Monday, June 30, 2008

Church-Service Missions

"For those [youth honorably excused from full-time missionary labors] . . . , bishops may . . . identify appropriate local opportunities for Church or community service for a specified period of time (usually 6 to 24 months)." First Presidency letter, Jan. 30, 2004

For one reason or another, some young men or young women who desire to serve a mission may not be able to serve a full-time mission. For these young people, or others with a desire to serve, Church-Service missions give them the opportunity to serve without the complications of leaving home.

When my son was born and then diagnosed with Down syndrome, something that bothered me was the idea that he might have the opportunity to serve a mission. After all, in the LDS Church, we want our sons to serve missions and spend a great deal of time preparing our sons to serve. My youngest son may or may not be able to serve a full-time mission. He is still young enough that we don’t know what his particular challenges may or may not be. I am absolutely certain, though, that no matter what the world may see as his limitations, if Heavenly Father wants him to serve a full-time mission, then my son will do just that.

For those who cannot serve in the mission field, the Church offers other options. A young man with Down syndrome in a neighboring state served in the family history library. Other young men I know have served as stake missionaries and sometimes even had the opportunity to work with the full-time missionaries.

Those who serve while remaining at home generally work 8-32 hours each week and normally serve 6-24 months. Church-Service missionaries accomplish work-related services as a volunteer thus limiting paid positions and allowing the Church to use funds for programs.

A list of opportunities is available at One opportunity now available includes answering questions from patrons about family history work and/or software, either on the phone or through email. Another opportunity includes supplementing the efforts of MTC tutors by allowing mission presidents and their wives and senior missionaries to practice language skills over the phone.

Those who are interested in serving a Church-Service mission will need to fill out an application and submit it to their bishop indicating how long they can serve and in what capacities. Generally, the duties of Church-Service missionaries are performed during the week and allow the missionaries to still fulfill ward and/or stake callings.

Opportunities available for service can be found at, through bulletins, bishops, and stake presidents.

I’m thankful there are plenty of ways to serve in the Church. I still hope my son will be able to serve a full-time mission, but if that’s not the case, I’m confident he will find a place where he can still serve and feel good that he’s helping increase the kingdom of God. Truly, it doesn’t matter where we serve, only how we serve.

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Friday, June 27, 2008

Missionary Opportunities for Couples

"Along with the need for young elders and sisters, there is a growing need for couples in the mission field. Older married couples are doing a wonderful work in the missions. Many more are needed. . . . With an increasing number of people retiring while they are still possessed of health and vitality, there are many who can fill a tremendous need in the work of the Lord."

President Gordon B. Hinckley

The Church is in need of couple missionaries. While the minimum age for serving a mission as a couple is 40, there is no maximum age as long as both the husband and the wife are in good health and can financially afford a mission. Many couples in their seventies are successfully serving missions. Couples who desire to serve missions may not have any dependent children at home and are not allowed to bring pets. If a couple has the responsibility to care for aging parents, they will need to make arrangements for the care of their parents while they are away.

Couples may serve missions in the following areas: Leadership, Temple, Family History, or Other Specialized Missions.

Leadership Missions include proselyting missions where they are involved in tracting and teaching people the gospel. It may also include working in the mission office or in a visitors center. Some couples may also serve medical missions where they help attend to the medical needs in an area.

Temple Missions include serving as ordinance workers. We have couples in our ward that serve in the temple each week as ordinance workers. They live at home, but since the travel time to the temple is 2 hours, most of the couples spend a night in a local hotel so they can serve the next day without traveling. We have a couple on our extended family that actually splits time between two different locations so they can serve in the temple for a few days and then spend the rest of the week attending to business and family duties.

Family History Missions may include serving in the Salt Lake City Genealogical Library helping patrons locate their genealogy, or couples may be involved in microfilming, preparing documents, or assisting in family history centers around the world. A member of my ward shared an experience last week of trying to translate some records from Italian and trying to decipher the handwriting.

Other Specialized Missions may include working with the Church Education System helping to set up Seminary and Institute programs, farm and agricultural help, public affairs, humanitarian services, or managing facilities. A bulletin is distributed regularly that calls for help in specialized areas and gives the requirements necessary for service in these areas.

Unlike young, single missionaries, couple missionaries can choose the amount of time they wish to serve. Couples usually serve 12, 18, or 23 months.

