Jul 22, 2013

Writing a Missionary/ Waiting for a Missionary

 
Hi everyone!
 
With the new missionary age change...the number of missionaries who have been called has quadrupled and I would say SO HAVE the  number of righteous young women(that's you) who are now writing or waiting for their missionary!
 
Now the first thing that someone is going to tell you is that it is not going to work. Try not to listen to these nay-sayers!  You follow the Spirit for your life.  They do not know the Lord's plan for your life.  
 
I want to give you encouragement that it CAN work, if it is right. Also be open to the fact that you may grow apart if it is not right. The most important principle:  Follow the Spirit!
 
Many years ago, I "waited" for a missionary.  I knew it was right 100%, it was just a matter of writing and waiting! Then when he had a year left, (I made it half-way at least) I felt VERY strongly that I was supposed to serve a mission of my own.
 
This was a VERY hard decision to make. It took all the faith I had inside of me at the age of 20 to leave my plans, (notice I said MY PLANS) and follow the Lord's plan for my life...and that was to serve a mission.
 
My missionary actually ended up waiting for me for almost a full year before I returned home. It was right, and the Lord blessed us immensely. 
 
We were married a few months later and serving a mission was the right decision for me. I was a much better and stronger version of myself and I was now ready for the next chapter of my life.
 
So I am here to tell you, it CAN happen, and it CAN be right, IF it is the Lord's will. But you have to be open to listen and follow the Spirit!
 
 
 
How to Wait
 
You  still have to live and be a normal young adult. Date, hang out with friends, have a job, go to school, be involved in bettering yourself. Prepare yourself for your future! 
 
There will never be a time in the missionary's life when they are closer to the Lord than they are now.  They are growing and learning by leaps and bounds each day.  A general authority once said, "it would take an average church member 40 years, reading and studying 30 minutes a day to equal that of a missionary"
You cannot compare anything to missionary work.  Nothing compares. 
 
So you have a lot of work ahead of you to stay strong and spiritually ready for him.
 
 
 
What kind of letters to write?
 
Write him supportive, not mushy letters. 
 
This is a great time for you to grow and build your testimony right along with him.  Send him favorite scripture passages you have read that have touched  you. Favorite quotes. Share your testimony!  Tell him how proud  you are of him and that you know he made the right decision. Tell him you are praying for him. Encourage him to be completely obedient. 
 
Be careful of what you write or send in the email.  Remember- he is not yours right now, he is a servant of the Lords.  Support him in what he has been called to do!
 
Can you end the letter with an I love you?  Pray about it and feel it out. I think it is OK to end a letter with that encouragement, just make sure that is not what the whole letter is based on.
 
Lastly, just be yourself. Write like you talk. Don't worry about how to say things or if you are saying things wrong. Be yourself, but be supportive. Try not to distract from the Spirit.
 
 
 
 
Will it EVER get easier?
 
Yes and no. The hardest part will be the first month. You will probably feel every single day pass.  You will miss him and feel like someone just ripped out your heart. It will be heartache like you have never felt before. The thought of 2 years will completely overwhelm you! 
 
BUT it will get easier!  I promise!!  You will get used to it and will become stronger through this.  Lean on the power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ!  Lean on the power of scripture study for comfort and strength. Lean on the power of prayer and learn to really pray. Lean on family and friends to get you through.
 
If the timing is right, the new missionary age change allows you to go out at the same time as your missionary!  How cool would that be to serve at the same time?!!
 

Just know, one of the hardest things a young woman can do is to say good bye to a best friend as he goes out to serve a mission.   But it will be totally worth it!  It will be an experience you will never wish to be taken away from you.

 
 
 

Still Want More? 
 
I found this great article from a previous General Authority.  Sounds like his wife waiting and supported him on his mission.  This is a great article!!
 

Is it good for a girl to wait for a missionary?

