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Friday, January 31, 2014

Ten Random Minutes: Mission Facebook Groups - pt. 1

#1 entered the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah, on June 19, 2013. She left for the Philippines on July 31st. In early August, the Philippines Olongapo Missionary Families group was opened on Facebook as a gathering place for family and close friends of the missionaries serving in that mission.

I remember the feelings as it began, I was nervous….What if no one wanted to join? What if, once it started, it was a complete flop? I had to make myself believe that it wouldn't be.

You know, I've learned that those feelings are so normal when something good's about to happen.

We started with just a few moms, but things started to grow and grow….and grow.

It's set up as a private group. Not secret because no one would know it existed, and definitely not public because then everyone can see everything and anyone Joe on Facebook can comment, but when someone looks for the group on Facebook, all they see is the list of members. No one but the members of the group know what's shared there.

Anything we post there, remains there. Believe me, we've tried to share pictures on our private walls, and unless we load them onto our own computers, there's no way to share directly.

This was a video created just prior to Christmas. The Mission President took it and posted it in the group. I felt fortunate that there was a mom who knew just how to retrieve it from the group, so it's not impossible, just difficult….

It's a great blessing to hear the news and see the faces of the people my daughter is serving and serving with. It is an additional blessing to have her Mission President as part of the group. I will write more about that in a future post, but it is indescribably touching to wake in the morning to see my daughter's face and know that that photo was just taken a few hours before.

After a number of months of being the only administrator, I realized that if anything ever happened to me, there would be no one to take over and do the behind-the-scenes group stuff, so my dear friend joined as co-administrator.

I found that running a Facebook group is SUPER simple. People request to join, we check them out, and decide if they should be there. If so, we add them and welcome them in front of the group, asking that they introduce themselves. If we feel that they don't, we reject them--nothing said. If we're not sure, a private message is sent. Let's just say we're super picky about who joins. We want the group to be a place where families of the missionaries can feel safe and that we're all among friends.

I have more to share on this topic….A lot more. For today, this is my ten. If you have a child serving a mission, see if you can find a mission group on Facebook. Ideally, you need a group just for the family members of missionaries. If one doesn't exist, make one. It's easy. If you need help, find me on Facebook. I'd happily guide you through it.

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