While it can be a difficult choice to leave family behind, the Lord needs couples to serve missions. My husband and I both hope to serve a mission together. It may be many years down the road (we’ll have dependent children for a long time) but we’re hopeful that with careful financial planning we’ll be able to serve.

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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Boy Scouts

My husband has been attending Wood Badge training for the Boy Scouts of America. I never really knew what Wood Badge was until he attended. He spent 3 days at one location learning about what makes a good leader and then spent 3 days at another location being in a patrol and seeing from a boy's perspective what makes a good patrol. He will also be involved in 5 service projects over the next 18 months in order to earn his Wood Badge. It's an intensive leadership training program that he found to be valuable.

The Scouting program is a great program for boys, it is also the activity arm for the Aaronic Priesthood and is supported by the LDS Church. I believe there's a reason for that. Boys who go through Scouting and eventually earn their Eagle learn valuable skills. They also learn to stick with something even when it is difficult. They learn about teamwork and how to be an effective leader. My husband still uses the knowledge he learned as an Eagle Boy Scout. My oldest son earned his Eagle when he was 15 (before he was sidetracked with driving and dating!) and my next oldest son is currently a First Class Scout on the verge of earning his Star rank.

I have served on the Troop Committee for almost 10 years in hopes of helping boys advance through the program. At one time, I was the entire Troop Committee, but now we have an active group that shoulders the work together.

Though I think the Scouting program is valuable, I also believe there's far too much red tape and far too much focus on money from BSA. When my son earned his Eagle we attended a dinner honoring Eagles within the district. Instead of focusing on the boys and their hard work, we were told to ante up $1000.00 per table. On another occassion, the district representative attended an Eagle Court of Honor for our troop. His comments solely focused on raising money for the district. In my opinion, this was in very poor taste.

I have never seen any of the district executives at our Troop Committee meetings, helping boys earn badges, at Eagle projects, or volunteering their time as we non-executives do. We're in the trenches doing all of the work and yet we all donate our time and our money. Why is it that the district executives collect a salary? Why don't they volunteer like the rest of us? To me, Scouting should be about the boys, not about the money. I'm absolutely certain the BSA could run a better, more efficient program if the focus was on the boys, instead of the moeny.

I'm grateful my oldest son earned his Eagle and believe it will help him in his life and I'm thankful my next son is interested in Scouts and enjoys it. The program is wonderful and when we focus our attention on the boys it is very rewarding.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Senior Missionary Couples

When we think about missionaries, we generally envision young men in suits and white shirts and young women in simple, modest clothing serving the Lord before they marry. To the world, our missionary force seems to be viewed as one of young people. However, many senior couple missionaries also serve.

My mother-in-law served a mission with her husband in Boston, Massachusetts. They worked in the office and both of them enjoyed their time in the mission field immensely. A couple in my ward served a mission in Texas. They both speak fondly of the time they spent there, teaching people about the Book of Mormon. In fact, they shared a story about their mission just last week in Sunday School. Couples who choose to serve missions can provide valuable service to the Lord.

Of course, it’s hard to think about Mom and Dad or Grandma and Grandpa leaving to serve a mission because they might miss out on births, weddings, graduations, ordinations, or other important family events. We have been promised that though they may miss some of these special family times, not only will they be blessed for their service, but so will the entire family.

When older couples consider serving a mission, they need to take some things into consideration.


Both the husband and the wife should be in good health and be able to maintain a rigorous schedule. Not all senior couples will be tracting, but the daily schedule is similar to what is expected for the young missionaries. Couples need to carefully consider their health and what it takes to maintain good health, especially if their mission call should be in a country where healthcare may not be what they’ve experienced in their home country.


The cost for couple missionaries varies from mission to mission, but couples should have enough money to easily live a year or more in another country. Couples may begin saving for a mission many years ahead of time, or the family may consider financially helping the couple to serve. In any case, there needs to be enough funds so that money issues do not arise while serving and the couple can concentrate on their mission not their finances.


All the members of the family should be encouraged to support the missionary couple. Yes, family members will miss the couple, but they will learn valuable lessons of service as they watch older family members sacrifice to serve the Lord. When couples feel that their family supports their decision, they can leave the family without hesitation and trust that the Lord will care for their family while they are gone.

