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’.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Glasses for Peru – Trip #1

Please Welcome Guest Blogger Shannon Avery! Her family was on a "mission" to bring glasses to Peru! Here is her wonderful story!

Our Glasses for Peru trip was a great success! I was humbled by the number of glasses donated by kind-hearted people, and was amazed by all the places the glasses came from. I received emails, Facebook messages, and packages of glasses from people I don’t know and have never met. It’s a beautiful thing when people hear of a need and just reach out to help.
In the weeks leading up to the trip we were blessed to have two eye doctors allow us to use their equipment to read the prescriptions of our donated glasses. This made the task of finding the right glasses during our clinics so much easier! I think it would have been practically impossible to meet the needs of the people who walked into our clinics if we had not known the strengths of the glasses we received. Special thanks to Dr. David Brockbank at Olympus Eye Associates and Dr. Jodi Johnson at Riverton Family Eye Care for allowing me to spend hours (and even days!) reading the prescriptions for our donated glasses. We truly could not have held successful clinics in Peru without your generosity.
In the end, we took over 1,200 pairs of glasses. We received donations of reading glasses, bifocals, prescription sunglasses, prescription goggles (for car mechanics, etc.), distance vision glasses, and just about every other kind of glasses you can imagine. And they came from all over – Tennessee, Canada, Alabama, Florida, California, Utah, and Maryland, just to name a few. It was a miracle!
Before wGlasses for Peru - Preparing Glassese came to Peru, a friend told us about a condition calledPterygium which is caused from spending a lot of time outside in the sun, wind and dust. To protect the eye, a layer of skin begins to grow from the inside of the eye near the nose. Left unchecked this layer of skin can continue to grow until it covers the eyeball and makes it impossible to see anymore. Sunglasses with 100% UV protection will help the condition to slow or stop growing completely (it can only be removed with surgery). Most of the sunglasses you see for sale in Peru do not have UV protection, so those glasses end up acting like a magnifying glass and making the condition worse. It’s better to not wear sunglasses than to wear them without UV protection. Jake (my son who lived in Peru for two years) told us that he never knew what the condition was called, but he saw it a lot, especially in a little fishing village where we were planning to hold one of our clinics.
Our friend also told us that almost all the people coming through his clinics had needed reading glasses. At that point, we only had about 50 pairs of reading glasses donated, and only a couple of pairs of sunglasses. This made me panic a little.
With this new information, we knew we needed lots more sunglasses and reading glasses. Thankfully, the Dollar Store has UV protected sunglasses and many strengths of reading glasses. With money we’d made selling missionary products on this website, we were able to purchase hundreds of pairs of sunglasses and reading glasses for our trip. In addition, we had a huge donation of sunglasses and reading glasses from our friend Tom Rush at Rush Plumbing, and we were delighted that Tom was willing to come to Peru with us and help with the clinics!
In the days leading up to the trip, we cleaned and packaged all the glasses. Many of the donated glasses came with cases, which was so great. We packaged the ones we bought in plastic bags to keep them from being scratched in transit. We also took some care packages to deliver to missionaries in the the five Lima LDS Missions and the Cusco Mission, as well as five laptop computers that were donated for us to give to a school in Huacho, Peru. Altogether, we had 12 large suitcases, and 6 backpacks. It was a sight!
The day for our departure arrived. When the boys got out of school, we loaded down our 12 passenger van (lovingly named the “Bumble” because it’s huge and  :) and made it to Las Vegas in plenty of time for our flight.
We had an eight hour layoverGlasses for Peru in Mexico City, so after clearing all our bags through customs, we took a taxi to Teotihuacan(Pyramid of the Sun). After our adventure and a delicious Mexican meal back at the airport, we boarded our flight to Lima. Having taken the red eye from Las Vegas and spending the day hiking around, we all slept the whole flight to Peru and landed after dark. It was tricky getting through customs because they thought we were going to try to sell the glasses. Thankfully, Jake can speak Spanish and he was able to convince them (after a tense 30 minutes of interviews, combing through our bags several times, and them disappearing with Jake’s passport) that we were honestly giving the glasses away at free clinics.
We were met at the airport by several of Jake’s friends from his mission. They helped us get transportation to the house where we were staying, and a couple of them came with us to make sure we got there safe and sound.

