A while back, we took up a donation so that the MMs could send a token of their love to some grieving families... There is an amazing story behind the scenes that goes along with the delivery of these gifts! We asked Shannon Avery to tell it in her words...
Please welcome guest blogger Shannon Avery. Shannon is a wife, a mom, a business and social media consultant, a writer, an avid genealogist....and a Missionary Momma!
As many of you know, this year we lost several valiant missionaries while they were serving in the mission field. When a tragedy like this happens, support usually comes pouring in. Grieving families are overwhelmed with donations, gifts, letters, and other generous tokens of caring and compassion. As time passes, the hearts of those who mourn are still at a loss, but the rest of the world tends to move along. The first holiday season is especially challenging for those who've lost loved ones during the year.
The Missionary Mommas wanted to share their love for the families of our departed missionaries in a meaningful way. Heidi, founder of Missionary Mommas, put a lot of thought and prayer into the gifts that we would send, trying to be sensitive to their situations, while still providing something that would offer hope and peace in what feels like an impossible reality.
Heidi’s father is a photographer, and while reviewing some of his recent photos, she received a spark of inspiration to send the families of these great missionaries a canvas print of one of the temples her father photographed. She envisioned printing on the canvas photo, “Families are Forever.” Sometimes we take those simple, hope-filled words for granted. But for families heartbroken by the loss of their precious children, there are few words more powerful or inspiring.
During the process of creating the finished products, there were several issues to resolve with size, quality, and other details. In the midst of everything, the printer called Heidi. At first, she thought there was another problem with the project that would hold it up further. Instead, the woman at the print shop asked, “Is this one of those Mormon temples?” The question really took Heidi by surprise! But, during their phone conversation, she was able to share with this inquiring woman her personal testimony of the restored gospel, the temple, and her knowledge that families truly can be eternal.
So, the issues with the printing were resolved, the canvases were created, and the day came for them to be picked up. They were beautiful! After careful inspection, Heidi loaded them into her car and drove home.
It was dinnertime, so Heidi’s husband met her at the car to help. In the hustle of unloading and getting dinner going, the boxes with the canvases inside were leaned up against the back of the car.
After dinner, Heidi’s husband left to run an errand, but he quickly returned with the box that held the canvases in his arms. Heidi asked him what he was doing and, noticing he looked sick, asked if he was okay. That’s when he told her that he'd run over the canvases when he was backing the car out. (We can only imagine hearing this news! AUGH!)
They carefully removed each canvas from the box, and to their complete shock and disbelief, the canvases were perfect. There was tire tread across the crushed box, but the canvases AND their wooden frames were completely intact!
There’s no other explanation for the preservation of these gifts except that Heavenly Father recognizes the efforts of His children, and He protects His temples. He knew they were important enough to the Missionary Mommas and the families of those missionaries to preserve them.
This experience may just end up being one of those modern day miracles that some people will dismiss or explain away. Those families in Taiwan and Utah may never know the circumstances surrounding the Missionary Mommas’ offering, but we wanted to share the story with you, to strengthen your faith in our loving and eternal Father. He is in the small details of our lives, when we allow Him to be. Thank you to those sisters who contributed to our gifts, and may each of you have a most happy and blessed Christmas.