continued, “I need to go home and fix my past.” The words seemed to choke me as they came out. When I finally looked up I saw tears in his eyes too. The waterworks turned back on for me. I wasn’t able to speak again. It was his turn; I had done my part. He said with tenderness in his voice, “Thank you, Elder, for trusting me enough to tell me.” I was not expecting that response. I had expected to be reprimanded, or possibly yelled at and angrily sent home, shunned and unwanted. He continued telling me about what our plan would be over the next few weeks. But I couldn’t focus on what he was saying. I was too baffled by the way he had responded, he didn’t hate me. He was crying with me. He loved me.
That night, back at my desk, I wrote, “I had a giant splinter that had been buried deep in me and I had to cut myself open and take it out. But now it’s out and I just need to heal.” I was going to be sent home to heal, not to be punished. I had punished myself by keeping it in. I slept like a baby that night. I could finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. I was going home, but I wasn’t scared anymore. I knew it was going to be a good thing.

My flight landed and I exited the plane. The only person that was able to make it was my mom, on account of how short notice it was. As soon as she saw me, tears started streaming down her face, and she ran and gave be a huge hug. She told me how proud of me she was. It took me a long time to understand why everyone was telling me “thank you” and how proud of me they were, but finally, I got it. They were proud because, for the first time in my life, I put the Lord’s will before my own. I wasn’t bargaining with him anymore. It was His will over mine.
Kelton Chapman
Elder Chapman returned to his mission and served the remaining 10 months, plus an extra transfer, before returning home honorably. He is now studying to be a heart surgeon and engaged to be married to a beautiful RM... that he met in his Eternal Families Class at BYU-I!

Friday, February 10, 2017

2017 Spring Missionary Momma Workshop

Come enjoy a day with us!
Presenters will speak to us about these important topics...

"Press Forward: Helping Missionaries (and Their Families) Face Discouragement." 

"Escape from Planet Me"

"Raising and Supporting Successful Missionaries"

As well as music by Heartbound!

This is an event that you will not want to miss! Seating is limited!

A light breakfast and a delicious lunch will be served!

Price: $35 for one person, $60 for two 

Date: Saturday, March 25th
Time: 8am - 2pm
Place: The Grand View in Ogden (339 E 2250 S #103, Ogden, UT)
Who: Everyone who loves Missionaries and Missionary Work

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

His Image in Their Countenance

by Wendy Minks

There are LDS missionaries all over the Earth.  Everyday they are spotted with their suits and ties, cardigans and skirts with that signature black name tag.  I frequently see them at bus stops and in parking lots.  On Mondays I often see them filling their carts at WalMart.

They talk to strangers, they ask deep questions of people they have only just met.  They knock on doors, and face rejection constantly.  They are bold.  They are brave.  They are strong.  They are a force for good in the World.

Missionaries are movers, gardeners, painters, cleaners, and ranch hands.  They seek out service opportunities.  They serve all - regardless of their desire to listen to their message.  They mow lawns, paint fences, scrub floors, and load boxes. 


They cook, and clean and decorate for parties.  They are the set up crew and the clean up crew.

They attend meetings, teach lessons, study, ponder and pray. 

The come from all over the world, are of every race.  They are men, women and couples.  They are young and they are old.  They speak every language from ASL to Zuni.  There are no two just alike, yet somehow, even without the name tag, you know when you are looking at a representative of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Even in a muddy t-shirt and jeans digging a garden, you know when you are looking at a missionary.  How is that possible?



Alma 5:14
  And now behold, I ask of you, my brethren of the church, have ye spiritually been born of God? Have ye received his image in your countenances? Have ye experienced this mighty change in your hearts?

The image of He whom they serve shines bright in their countenances.  They have been spiritually born of God.  They have experienced this might change in their hearts.  When we see missionaries, we recognize His love shining through them. 

Monday, August 1, 2016

Missionary Momma Spring Workshop 2016

We want to thank all of the Presenters that came and shared their stories and talents with us, Missionary Dad, David Hill for filming this event, the Missionary Momma Mall vendors for coming and bringing fun prizes and products for us and all of you that were able to attend!

For those of you that were unable to attend this time (and those of us that just want to enjoy it again), here is the footage from this workshop.

If you would like to attend this event, here is the info!

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Spring Missionary Momma Workshop 2016

Saturday, April 9, 2016
8am - 2pm
Grand View Events Center
339 E. 2250 South
Ogden, UT

WE ARE SO EXCITED FOR THE APRIL MM WORKSHOP! Here is a sneak peek at the presenters. This will be an AWESOME experience that you won't want to miss out on! Read clear to the bottom of this post to find the link to previous presenters!

Click here to register now!

Michael R. Hicks has uplifted audiences all over the world – from the Middle East to California, from Calgary, Canada to Kenya, Africa. His music has won awards and many have performed his arrangements, from small church choirs to famed country stars.

Michael graduated from BYU in Marketing Communication with a minor in music. He is from Salt Lake City, Utah and served a full-timeLDS mission in the California Santa Rosa Mission. Michael enjoyed teaching seminary for a semester at Mountain View High School in Orem, Utah. He loved working as a counselor for the Especially For Youth program for five summers.

Michael is perhaps best known as the composer of the EFY Medley: As Sisters In Zion & We’ll Bring the World His Truth, sung by nearly a half of a million youth since 1999 at the Especially for Youth program, and sung by hundreds of thousands more in church congregations around the world, including seminary graduations, mission farewells, temple dedication celebrations, youth conferences in Lithuania, Australia, Japan, China, Canada, the United Kingdom, throughout South America, and more.

Joe Cochran graduated from BYU in 2013 and is currently a Middle School Social Studies Teacher in Riverton, UT.  He loves working at a Junior High because in his own words, “we are the same height and I blend in well.”  

