First, we send thanks to the many readers of this blog who have taken the time to send words of encouragement during our mission. One long-time friend even sent a five-page handwritten note. Handwritten notes, if you haven't noticed, have become a lost art in this age of digital communication.
Will you be transferred? No. In addition to keeping our companionship intact (very convenient when you're happily married to your companion), we will not move to another area. We are assigned to Waco for our entire mission. We are very grateful for that. In addition to not wanting to move again (the younger missionaries have all their belongings in a couple of suitcases), we certainly wouldn't want to have to find another apartment, etc. But of greatest importance, a lot of our work involves establishing relationships with the "locals."
Can you communicate freely with your family? Yes. Younger missionaries are allowed (and encouraged) to email their families once a week. And they may talk with their families by phone (or Skype) twice a year ... on Christmas and on Mothers Day. That's all the communication that's allowed. We, on the other hand, can call or Skype or text our loved ones (and anyone else) any time we wish. We feel especially blessed by technology that makes instant communication possible. One time we received a FaceTime call from our son and daughter-in-law in Italy while we were driving down Interstate 35. (Don't worry. I kept my eyes on the road while Rean enjoyed both the audio and video.) Miraculous!
|Rean with some of young friends at last week's district meeting.|
Is all of your work in Waco? No. We frequently drive up to the Fort Worth area for various meetings. We can also attend the Dallas Temple as often as we wish (our schedule has allowed only one visit since we arrived before Christmas). And we often drive to surrounding cities for meetings. This past weekend we went to Lake Whitney (about an hour north of Waco) to participate in a Leadership Retreat for the Young Single Adult Branch. Both of us provided some of the training on Saturday morning. Rather than stay in one of the rustic cabins, we opted for a motel in Hillsboro, about half an hour away. Call us sissies if you wish. We figured a motel bill was cheaper than additional visits to the chiropractor.
Do you teach missionary discussions to investigators? Yes. In addition to occasionally accompanying the younger missionaries to assist in teaching their investigators, we are of course called and set apart as proselytizing missionaries. By covenant, and literally by law, we are licensed as ministers of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Just today a member asked us to teach the discussions to one of his friends. We are happy to oblige.
Are you making a lot of friends? Absolutely. And we're certainly getting a lot of practice associating names with faces, and faces with families. After all, we're working with three different congregations. It's a real challenge recalling who is a member of which ward, who the leaders are, who the teachers are, etc. But it's actually going better than you might imagine. People are very friendly here and they've made us feel quite welcome. We are getting especially well acquainted with the stake and ward priesthood leaders. They are relying on us more and more to provide help with their callings. This week, for example, we've been invited to meet with the stake presidency to offer our recommendations for public affairs "staffing" and programming throughout the area.
Do you wear your missionary tags at all times? No. We don't wear them on our pajamas, and I simply clip mine to the shower curtain while bathing. Seriously, yes, we do wear our missionary tags at all times when we're outside our apartment. Why? Because we're missionaries.
As servants of the Lord, we must continually jump off cliffs - then develop our wings on the way down.
What do you miss most about home? One of the many tender mercies about being on the Lord's errand is that the natural tendency to be homesick is mitigated by the joy of meeting and helping people we otherwise would never know. But what do we miss? (1) Our family and friends. (2) Our king-sized bed with custom-made mattresses. (3) Our family and friends. (4) Our climate-controlled garage. (5) Our favorite supermarket. And, oh, did I mention our family and friends?
What's your favorite part of the mission so far? (1) Knowing that what we're doing can make a lasting difference in people's lives. (2) Feeling the spirit with so many nice people in the local congregations. (3) Working with the wonderful young missionaries. (4) Being on a perpetual "date" with each other.
We love you all, ya'll. And we would love to hear from you. Leave a comment (below), or drop us a note.