Senior couples who desire to serve missions should meet with their bishop to determine if they are ready to serve. The call for senior couples has been issued many times and those of us who are in that season of our lives should strive to serve a mission if at all possible. Couple missionaries can offer something to a mission that young people can’t, and there may be those in that area who can only be touched by a senior couple.

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Friday, June 20, 2008

More Misson Prep.

In an earlier post, I mentioned ways families can help young people prepare to serve missions. Suggestions included having regular Family Home Evenings, having consistent scripture study and prayers, setting an example of faithfulness, encouraging high-school age children to attend seminary, providing opportunities for children to gain and strengthen testimonies, and finding time to discuss the gospel.

In addition to these, other areas in which parents can help future missionaries prepare include:

1. Personal Fitness

My son was not interested in sports at all in high school. He was involved in theater and constantly amazed me with his performance skills. However, when he began his mission, he wasn’t as physically fit as he might have been. A mission is not only hard spiritually and emotionally, it’s also physically demanding. The more a young man or woman can become physically fit, the better.

2. Finances

If a prospective missionary hasn’t learned how to balance his funds, difficulties may arise while he is far from home. Allow a future missionary to have a checking account and teach him how to keep it balanced.

Despite my attempts to explain the income/outgo process as it relates to finances, some of my kids still seem to think there’s a big money tree that grows in the backyard. Now that my oldest daughter has attended college for a year, she’s much more aware of money and what it takes to survive. A year or more of living on their own will certainly teach future missionaries how to handle finances.

3. Social Skills

Those who learn how to communicate and socialize with others will be better missionaries. Young men and women who have associated with many different people will be better able to relate to those investigating The Church. Learning to be compassionate and understanding of others’ beliefs and situations will make prospective missionaries more effective as they go out into the world with the gospel message.

4. Household Skills

Young men and women should know how to wash clothes, iron, sew, and cook.

I admit, I’ve failed my children at this. Sure, they can pour cold cereal, boil water for some Top Ramen, or make spaghetti, but I haven’t given them a course in cooking. Nor have I turned over laundry to them. In fact, I had to write laundry instructions on a piece of paper just before my son entered the MTC (I’m talking a few minutes before we walked into the building with him) so he wouldn’t ruin his clothes. I was pleased to hear that his shirts were still white and he hadn’t washed them with his jeans after his first few weeks at the MTC. I’ve also been relieved to know that he hasn’t attempted to wash his suits. Maybe I haven’t been such a failure after all.

The more we can help our sons and daughters prepare to serve missions, the better missionaries they’ll be. The most effective missionaries are those that are well-prepared before entering the mission field.

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Thursday, June 19, 2008

This and That

My blog tour continues. I've answered some interesting questions and Danyelle Ferguson is holding a fun contest.

A big thanks to all of you who have purchased my book from Deseret Book. Heaven Scent has climbed 100 places on the DB Besteller list. It's been very exciting to see it move up the list. Thank you!

I'm still working on my LDS romance, but summer break has robbed me of more time that I anticipated. There's always something going on at my house. Absolutely never, ever a dull moment.

We brought home a puppy for the kids about a month or so ago. Have you ever read The Diggingest Dog by P.D Eastman? Well, that's our dog. She digs and digs and digs. I expect one of these days, I'll call her and when she doesn't come, I'll have to rerieve her from China.

My youngest has been teething and has he ever been miserable. You know that saying, "When Mama ain't happy, ain't no one happy?" Well, I'd like to change it to, "When the baby ain't happy, ain't no one gonna get sleep, meals, or a shower (especially Mama)."

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Shame on CA Judges

Something shameful has happened in California, the state where I was born and raised. Judges have overturned the voters and are now allowing same-sex marriages. The voters of CA have been mocked and, I'm sure, are left wondering why they voted at all.

While I do not support same-sex marriages and believe marriage is only between one man and one woman, I am equally concerned that a few judges would have so much power as to overturn a decision made by over 60% of the voters. What happened to the voice of the people? Is this the beginning of the unraveling of our governmental system? Why vote if that vote will then be overturned by judges seeking to advance their own political agendas? It's sobering to see this happen.

For a great article on this subject visit here.

Further, when we change the definition of marriage where will it end? Where do we draw the line? How can same-sex marriage be legal, but polygamy is not? Will cousins, siblings, or parents and their children be allowed to marry one another?

Will this be our society's downfall?