Joe loves to exercise and recently ran his first half-marathon. When he isn’t recovering from the pain of such long runs, Joe finds the most joy in life spending quality time with his friends and family.  He especially cherishes the role of being an uncle because he can spoil his niece and nephew, play with them, and then promptly hand them right off to their parents when they leave a surprise in their diapers.

Joe has worked with the youth since 2010 through EFY, Seminary, and other programs.  He served his mission in Mexico City and still craves tacos every day of his life.  He loves speaking to the youth and sincerely hopes that his life and words help them to chase their dreams, never give up on themselves, and love life – no matter the bumps, curves, or detours that they may experience.

Garth Smith is an LDS music artist specializing in original arrangements of the hymns. He released his firstalbum “Sacred Hymns” in 2014, and was shortly signed thereafter by RLegacy Entertainment in Salt Lake City, Utah. His second album “How Beautiful Thy Temples, Sacred Hymns, Vol. II”, was released in May 2015. Garth’s albums have received critical acclaim from newspapers such as Deseret News, LDS Living and Meridian Magazines, and from respected LDS bloggers. His music is featured on the Mormon Channel he has his own Pandora Radio Station. Both albums are found in Deseret Book and all major LDS music outlets.

Garth was born in Brigham City Utah. He served in the Arizona Holbrook Navajo speaking mission.

Upon returning from his mission, he attended Brigham Young University where an inspired Bishop called him to team teach the marriage preparation class in his singles Ward with a beautiful young woman named Diane Pruyne (pronounced PRINE). The rest, as they say, is history.

Diane Smith was born in Elmira, New York. She attended college at the University of Buffalo, where she was taught the gospel by the missionaries and was baptized. She moved to Utah and attended Brigham Young University.

Garth and Diane are the parents of two daughters. Garth is currently serving as the second counselor in the bishopric of the Vista 8th Ward, Vista California Stake. He works as a Principle Designer for Callaway Golf. Diane is an elementary teacher in the Vista Unified School District.

Eric Richards is here today because of two missionaries that shared the gospel with him and his mom one day in San Diego.  Later, his own mission began in Honduras and ended in Alabama (due to a bone tumor).  He played water polo and volleyball in college, during which time he met wife Megan as they worked as EFY counselors; the two were married in the San Diego  temple and have 4 children.
His current assignment is writing curriculum for Seminaries and Institutes in addition to being a Seminary Principal;  he also directs for the EFY program and speaks at BYU Education Week.
Brother Richards loves cooking for people, photography, remote controls, ice cream and iPhones.  And, on a side note, he loves chocolate more than most women do.
Most of all, he loves teaching and being with valiant Latter-Day Saints.

Matt Bambrough was injured in a automobile accident and diagnosed a quadriplegic at 19-years-old. Ever since this traumatic experience, he hasn’t let his paralysis get in his way of reaching his goals. He started playing wheelchair rugby shortly after his accident, and during that time, has won multiple all-tournament awards and participated on the developmental paralympic team. Matt graduated from Brigham Young University with a bachelor of arts degree and received his Master’s of Professional and Organizational Communications degree from the University of Denver in 2015. He is very interested in keeping up with an active lifestyle. He has participated in many activities such as handcycling, wheelchair rugby, downhill skiing, cross country skiing, competitive wheelchair racing, and more. He loves being part of the great outdoors and spends significant time with his family camping, fishing, boating and watching his kids participate in soccer.

Matt lives with his wife Krista and three wonderful children in Lehi, Utah. Matt worked for Utah Valley University where he was the Creative Director for the University as well as an adjunct faculty member for the Art & Visual Communications department. He currently works in Salt Lake City for a Marketing and Design firm called Axis41. From his wheelchair, he served an LDS mission in the great Arizona, Phoenix Mission.

The Levine Family has lived in Stansbury Park Utah since 2003. That is where they call home. They have 2 children. Their oldest, Daxon served his mission in Oslo, Norway. He’s 24 years old and will graduate with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in psychology in June from BYU Hawaii. Daxon just married his sweetheart, Bethani, in the Mount Timpanogas Temple this March. They live in Laie, Hawaii. Levine’s youngest, Kendal, served her mission in the Sydney Australia South Mission. She is almost 22 years old.

Kendal was an athlete all of her life and enjoyed being outdoors getting dirty. She was a 5 sport athlete and lettered in all 5 when she graduated from Stansbury high school in 2012. Kendal received a Full ride 2 year scholarship to, Casper College Wyoming, playing women’s basketball, which was her passion. After the missionary age change in the October 2012 General Conference, Kendal immediately knew she was to serve a mission. She finished out the basketball season and first year of college and gave up her 2nd year scholarship. She received her mission call on General Conference weekend, April 2013, and left to serve in August 2013. Kendal served just over a year when she was struck by a drowsy driver, 15 feet off the side of a road, seconds after taking a picture of a double rainbow.

Kendal was hit directly at a speed of 40 miles per hour. Miraculously, Kendal did not have any broken bones, cuts or lacerations. However she did suffer a traumatic brain injury. She spent months in a coma and was given a very slim chance of survival or chance of recovery. Through numerous priesthood blessings and personal revelation, her family knew Heavenly Father still had work for her to do on this earth and that her mission was not over. They never gave up on her and have done everything to be by her side through rehab and recovery. Kendal has spent the last year and a half in rehab re learning all motor functions, gaining back her memories and understanding the purpose of her trial. She knows the Lord has a plan for her and she continues to serve her mission in another way, by sharing her experience. She hopes to soon be recovered enough to return to her mission and finish out the remaining 6 months she has left ‘Down Unda’.