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Sunday, May 5, 2013

Update on Mission Prep

It's been awhile since I've given an update on #1 and her mission preparation. I'm sure, if you spoke
with her, she'd give you the exact number of days until her departure. Then she'd assure you that it's not because she's thrilled to leave her home and family (heh heh, yah right) that she knows the exact number, but it's because whenever she signs into the website that lists what she needs to do to be prepared, the first thing listed, under her name and mission she's been assigned to, is a countdown of days until she leaves in big numbers, and believe it or not, like it or not, that number gets smaller everyday.

image: halfempty4now.com
We're, at this point, waiting for immunizations. The doctor's office gave her a hard time about needing an additional dtap booster, but she will get one when she goes in to get her typhoid pills. These have to be taken one pill every other day for two weeks. I've read of missionaries who've timed it wrong and have been sick as they've entered the MTC. That would be miserable, but the clinic is saying she can pick them up on June 1st. I'm figuring this should give her four days to feel any effects before she leaves. I hope this is the case.

Her friends that have had to take the typhoid pills have had no ill effects. I'm hoping that for her as well. We shall see.

image: sweenyfiles.com
In the meantime, the only other thing she has been assigned to do before she leaves is obtain a four-generation pedigree chart and stories of her ancestors.

I thought this was a very interesting assignment. This was not something I was assigned way back in my day, and it makes me wonder if this is something all missionaries are asked to do. Then you wonder why.

There is no doubt that the LDS faith believes strongly in family. We believe that unlike the typical "until death do you part," marriage should last throughout eternity. As someone coined in General Conference, marriage shouldn't start out with an "expiration date." We believe that families should be joined together throughout eternity through ordinances performed in our temples.

Side note: For anyone in the Portland area, we now have a visitor's center at our temple. It teaches what a temple is for. Anyone can go. It's open every day of the year. For any of my friends, if you want to go but don't want to go alone, let me know. I'll take you.

So, maybe #1, through sharing her own genealogy, can inspire others to do the same thus encouraging them to bind their family together past this life.

This morning, though, I came upon another reality....

I LOVE chapter 12 in the book of Ether. It is my favorite in the whole Book of Mormon. Seriously, to the point that I honestly get excited as I get closer to it. I can't tell  you why I love it so much. It just makes me happy.

In chapter 12, Moroni (the abridger of these metal plates), interjects some of his own feelings about what is going on and what can be perceived because of what has been read so far in the Book of Mormon. He shares the importance of faith and makes things VERY clear as to what the force was in each situation that we've read about thus far.

image: ellenwhite.info
As I read this morning, something became very obvious to me. Throughout the book, we are told to remember the things God has done for our ancestors--the things that have brought us to the point where we are today. Time after time, we are drawn back to Moses freeing the children of Israel through God's power, as just one example. In the book of Ether, reminders of the brother of Jared, and his experiences come into play. Could it be that an example is being set for us to remember?

Could this be another reason why #1 has been asked to gather stories about her ancestors? Could it be for her? To give her strength? Could it be to empower her?

In this chapter, Moroni is doing just what the Book of Mormon encourages us to do--remember. It doesn't just stop at the brother of Jared or Moses. It goes on and on and on with great examples.

So, for this morning, here's something for my family to know. Something I had no clue of until about five years ago thanks to a cousin who isn't a member of the church.

image: mesenko.com
My dad's family is from Montana, the bitterroot. A cousin searched the archives of the Missoula newspaper as she and I were working scanning pictures for my mom's side of the family (she is related through my mom; yet another reason why this is so significant to me). Do you kind of see how all of the stars align so nicely here?

Here is the story she found. One I would never have known if it weren't for her:

"Most people who were not Mormons were uninterested in the missionaries' message, but occasional contacts with those who were receptive, like George and Aquilla Dye, ranchers in Corvallis, restored their enthusiasm. Having recently dreamed of two men who visited her ranch with an important message, Aquilla welcomed the two missionaries who approached her home seeking lodging and food one evening. Within a short time the Dyes had embraced Mormonism, providing the nucleus for a Sunday School in Corvallis that would eventually grow into a branch congregation. In their sermons and in reports they sent to the mission headquarters, the missionaries also related accounts of faith-promoting healings following priesthood blessings. For instance, one missionary who visited the Dyes' home in 1898 shortly after their conversion "found a house full of sickness." Aquilla requested a priesthood blessing for each member of the family, following which each claimed that they "were instantly releaved [sic] of pain." The telling and retelling of such stories nurtured a sense of identity among local Mormons as a divinely favored people caring for each other."

This is part of how my family became acquainted with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. George and Aquilla were my great, great grandparents.

Maybe a funny thing to have in a town newspaper, but back then, you probably knew that Mrs. Jones had walked her dog five times in one day or Mr. McGillicuddy got a paper cut from reading that very newspaper the day before. You know "all the news that is news."

Regardless, I am grateful that this was recorded. I am grateful for Aquilla's dream. This story helps me to know that God was aware of George and Aquilla the same as He is of me, and because He was aware of them, my life has benefitted greatly by their actions.

There are stories like this on each of the branches of my family tree (my mom, my grandfather in my dad's side, my great, great grandparents on my dad's mom's side, and my great, great, great grandparents on my dad's mom's mom's side), and that's not even bringing the Warden's family into the equation. I look forward to helping #1 find these stories and more. Maybe we'll end up with our own personalized version of Ether 12 and how our ancestors had faith enough to move on impressions they had. And, maybe those acts of faith with help us as well and give us strength to try to do as they did.

So, maybe this is why #1 needs to gather these stories. Maybe it's to encourage the friends she has yet to make in the Philippines. Maybe it's to give her courage and strength to know that she can help people draw closer to God as He reaches out to them. I get the feeling that it's all of these reasons combined.

So a couple shots and a whole lotta stories, and she'll be on a plane and outta here. Daunting.

Oh, and just to let you know....45 days.


Linda Carpenter said...

We had stake conference today. Our stake president listed 8 books that nearly every child in the congregation had probably heard multiple times as bedtime stories. Then he encouraged us all to develop "strong family narratives." He said family stories are the secret sauce that holds families together. The more children know about their parents (how and where they met, circumstances of their marriage, source of given name, jobs parents held when young, etc.) the stronger their own identity is. He encouraged family story nights and stories told at the dinner table. Stories of mistakes, apologies, challenges, successes, humor, etc. Maybe knowing stories about our ancestors gives us a stronger identity and sense of belonging and even sense of purpose.

LeAnn said...

I can relate to how fun it is getting a daughter ready for a mission. I can easily see that gathering family history stories and pedigree is for just the purposes you explained.
I have completed my mother's history and also did my Aunts history recently. She will turn 100 in September. It was such fun learning about their lives. I really believe in journals because I think someday our thoughts will help our posterity through difficult moments.
Loved this one and blessings to you all!

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