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Library Day

Our elementary school has a nice library and shares space with a branch of our public library. Each summer, the public library sponsors a reading program. This year it's, "catch the Reading Bug," and we'll be talking about bugs as well as watching butterflies go through their stages of growth. All the books on display have to do with bugs.

Today, we all watched a puppet show about a magical garden and the bugs, and other creatures, that live there. It was a cute show with marionettes. My kids were all mesmerized by the show.

Usually, my sister and I let our kids play outside on the playground equipment afterwards. The cousins all love to be together and my sister and I can visit for a few minutes. It's a nice break from summer chores and best of all, it encourages my kids to read.

I love having my children invloved in the summer reading program.

Monday, June 16, 2008

In The World

We have been counseled to be in the world, but not of the world. I’ve carefully considered this counsel over the years to determine what it means.

The world is a scary place. It doesn’t take more than a few minutes of listening to the news to realize the evil and wickedness that surrounds us. Reports of murders and acts of violence are commonplace. Even more frightening, are the reports of school violence. When I was in high school, I’d never heard of any school shootings and now, it’s not uncommon to hear a report of another student bringing a gun to school and opening fire on other students. Even in our high school, a student was apprehended with a gun and my children were in a lockdown situation for a few hours. On that same day, my younger children were in a lockdown in our elementary school while a member of our community was in a standoff with the sheriff’s department.

With all of this violence it may seem reasonable to shelter our children and hide from all that’s going on in the world. We may be tempted to shut ourselves off from others in an effort to protect our families. We may even take it so far as to separate ourselves from those we feel are living unrighteously. We may encourage our children to not associate with those who we believe are making bad choices.

This is a fine line and relates directly to the counsel to live in the world, but not of the world. We, as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, must live in this world. Heavenly Father created it for us. He has abundantly blessed us. Yet, we must also be careful to not condone nor support behaviors or activities that we know oppose God’s teachings.

This is when we must learn to separate people from behaviors. Yes, we do not want to have close associations with those who seek to drag us down or sway us from the path back to Heavenly Father, but we must be careful to not close ourselves off so tightly from our neighbors that we shelter ourselves and our families and lose opportunities to share the gospel.

My kids have friends at school that don’t live the gospel. In fact, before meeting my kids, most of their friends didn’t know anything about The Church. It has been through the associations with my children that many others have learned about the gospel. I counsel my kids to be kind and respectful to those around them, but to choose their closest friends wisely. When my son was in high school, one of his close friends had very different standards, yet he always respected my son and his standards. In fact, at one point my son’s friend volunteered to live the standards in For the Strength of the Youth for a month. That may not have ever happened had my son not associated with him. Though none of my children’s friends have joined The Church, hopefully they will have good feelings about it and, perhaps, someday they may be interested enough to investigate and join.

We can’t bring the gospel to others if we deny all associations with them. We must hold fast to our own standards and stay on the right path, but as we do that, we should befriend those around us and invite them to follow the same path without being judgmental. Though we may be tempted to shelter ourselves from the world, we can only be effective missionaries when we are in the world.

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Friday, June 13, 2008

Eternal Perspective

Recently, I received an e-mail with several photos of people “holding the sun.” Each photo showed someone with the sun in their hands, between their knees, or on top of their nose. Of course, we can’t hold the sun because, among other things, it’s far too large. But, from the perspective of these photos, it appeared that people were actually doing just that.

Objects in the foreground always look larger than what is in the background. A six-foot tree may look as though it looms over mountains in the distance, depending on your perspective. A telephone pole a few feet away may appear much taller than one a mile down the road, even though they are both the same height.
It’s all about perspective and how you view things. As mortals we tend to have a limited view and a much different perspective than Heavenly Father. He sees the whole picture, while we tend to focus on only one corner of it.

My son was born with Trisomy 21, more commonly known as Down syndrome, which means he has an extra chromosome. The presence of this extra genetic material affects each person differently, though people with Down syndrome tend to have common physical characteristics. Because of these characteristics, people with Down syndrome can usually be easily recognized. With this recognition comes prejudice and pre-determined judgments because those who make these judgments have short-sighted perspectives, they choose to not see beyond the physical characteristics.

Does Heavenly Father only see my son as someone who has an extra chromosome? Absolutely not. When I peer into my son’s eyes, I can see far beyond his physical being. I have no doubt at all that he will accomplish his purpose here on earth because I see him with an eternal perspective. I know that mortality is only a portion of his life and when he leaves mortality, he will not have the physical limitations he may experience here.