by Vaughn J Featherstone
 
 
"Question: Is it good for a fellow to leave a girl behind? Answer: Is it good for the sun to shine?
Have you ever heard of mission calls telling all missionaries to get rid of all girlfriends? Do you think that you could be a better missionary if she were there to help you? I think you could. Most of my best missionaries during the three years that I served left a girl behind. You notice that I said "girl" and not "girls." There isn't time for more than one.
Of course the first duty is to the Lord's work, which you have been called to do; second is to your family, and third is to the girlfriend. This you should always remember.
I always interviewed all missionaries as they entered the field and one of the questions I asked was, "Do you have a girlfriend at home?" If the answer was yes, I would say, "Can I have her name and address, and would it be all right if I wrote her a letter?" Of course this would scare the poor fellow to death--then I would bring the color back to his face by telling him I only wanted to write her a letter and tell her how lucky she was to have the opportunity to share this mission for the next 24 months with one of the Lord's chosen servants. If she is faithful, her testimony would become stronger in the gospel because of it... along with a little more advice that I will touch on later.
Young men, do not ask a returned missionary for advice on this subject. For if he has been jilted (or dumped) should we say he's giving out poor advice? Pray about this together, and if you feel that you can do a better job, then go ahead. There's nothing wrong with it. It is better to have support than to go out there wishing that you had it. This is more frustrating than worrying about a "Dear John," and believe me, there won't be one of those right in the beginning. The Lord always answers prayers to those who honor Him.
Have an understanding with your parents so they can encourage her and make your girl happy by showing they have faith in her and love her. Let her parents know your plans, and in most cases they will stand by her when she gets lonely. If you show them respect, as well as the girl, they will be behind you all the way.
Write her once a week or more. You can almost always write two letters a week on P-Days. There is plenty of time if they're not books. Tell her about your mission and experiences, let her live your mission with you through your letters, and send her a snapshot once in a while. Yes, you could let her make a scrapbook for you. Mom is not going to have time and both of them would love that.
Remember that behind every successful man, there is a good woman. So why shouldn't it be good to leave a girlfriend behind if you feel that she is special? Forget that old story of "24 months is a long time." I have known girls to wait two or three years. Also forget the story that you will change a lot. You will only if you make yourself scarce in letters, etc. You will only change in the fact that you will be more mature and have a greater testimony and mind.
Now girls, make sure that you do things that will help you grow along with the missionary. Study the gospel; stay active in the church, pray often--morning, noon, and night. Watch out for those lonely returned jilted missionaries. You're not in a hurry to get married. At the very most you will be 22 and a half when he gets home, and that's about the right age to start thinking about marriage.
Write happy letters every week. Let him know that you still care. He will be looking for those letters even if he is really busy during the week and on P-Days. Yes, you could send him a snapshot of yourself. He would love that. So what if you don't take good pictures--anything will look good to him. You will be busy getting the education you need, perhaps working in and out of the church, maybe learning to sew and all those lovely things, or learning to cook fancy things, but most of all, just learning the basics of life. If the occasion arises, and you feel as if you want to accept a date now and then, it's okay, but again... Beware of those jilted returned missionaries. They are dynamite. Stay close to your parents.
Oh yes, there isn't any harm in leaving a girlfriend at home, if you're both determined to fulfill the mission together. It will not be the big job you think, but a happy 24 months in both of your lives. When you are both back together again, it won't be long before you are sure of each other because of your pure maturity. I can say these things because it happened to me, and I know of many others who have experienced the same great thing."
 
 
 
 
See previous post  Writing to a Missionary

2 comments:

  1. I wonder about the veracity of this "fireside" --- according to Wikipedia (which may or may not be true either), Vaughn J. Featherstone did not serve a mission due to the "one-missionary-per-ward" policy that existed during the Korean War when he was of age. I believe the blog author may have said she is a relative of VJF...can the article be verified?

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    1. Hi Jan. Vaughn J Featherstone is my mother-in-laws first cousin. So Vaughn's mother Emma and my husband's grandpa Ernest were brother and sister. Ernest was her older brother. He loved her and her family and took good care of them during a trying childhood of Vaughn's being raised in a large family with an alcholic father. The gospel and the Lord meant everyething to Vaughn. All he wanted to do was to follow the Lord. I love VAughn. He is a special special man, who has gone through so much in his life, and is a holy man. I feel extremely fortunate and honored that he married my husband and I in the Salt Lake Temple 23 years ago.

      You are absolutely right, Vaughn J Featherstone, did not serve a full-time mission. He graduated from High School in 1949 and married his high school sweatheart in 1950. From a family Christmas story, I know he went off to college for a little while before they were married. I think as we read the article we easily assume he was a missionary himself. But it doesn't ever say that. The end sentence just alludes to the sentiment that his wife wrote him and supported him. That could have very well been through their separated when he went to college. Even though he didn't go on a mission, he and she went through a similar separation time, which is what he was referring to I believe.

      He was in the Presiding Bishopric, involved in the general Missionary department, a mission president, Temple President of the Logan temple, and many others.

      Unfortunately, I don't have the source of the fireside talk, as far as date, time, and location. I love the talk, I love Vaughn, and love the messages he has for all of us. I don't doubt that he wrote it, said it, had the fireside, or testified of the truths he did. It was an inspired fireside that I know helped many people. I wish I had it when I was going through very similar experiences.


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