Sunday, December 28, 2014

Letting Go and Looking Up

by Guest Blogger Diane Jackson Workman

Letting go and looking up…. I’ve had a lot of reflection time today. My daughter came home in April from serving her full time mission in Costa Rica. My son is currently serving in the Oregon Eugene Mission and my third child is a senior in high school and will be starting his mission papers after the winter break. My baby and fourth child is 16 and is planning to serve a mission also. I am reflecting on these angles of the “missionary mom”.

I wished my daughter home so many times during her mission. It was a lot easier when she was out on her mission. Doesn't that sound insane? Seriously!! I remember someone telling me that and I was thinking, "you must have had a difficult child cuz I cannot wait!" Well, It IS so much easier when they are on their missions… Trust me on that - I also think they are less expensive.

Yesterday, we got to see and talk to my son on his mission for Christmas. He will hit his one year mark on Jan 15. He has just over a year more to go. Well, let me just tell you what I looked at on the TV screen... my little boy is gone. He is a man. Very mature, very spiritual and has such a testimony of every aspect of the gospel. He loves our Savior so much and has learned to look up to Him and his Father in Heaven. I was stunned numb when talking to him but I couldn’t quite figure out why… what was it that was so strange? We email back and forth every single Monday and I suppose the change was subtle. I hadn't noticed how much he has changed. In his weekly emails, he is still my funny little boy. This man I saw on Christmas was not the same. He is everything that I could hope and pray that my son would one day become. I was crying because he was a stranger. I cried because The Spirit testified to me how much he has grown. I cried because I missed him and I cried because he cried.

Here at home I adjust to our missionary not being here. I stopped looking for the missing person when we gather in the car to go somewhere or setting the extra plate at dinner. I have realized that we truly give our babies roots to grow and wings to fly. The most difficult thing is letting go and then watching them go.

I compare this mission adventure to teaching my children to ride their bikes. I remember with the first one, I bought all of the "guards". Shin guards, knee guards, elbow and wrist guards. I put her in a helmet and ran next to her when she was 8. (my last one learned to ride a two wheeler without training wheels by 3) I held onto that bar on the back of that bike and didn't want to let go because I knew she was going to fall down. That is what happens next... they have to learn how to ride the bike, balance, turn smoothly, look up and avoid the pit falls. They fall. Then, you pick them up, love them, put them back on the bike and run along some more... all the while encouraging them to keep pedaling, keep balancing, look up, avoid potential problems and hope they don't fall. (knowing they probably will again and again). We hope that they learned that turning too quick or not pedaling or looking down will cause them to fall again. We learn and hope they learn that the lesson is in the falls. I remember taking off the training wheels and doing it all again. Before you know it, they really get that hang of it on their own. They figure it out. I can't balance the bicycle for them or pedal the pedals... they have to do it... all I can do is run along the side until I can’t keep up any longer, encourage them, pick them up and love them. Then I wait in the driveway for them to return home, looking up, with a smile on their face.
It's so much like their missions. I have done all I can to protect my missionary and my sons getting ready to go. I’ve bought all of the guards. I have told him how to balance and showed him. I have stressed the importance of looking up and he has looked up to his older siblings to see how to do it, but now he has to do it by himself. He is going to fall. He will have a hard day or two. I will encourage some more, love him and tell him to get back on the bike. I realize the hardest part is letting go. I can even recall them telling me they are ready for me to let go. They are on their bikes ready to pedal. I have taught him what and how to do it. Now, I have to let him enjoy the ride, experience the adventure, put himself back on the bicycle and learn to look up. Pretty soon he will be around the corner heading back home. I will be in the yard waiting for him and it will seem he just went around the block.

My children’s mission journeys are so beautiful! There is so much joy in the lesson for both mom and the missionary. My daughter is moving onto different roads. College, marriage, family and finances. My missionary has learned the importance of looking up, balance and enjoying the ride. My other two sons are depending on their training wheels - ready for the adventure. I know that Heavenly Father calms my troubled heart. He comforts me constantly and I know that He is SO very mindful of our missionaries. He is guarding them. We need only to let go and look up.

About Diane:
Born and raised in Sandy, Utah. I've been a member my whole life. I married a less active, handsome member in the temple - my missionary moment, almost 25 years ago. I'll be 47 this next year! Holy cow that seems so old. I've wrecked on my own bike. A lot. I've had stitches and have scars but I always got back on, smiled and looked up.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

A Missionary Christmas

 (author unknown)

I skipped the sales after Thanksgiving. The thrill just wasn't there. No pictures taken with Santa Claus, My decorating has no flair. His presents are shoes, shirts, and ties, two suits and fun. I've bought him all white clothes because...
This year I'm giving Christ my son.

I've spent more time in the temple, my testimony stirred. I've reread November's Ensign, felt strength come from His words. Our family prays more frequently. My tears are quick to run. Abraham seems closer because,This year I'm giving Christ my son.

I wonder how those Lamanite mothers, gave their sons to war? Or how the pioneers chose Zion , their sacrifice was so much more. My loss will be his presence, I'll miss his smile a ton For two years we will pray for him,
I'm giving Christ my son.

