“Missionaries strive to follow Jesus Christ in both word and deed. They preach of Jesus Christ and of his Atonement. They teach of the literal restoration of Christ’s ancient church through the Lord’s first latter-day prophet, Joseph Smith . . .These missionaries serve in more than 150 nations. . .They strive to fulfill that divine command . . . to take the fulness of the gospel abroad and bless the lives of people everywhere.” Elder Russell M. Nelson
With every email we receive from Nathan I can see the growth that is occuring. I recognize that becoming a missionary is a process – most of which happens fairly quickly. I can also see that being a missionary mom is a process. When I left the hospital as a new mother I, of course, had a diaper bag filled with everything my baby might need. Gradually over the years that bag disappeared but I still could pull out a snack from my purse. Well, that diaper bag is long gone and it has been many years since I had to pull a snack out – but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to.
Being very curious and okay, concerned about how Nathan is surving I asked him several questions. Below is his email responding to his mother. And my reactions . . .
Dear readers of this email,
Things are absolutely great in Phoenix. I never thought I would appreciate 90 degrees so much. It is absolutely great weather until about 11 or 12 when it starts to get a little toasty. It was still in the hundreds about everyday until this last week.
Answers to Mom’s questions first:
1. I do prepare almost all of my meals. Every P Day we usually go and read scriptures with the Relief Society President before emails, but other than that I make my own breakfast every day. Usually cereal and/or frozen waffles. Lunch we also make by ourselves just about everyday, but most Sundays there just isn’t time for lunch. (What? No nice Sunday dinner?) Unfortunately, skipped meals are much more frequent than at home. Still haven’t lost or gained a pound though since I burn like a billion calories a day. Dinner with families is rare, usually around once a week, if that. We have a dinner appointment today though. Mom, you would be disgusted with the way we eat some days. (You got that right!) Members give us a LOT of cookies, brownies, cakes, and more cookies. (Note to self: don’t send anymore cookies) I always make sure to have real meals though. (That’s my boy) And Sister Pomeroy, the lady we live with, buys cookies – a lot.
2. They broadcast conference at the Stake Center, but its on BYU TV too, so most people watch it at home. We were told to go the Stake Center unless we have an investigator. (No munchies? No nice dinner?) So it was mostly missionaries, where we were for 4 of the 5 sessions. We went to the home of 2 girls (9 and 12 again) who got baptized the night of priesthood session. Awesome family. They gave us enchiladas. (Sign of relief – protein) Their mom has a Craigslist addiction, and buys livestock. That should explain the picture of the cow you will receive shortly. All of the family are members now – their recent convert father got to baptize them, which was really neat.
3. P Days are BUSY! we only have from 10 Am to 6 PM for P Day, the rest of the time we are proselyting. We have dinner tonight, (good!) and then we are going to FHE at Scott’s sisters house. Scott is getting baptized this Saturday. But we email, play basketball, write letters, clean our quarters (yeah right – that is Nathan’s comment not mine although I would expect that basketball would come before cleaning – at least it always did here) and shop.
4. Not a big area at all. 2 wards, I think it is about 7 miles from top to bottom and 3 or 4 across. We still bike about 20 miles a day though. We don’t get a car, those are usually just Zone leaders, APs or people with bigger areas. (Good thing he is tough)
5. All 5 baptisms so far have gone through, the new problem is finding new people to teach.. but the missionaries do speak at the baptisms, usually directed to any non members in attendance.
6. I am taking pictures, not as many as I should, but I will send some home! (Haven’t seen those yet)
It was kind of a tough week, I really need the spiritual boost that Conference gave. We had 6 appointments canceled this week, all with people we have been really excited to teach. We do have 4 new investigators though. L. . . and L. . . (mother and daughter) Oh boy. We handed them a Mormon.org card as they were walking the other way and a few days later got a frantic call about how L’s ex husband she is living with isn’t paying any of the bills, and their power is going to get shut off. They both have some really serious health problems. L. . . (the daughter) has 2 young kids and it sounded like they really want/need some money. We set up a time to meet with them, but handing out money is way out of our jurisdiction, so we talked to the 1st Councilor about it. He said to go by the spirit about whether or not we should give them his number if we feel like we should help them. Hard, hard to prepare for. We decided all we can do is see if they have a desire to learn and send them to the Bishopric if we feel like they should be helped. Luckily, the 1st Councilor was able to come with us. We shared about what we do and our purpose as missionaries and he later talked to them about their financial/health situations. None of us had a positive feeling about giving them money, and I don’t see how they are going to make a go of it on their own. The daughter blacks out several times a day because of heart problems and I’m not sure whats wrong with the mother. The only income they make is $100 a week in unemployment. We are going to begin teaching them this week, so hopefully we can develop enough faith in them that some sort of miracle will happen and they can get out of their current situation. They seem receptive. I’ll keep you updated on this one.
Tell Jessica and Kay C I am so sorry I haven’t written them back, I realized I have the wrong address written down and have sent multiple letters to the wrong house. Also, tell Grandma and Grandpa B and Grandma W thanks for the letters, I really appreciate the updates as well as the encouragement. It really is comforting to know that I am in your prayers. And thanks a bunch for the package! Food is always much appreciated, most of our meals come from the microwave or the toaster oven because we don’t have much time at all to eat.
The only time I have really really missed home was when we watched a Mormon Message that was filmed in Park City. Something about boundaries. Watch it, it is awesome.
Love and Miss you all,