Our first couple of days were spent visiting and attending church with people Jake had taught and become friends with during his missionary service. Then, on day three, we drove to Vegueta, about 2 hours north of Lima, for our first eye clinic. I loved this place! The town was small, humble and quiet. And the people were so friendly and appreciated the glasses so much. Two of Jake’s Peruvian friends and some very dedicated missionaries came to help us with the clinic. We couldn’t have pulled it off without them! We learned so much at our first clinic, which helped make the later ones easier.
We saw literally hundGlasses for Perureds of cases of Pterygium in Vegueta, I’m sure because it’s right on the water and most people either fish or farm for a livGlasses for Peruing. In the end, we gave all the sunglasses we’d brought with us to people in Vegueta who had some degree of Pterygium. When we ran out, we had to just educate the rest of them about the importance of wearing sunglasses with UV protection (and say a little prayer in our hearts that they would be able to get them). It was really heartbreaking to see someone so close to losing their vision from Pterygium and having no more sunglasses to give them. But there are so many happy stories too.
Our next eye clinic was in Ventanilla, a suburb of Lima. It was the most populated area we visited, and it was a VERY hot day. We didn’t have the rental car anymore, so we had to take two taxis with all the glasses – an adventure! Thankfully, Jake’s friends and two different sets of missionaries were there to help us. The city was so busy that it seemed like nobody could tell that we were holding a clinic. So Jared and Brig made a poster and put it out on the gate, then tons of people started coming in. Because it’s surrounded by businesses, there were lots of people who came in on their lunch and dinner breaks. It was Glasses for Perureally neat when we were leaving that night, to walk by shops and see people who’d come to get glasses working inside :) Ventanilla was our busiest clinic, having served at least 400 people.
The last clinic was in Puente Piedra, another suburb of Lima. We had lots of help at this clinic, from Jake’s friends, people from the church where the clinic was held, more missionaries, and friends of from our daughter’s mission in Chile. This clinic was interesting because it was our third, so we had our system down and were able to get people through in really good time. But, being our last clinic, we were running very low on our distance glasses. And the tricky thing with the distance glasses is that we just had to take what was donated and had no way of getting more of any particular size, like we were easily able to do with the reading glasses. So the challenge in Puente Piedra was not having the needed prescriptions for the people who needed distance glasses. Don’t get me wrong, we were able to give away at least 50 pairs of distance glasses, but it felt like we also had to turn away several dozen people because we didn’t have what they needed. That was my least favorite part of the whole experience. The positive side was that we had plenty of reading glasses for everyone who needed them. And we were even able to leave what was left at the end of the night with the stake president who is now planning to hold a free eye clinic with his family, so they can give away the rest.
The thing thaIMG_6355t struck me the most about holding the eye clinics was how much we felt like God was helping us. From the very beginning when we were trying to figure out how on earth to give life to the idea we had in our minds, opening the mailbox day after day to find donated glasses inside, and finding places to have the clinics and people who were willing to help, to getting the glasses through customs and all over the place without losing or damaging any of them, and having exactly what so many people needed. I will share a few of the remarkable things we saw:
  • A woman came in with a severe loss of vision in one eye and perfect vision in the other. I remembered having found a pair of glasses like that when I was reading prescriptions at Dr. Brockbank’s office and wondering if I should even bother taking them because of the unlikelihood of finding someone who needed them. After searching through all my bags of glasses, I found that pair, and it was exactly what this woman needed. She had never had a pair of glasses in her life, and was finally able to see equally out of both eyes. I’d guess she was about 30 years old.
  • One old man in Vegueta made a real impression on all of us. When he walked in the door for his assessment, he couldn’t see where the eye chart was on the wall. I don’t mean he couldn’t see the letters on the chart…I mean he couldn’t even see where the chart was hanging. In addition to giving him a pair of sunglasses for severe Pterygium, we gave him the strongest pair of prescription distance glasses we’d brought with us. Within seconds of putting them on, tears started to trickle down his face as he said (in Spanish), “I don’t remember the last time I could see.” Then he read the first four lines on the eye chart :)
  • A family came in consisting of a grandmother, mother and son. Within just a couple of minutes we found a pair of glasses for each of them, and they were so excited and thankful that they stayed and helped us with the rest of our clinic.
  • A charismatic, hard working missionary came to help with one of our clinics. He didn’t speak English but was eager to do whatever he could, so we taught him how to do a simple distance eye exam. As he started helping with the eye exams for other people, he realized he couldn’t read very far on the chart at that distance (20 feet) either. So we did a quick check, determined he did need glasses, and the first pair he tried on were perfect for him! He was so excited and worked tirelessly for hours to help us find glasses that would make that kind of difference to someone else.IMG_6213Glasses for Peru
There are hundreds of stories like these, but the overarching similarity is that people came with specific needs and, 9 times out of 10, God was able to meet their needs with the little offering of glasses that we brought with us. It goes all the way back to one person hearing we were taking glasses to Peru, deciding they would send their glasses to me, those glasses being the exact pair that a person in Peru needed, that specific person in Peru showing up to the eye clinic, and the person helping them at the clinic finding that exact pair of donated glasses that was needed. I don’t believe there are coincidences in any of this. I saw God’s love right before my eyes, and I can never deny that each of His children is equally precious to Him.
I’ll sum up with an Glasses for Peruexperience from our last clinic, the night before we came home. A quiet missionary from Peru asked his companion to translate a message for me. He said, “Sister, I want to thank you for what you have done for these people in my country. Most people don’t care and don’t try to help. I will never forget what you have done today, and it makes me want to do more things to help other people. I welcome you in my country and in my home forever.”
I thank all of you who donated glasses and purchased from The project wouldn’t have happened without you! And I am so grateful for the opportunity that my family had to travel to Peru and make a small difference there. The things I saw, the people I met, and the experiences I had have changed me forever. This is only the first of many more “Glasses for Friends” trips!

~Missionary Momma Shannon Avery
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