When we can see past others’ choices, limitations, or weaknesses and see them as Heavenly Father does, as children of God with divine natures and individual worth, we can then see why it is so important to bring them the message of the gospel. An eternal perspective changes everything and with that kind of perspective, we can be more effective in sharing the gospel. Heavenly Father wants all of his children to return to him. He wants everyone to have the peace that comes from the gospel. The more we can see beyond what’s right in front of us, the more Heavenly Father can use us to bring about his purposes.

We need to put off our “natural man” and see the whole picture. Instead of judging others and making decisions based on our own limited perspective, we need to reach out and share what we have with everyone that we can. Most of all, we need to have an eternal perspective and realize that just because a tree looks taller than a mountain, it isn’t necessarily so.

Join the Neighborhood Newsletter . . . Subscriptions are free and joining is easy. Just by signing up and maintaining your subscription to receive the newsletter, you become eligible for our "Thank You" prizes. Our dozens of giveaways range from a trip for two to China, to iPods® (each with a $50 gift certificate for LDS music), cruises, and more.

Learn about our amazing monthly, quarterly, and annual giveaways by clicking here.

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Thursday, June 12, 2008

Black Turns Green?

I am the queen of black thumbs. Houseplants suffer a terrible fate in my hands. I guess I figure that if they really needed something, they'd scream or yell or cry like my kids. Since plants are, for the most part, silent (except when they whip around in the wind) I suppose I should be more attentive.

Each year we plant a garden. Usually, in our drought-ravaged area, we don't have much water in August. As a result, the garden tends to shrivel up and, well, die. At the beginning of the season I vow to be a better gardener. I promise myself, and the plants, that I will faithfully water, weed, and otherwise tend to them throughout the summer. (Actually, I fibbed. I assign the watering and the weeding to my kids--perhaps that's another reason the garden seems to suffer so).

This year is different. It really is. I've made a goal to go out and weed with the kids every day and oversee the watering. I've even scheduled it in my daytimer to make sure I stick to it. Maybe this will be the year my black thumb turns green.

So far, I've planted tomatoes, cucumbers, a watermelon, corn, and some flowers. The kids planted peas and radishes with my husband a few weeks ago and they are already growing. We even pulled out a radish and ate it.

I'm going to keep at this garden and, hopefully, in a few months I'll be able to enjoy (literally) the fruits of my labor. And, I'll be sure to check my thumb.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Blogs and Such

Today Don Carey is hosting my blog tour. He has a great review of Heaven Scent and an interview posted. Drop on by.

My second year at BYU was fantastic. I lived in Centennial Apartments in the best ward ever. We were constantly doing something fun. My FHE group was especially fun and led by a somewhat crazy guy. I have plenty of photos to prove my FHE dad was a little wacky, and he was sure to instigate the pranks that our FHE brothers pulled on us (they dyed everything green in our apartment, including the water in the toilet, our milk, etc. for St. Patrick's Day). And, I admit, I was much more interested in my "brothers" than my "sisters."

Fast forward more years than I'd like to admit. I was searching for a gift for my sister's birthday. I decided to buy her a book and looked through the book section at my local Walmart (I know, shame on me for buying a book at Walmart instead of an LDS bookstore, but I had a cartload of kids with me and it was easier to buy from Walmart). I picked up a book about the Book of Mormon. It was the first novel in a series and I knew my sister loved to read series. I read the dust jacket and then flipped to the back to read about the author.

Brain cramp.

I stared at the photo. Who was it? My FHE dad from BYU. As soon as I got home, I cracked open my college photo albums and, sure enough, it was the same guy. My FHE dad was a published author. I was way impressed and decided to search him out. I found him at what is now latterdayauthors.

Who is he? David G. Woolley, author of the Promised Land series. Small world or what? He is not only an amazing writer, he has such an incredible amount of knowledge about the lands of the Book of Mormon. Check out his blog and you'll learn so much. He's also funny and quite entertaining.

I have another friend who's just starting a blog. Randall McNeely, an aspiring LDS author, has some interesting insights on his blog. You might want to check it out.

Have fun in Blogland!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Warming Our Neighbors

Some years ago (more than I’d like to admit), I was a young mother with two small children. My husband had been offered a job in another state so we moved our little family. We hadn’t lived in our new ward for long when the missionaries stopped by. We invited them in and they shared a short message with us about being member missionaries. They then asked us to make a list of 10 names and to pray about the names until we had a list of 5 names. They said they would return the following week and for our list of 5 names and the times we could set up appointments for them to teach the people on our list.