I stare at his face when he's not looking. I memorize his eyes, their shine. He's always hungered for the part of him that makes his soul divine. The stories and lessons he always heard, his choice and mine are one. I'll put my faith in God's hand. This year,
I'm giving Him my son.

Past gifts have lost their glitter. I think I finally understand: Christ's birth should be celebrated by giving Him a hand. It's because I know Christ lives and reigns that all his packing's done. My gift has taken years to make, This year...
I'm giving Christ my son.

I know there's One who understands the sacrifice I'm making. Who knows the gift I willingly give, the toll it will be taking. For He has done it all before-- greater love, there could be none. For years ago God gave to me,
His only begotten son.

The hands I washed, the hands I held, the hands I taught to pray; Now knock on doors to find the ones who will listen to what he'll say. Because I know Christ needs him, until all the gathering's done, My gift has taken years to make.
This year...I'm giving Christ my son.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Story of the Temple Canvases

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!
 During this season of beauty and giving, our hearts are turned to our Savior and the blessings we've received because of His life, example and sacrifice for us. After all, He is the gift of Christmas.

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.


Monday, December 8, 2014

My Rock

I was recently able to visit my family in Utah. My Mom and Dad live on the foothills in North Ogden. From their back porch, this is the view...

This is Ben Lomand Peak. I have never climbed it... although, that is on my bucket list! Ben Lomand draws many tourists, mostly avid hikers and climbers. When my family first moved back to the States (I think I was 6 or 7), I was so scared that this mountain was going to come crashing down on us. It took me a while to feel the safety of this giant rock. As I grew up, I learned to love this mountain and the security it brought. When I got lost, I could look towards the peak and know which direction to travel to get back home! I knew that no matter where we ventured, when I saw Ben... I was almost home! Now, when I visit, I feel a sense of comfort as we round the bend and Ben Lomand comes into view... I feel safe. I feel protected. I feel at home!!!

I have another rock! 
He is my Savior!

I look to him for comfort too! As a child, when I sinned, I worried that He would come "crashing down on me"... but as an adult I find safety in the atonement. When I am lost, He helps me find my way. When I read His stories in my precious scriptures, I know what direction to travel! Christ also attracts the attention of many... not just hikers and climbers tho! His invitation to all "Come Unto Me" is not exclusive! 

This Christmas Season, let's share the gift of Christ, so that all mankind can feel the direction, the security and the love that comes from knowing our Savior! The Missionaries are the teachers....we, brothers and sisters, are the finders and the testifiers!!!

It is upon the rock of our Redeemer
that we must build our foundation.



Monday, December 1, 2014

What do they Sell at the Provo MTC Missionary BOOKSTORE?

Provo MTC Missionary BOOKSTORE 

Does Elder Jones need 3 weeks of laundry soap?  Should I send Hermana Smith with 6 weeks of shampoo?  Oh NO, I forgot to pack…
Have you ever wondered what they sell at the Provo MTC Bookstore?  Here you will find a list.
You spend months and months packing and preparing for a mission.  No need to stress, the BOOKSTORE at the PROVO MTC is where they can get a number of useful items. 
A few tips.  #1 – laundry machines are FREE, but they do need to bring or buy soap/dryer sheets.
The pay phones at the airports are very expensive for collect calls.  So they can call you before they  fly out and it won’t cost an arm and leg, we highly suggest you send your missionary with a pre-paid phone card.  They DO sell these at the bookstore too.

Personal care items
·                     blow dryers
·                     curling irons
·                     hair care supplies - both elders and sisters
·                     kleenex
·                     makeup 
·                     nail care items
·                     over the counter medications
·                     soap and soap dishes
·                     small spray bottles
·                     towels
·                     wash cloths
·                     water bottles
·                     bobby pins - both black and brown
·                     belts - elders
·                     bike pant/skirt clips
·                     button extenders
·                     ear muffs
·                     flip flops
·                     gloves
·                     handkerchiefs
·                     nylons
·                     shoe laces
·                     gym shorts
·                     socks
·                     sweatshirts
·                     t-shirts (lots and lots of styles and prints)
·                     ties
·                     pants and shirts
·                     half slips
·                     batteries
·                     battery chargers
·                     clocks
·                     photo albums
·                     power adapters
·                     watches
Cleaning supplies  
FYI - laundry machines are FREE.
You do need to buy/bring soap & dryer sheets
·                     laundry detergent
·                     pre-wash
·                     bleach
·                     dryer sheets
·                     laundry bags
·                     room deodorizers
·                     sewing kits
·                     shoe goo
·                     shoe polish kits
·                     zip lock bags
·                     ankles or wrists braces
·                     coat hangers
·                     ice cleats for shoes
·                     journals
·                     junk/snack foods
·                     luggage bag tags and straps
·                     pass along cards
·                     push up bars for exercise
·                     all kinds of office supplies – pens, pencils, notecards, notepads, etc
·                     STAMPS
·                     oil – for elders
·                     wallets and inserts
·                     mini white boards
·                     PHONE - Calling cards  $5 for 500 minutes!!!!  (HIGHLY RECOMMENDED)
·                     books 
·                     triple combination scriptures  (English)

If you are learning a new language they will GIVE you copies of what you need for your mission.

The books sold in the book store are extras.