PACK YOUR BAGS
February 21, 2016My message today is a message of Hope. Hope for any of you who might read this blog and think you might want to serve a mission someday. I am here today to say "You can do it."
I have learned when any missionary packs their bags for their mission, he or she brings ALL their baggage with them. Meaning emotional baggage; past experience baggage; all of "Who they are" baggage. And then, over time, the miracle happens. If the work is put in on their part, the Savior makes up the difference and a successful mission occurs!
In our time of service here, we have worked with 16 different Senior missionaries in the MIM office. We have seen them come and go. I have learned things I needed to learn from working with each one of them. I consider each as my friend. Before I tell you about one of them, let me give you a quote that I read this week. It came from Paula Fish at home in Show Low, AZ.
"When you find people who not only tolerate your quirks but celebrate them with
cries of "Me too!" be sure to cherish them. Because those weirdos are your tribe."
I gave this quote to Sister Fuller who is in charge of phones and Ipads for the young missionaries.
Her and I are surely in the same tribe. She knew about as much about a computer as I did when she came in December. As for Ipads, she doesn't own one. And doesn't intend to. And when a real phone isn't working for missionaries, that's another adventure to listen to her talking to them about how to fix it. So, can you see why I just love her? Here is a bit of trivia about my friend:
*She LOVES shoes. Me too!.....she cleaned out her closet awhile back and I got a few good pair off
*She loves, loves straight up COKE with no ice. The ice will dilute
the flavor. Sonic is her first stop of the day.Not me. I'll take a diet occasionally. But I get her.
*She LOVES her nails. Me too! Only she came to us with "Carnival nails"; meaning a different color
on each nail. I was appointed to tell her that that is not Handbook Legal. So, she has settled for pale,
one-colored nails for now. Occasionally, she can't help herself and shows up with sparkles on them.
She tells me she feels naked without them.
*She calls me and the young missionaries "Honey". I don't, but I get her.
*When I have to send a phone call to her about an Ipad or missionary phone, I warn her first. I yell
through the glass. We have a little laugh and away she goes with her expertise.
*She can be talking on her personal cell phone and try to send that call through to someone else in the
office on the mission land line. Me too!
*She owns a Big Bird yellow colored car with her favorite football teams plastered on the windows.
Not me, but I love the happy color of Yellow. I don't even like football that much, but she is
passionate about it when it comes to certain teams. I will not name them here.
*She wants to serve because she says she needs all the blessings she can get. Me too!
I tell you about Sister Fuller, who is way beyond age 70, because she is a normal gal working on having a spiritual experience by serving this mission. She has baggage like all of us. She admits it. I have lots and lots of baggage too. And guess what? The Lord is willing to accept my piddly little offering of serving here. So, thinking about serving a mission? Pack your bags. The Lord will take you. Hope you have a grand time.
Friday Night OutFriday night out at the Independence Visitors Center was real interesting. The speakers were direct descendants of Joseph Smith. Kimberly Jo Smith is a great-great grand-daughter. She is also a member of the LDS Church. She has done much in her life to reconcile the Joseph and Emma Smith family to the LDS Church. It is rough going. The animosity between the family and the church is still very real.
Sister Smith talked about the rumors and falsehoods that were passed down from generation to generation in the family. She talked about her conversion story and what it took to overcome all of the stuff she had been taught. She said she was told to avoid the Mormon missionaries because they would hook you. She told us that each time she had an experience with the Mormons she could feel the Holy Ghost which she knew and relied on in her life. She said it was confusing but that she had always been taught to follow the Holy Ghost and that's what she did. The Holy Ghost eventually led her and some of her family to join the church.
After joining the church, she said that she started attending Relief Society meetings and was very excited about it. However, on one of her first meetings they started teaching the lesson from the study guide about Brigham Young. Her past teachings caught up with her when it came to Brigham Young. She had been taught that Brigham Young was the man who had made life miserable for Emma and her family. Sister Smith did not attend Relief Society again for the next two years as that was how long the church was studying the teachings of Brigham Young. She said that it took time and a great deal of prompting by the Holy Ghost to overcome the issues with Brigham Young.
To hear her talk about her journey and the history the Smith family brought me to believe that like all of us we tend to believe in perception rather than truth. Often times rumors repeated over and over become the perceived truth. That is what happened on both sides of the religious fence as it pertained to the LDS and the RLDS. As an example, she said that she was taught that out in Utah, if you apostatized from the church, you were taken to the top of the Salt Lake Temple and thrown into the Great Salt Lake. She said that on a subsequent visit to Temple Square in Salt Lake that she was surprised that there was not a lake next the Temple.
I believe Sister Smith and others like her, are now beginning to see, by way of the Holy Ghost, that the truth is far from what they were all taught.
Thanks Sister Smith for giving me a small glimpse into the life of the Prophet and his wife Emma and their descendants.
The great lesson for me was that you must live worthy of the Holy Ghost at all times. And you must be willing to follow those promptings as they come no matter how difficult or strange they may seem. It will make all the difference.