After they left, I was utterly overwhelmed. I had a strong testimony of the gospel and certainly wanted to share it, but I was new in the area and suddenly felt all this pressure to not only meet people, but try to set up appointments for them to learn about the gospel.

We prayed about it, but I felt so stressed about the request from the missionaries, I couldn’t feel any promptings. When the missionaries returned, we explained that we had prayed, but didn’t have any names to give them yet because we didn’t know many people in the area. Giving them names wouldn’t have been any more helpful than having them tract out people themselves. They weren’t pleased, but agreed to visit us again when we felt we had some names of people who would truly be interested in the gospel.

Since that time, we’ve moved and we’ve met with the missionaries on numerous occasions. The missionaries now ask us for names of people we know, that we’ve prayed about, and that we feel would be the most receptive to the message of the gospel. No pressure, no stress. The trick isn’t in quantity of names referred to the missionaries, but the quality, or the readiness, of those names.

Spencer W. Kimball said, “Usually we must warm our neighbors, before we warn them properly. Our neighbors must experience our genuine friendship and fellowship.” (Ensign, Nov. 1976, p. 140).

Statistics show that the most effective missionary work in The Church comes from member referrals. Why? Because when we refer our friends and neighbors, people who know and trust us, barriers are removed and the missionaries can spend their time teaching people who are genuinely seeking the truth rather than tracting out people who have no interest.

It takes time and effort to build a friendship. We can’t simply run into someone’s life and expect him to be interested in the gospel. We must show our friends and neighbors that we love them and because we love them, we want to share something that is important to us. They will be much more receptive to the gospel when they feel we are sharing it because we love them.

Return to the neighborhood.

Heaven Scent Blog Tour Begins

Today begins the blog tour for Heaven Scent. I have some fabulous people helping me spread the word on their blogs. Each day a new person will post a review and an interview with me. I'm very excited for the tour and want to express my deepest appreciation to all of those who are taking part. If you'd like to follow the tour I'll list all the dates and addresses on my side bar and keep it there for the rest of the month.

I've answered some interesting questions, too. If you'd like to get to know me better, you can read the interviews.

This will be so much fun. I hope you'll join me on the tour. Karlene Browning will be giving away the perfume we designed to accompany Heaven Scent, it's called Hope.

June 9 Ronda Hinrichsen
June 10 Don Carey
June 11 Stephanie Humphreys
June 12 Nichole Giles
June 16 Michelle Jefferies
June 17 Emily Debenham
June 18 Danyelle Ferguson
June 19 Ali Cross
June 20 Karen Hoover
June 23 Heather Justesen
June 24 Kim Thompson
June 25 Rachelle Christensen
June 26 Andy Lemmon
June 27 Karlene Browning
June 30 Marcia Mickelson
July 1 C. Lynn Beck

I hope you'll drop by.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Ideas to Assist Missionaries

When Elder and Sister Vaughan J. Featherstone were serving a mission in Texas, Sister Featherstone was feeling frustrated that she couldn’t find any time for herself. She was so busy with her mission duties, she couldn’t find any time to devote to herself. She prayed about it, and the answer came that this was not her time, it was the Lord’s time. She then realized that she needed to focus completely on her mission and not worry about herself. (Ensign, Nov. 1978, pg. 26).

It is the Lord’s time. It isn’t a time to worry about the outside world, but to concentrate fully on serving the Lord by teaching the gospel. All of the missionaries’ time and effort should be dedicated to his or her mission. There will be plenty of time for missionaries to think about schooling, marriage, family, professions, and even retirement for senior missionaries.

Here are some ideas for members to assist missionaries in furthering the work of the Lord:

1. Introduce nonmembers or less-active member to the missionaries. Provide opportunities for the missionaries to meet your friends such as inviting all of them to dinner. Bring friends to ward activities where the missionaries will be attending and make a point to introduce your friends to the missionaries.

2. Tell the missionaries when you have placed a Book of Mormon with someone so the missionaries can follow-up.

3. When new missionaries arrive in an area, apprise them of the work that has been done and help them to meet those who are currently investigating the gospel. The more you can update the missionaries, the less time they have to spend learning that same information.

4. Youth should be very careful to respect the missionaries as representatives of the Lord. They should not invite the missionaries to parties or other youth social activities. They should never be alone with a member of the opposite sex, even if the situation seems harmless. A Stake President once told me that the biggest threat to a missionary is a Laurel. Young women should especially be on their guard and not flirt with young elders.

5. Pray for missionary experiences and to have the missionary spirit. Look for opportunities for the missionaries to share the gospel with those you know. Include the Lord as you seek for those the missionaries can teach.

6. Set a good example for your neighbors. Let others see by the light in your life how the gospel brings you peace and happiness. Show others how excited you are to have the gospel in your life. Your example may pique the interest of those around you and set the stage for missionaries to teach them.

Members can make a big difference in how successful missionaries are in their area. The more assistance members can offer the missionaries, the more success missionaries will have in bringing the blessings of the gospel to others.

Return to the neighborhood.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Summer Book Trek

Over at the LDSFiction blog there's a summer reading challenge. Everyone who participates is eligible for prizes. This is a no pressure reading challenge to encourage people to read LDS fiction. If you'd like to participate go here.

For my challenge I'll be reading:

1. Farworld Water Keep by J. Scott Savage
2. Season of Sacrifice by Tristi Pinkston

Yeah, I know 2 books is a little wimpy, but summer with my 9 kids (my first-born will return from his mission in 10 weeks--woo hoo--that'll make all 10 kids at home) will be crazy hectic. And, I'm still trying to finish the revisions on my LDS romance.

So go on over and sign up. It'll be fun!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Farworld Water Keep ARC

Yesterday I received my ARC, Advance Reader's Copy, of J. Scott Savage's newest book Farworld Water Keep. I'm excited to read it. My college-age daughter just told me (twice) as I'm writing this blog, that she wants to read it. All of my kids were duly impressed with the cover art which, I must say, is very cool.

I'll be posting my review and an interview with J. Scott himself in late August. Watch for the exotic place from which we'll be doing the interview and stay tuned to win your own copy.

The book will be available nationwide in September.

Monday, June 2, 2008


After Adam and Eve were cast out of the Garden of Eden, Adam offered the firstlings of their flocks unto the Lord. An angel appeared to Adam and asked him why he was offering sacrifices. “ . . .And Adam said unto him: I know not, save the Lord commanded me,” (Moses 5:6). Adam didn’t know why he was offering these animals, only that he had been commanded to do so. Adam was willing to be obedient even when he didn’t understand why.

One year, my father presented my mother with diamond stud earrings. Since they were a young couple, they couldn’t really afford such an extravagant gift, but he wanted to give my mom something special. Not too long after that, my father was killed in an automobile accident. Those earrings became a symbol of a love and marriage that was tragically cut short.

A few years later, my mother let a neighbor pierce my ears. The neighbor marked my ears and then took a needle and thread and pierced my ears. Again, my small family was forever changed when my mother passed away.

As I grew into a teenager, the holes in my ears became uneven. I didn’t want my earrings to look off-balance so my grandmother allowed me to have them pierced again. Since I then had two holes in my ears, I chose to wear one of my mother’s diamond studs in one ear and gave the other stud to my sister to wear.

I wore my mother’s diamond stud earring for years and years in addition to another pair of earrings. I never removed my mom’s earring because it was symbolic to me and very sentimental. One day, I listened to President Hinckley as he reiterated the counsel about body piercings. He asked that we only wear one pair of earrings. I was torn. I reasoned that it was such a small earring; no one would know the difference. I also believed that wearing that one earring would not change my testimony or cause me to fall away from the church. I could absolutely justify wearing my mom’s earring, until I realized it was really a question of obedience.

Was I willing to be obedient even though I didn’t understand or necessarily agree? Would an earring really stop me from progressing? I decided to remove the earring in hopes of helping me become more obedient in other things.

Just as Adam was obedient, so must missionaries be obedient to the Lord by obeying the mission rules. Some of the rules may not make sense or the missionaries may not agree with them, but there is power in obedience. As missionaries bend their wills to the Lord’s will and serve with obedience in all things, they will be blessed in their efforts to teach the gospel.

Mission rules are there for a reason. Whether the rules are to keep the missionaries safe physically or spiritually, it’s imperative that missionaries keep the rules because obedience brings forth blessings.

Return to the neighborhood.