"A man filled with the love of God is not content with blessing his family alone, but ranges through the whole world, anxious to bless the whole human race." Joseph Smith

Monday, November 4, 2013

New Start Date

In case you are wondering what happens after a senior couple opens their call letter, here is what has gone on so far:
  • We received a phone call about a week later from a senior couple in Salt Lake City who are over the senior couple welfare missionary assignments.  It was nice to talk to someone who knew we had received our call!  They had us verify our start date - June 23rd.  They had a little discussion back and forth about that date - seems that is during the time reserved for mission president training, not senior couple training.  So they looked into it and got back to us a little later.  A computer glitch was discovered - and we were asked if we wanted to be reassigned several weeks later or earlier.  We opted for earlier of course!  Our new start date is May 26th - Memorial Day.  It will be a very memorable day for us!!!

  • A box is on the way from Salt Lake City with materials and other information in it for our mission.  We are looking forward to it!
  • We received an email from the executive secretary of the Asian Area.  Seems we are for sure on "the grid" now - they know we are coming!  He confirmed we'd be speaking English for our mission, but if we wanted to take advantage of the church's pre-mission tutoring for seniors we could, learning either Cantonese or Mandarin.  We opted for Mandarin, since we have already learned a bit over the years.

  • A phone call to the Language Training center (as found in our packet) got us signed up for the online tutoring - which will begin this coming Friday.  We get one hour a week of Skype tutoring, along with downloaded materials for homework, both in written and audio files.  Can't wait to start!

  • There is on-line Pre-MTC training you "get" to do on your missionary portal - so we've been busy doing each of the required items - watch certain episodes of The District, teach certain parts of Preach My Gospel, get our required immunizations, read the Missionary Handbook, etc. 

  • We are required to make sure our Tdap, MMR, Hepatitis A & B immunizations are all done, as well as the flu, meningitis, pneumonia, and possibly shingles.  Nothing outlandish!

It's an exciting time - the real work will begin soon!  We will be doing a variety of assignments while on our mission - we are told we may be invited to also work in the Hong Kong temple as part of our assignment. So excited! 

    Friday, October 25, 2013

    Receiving the call

    We received our call on October 18th!  We have been called to serve in the Asia Area office as area welfare specialists!!!  We are SO excited!!!  We report to the Provo Missionary Training Center on June 23rd, 2014.

    Here are the details of the call:

    Our papers were officially sent to Salt Lake City on September 23rd.  Our stake president was able to see when our call was sent so he kept a close eye on it.  The call was issued and left Salt Lake City on Friday October 11th.  It arrived a week later on Friday the 18th.  We asked our Relief Society president to send an email note out to the ward inviting whoever would like to, to join us at 8 that evening as we opened the letter.  Our children joined us via video calls, and quite a few ward members joined us as well.  It was so much fun to have everyone there! 

    We learned quickly that there are three Areas in the Asian part of the world - Asia North (consisting of Japan and Korea), the Philippines (consisting of the Philippines!), and then the Asia Area. That would be all the rest of Asia!  The Asia Area office is in Hong Kong, and we will report to the Asia Area President.

    Here are the countries that are included in this enormous part of the world:

    I think we will be very busy!!!  We feel so greatly blessed and humbled to have this opportunity to serve the Lord.  We pledge to do all we can in His service, with all our heart, might, mind and strength. It is a privilege to be able to do so. 

    Tuesday, September 10, 2013

    Submitting the Papers

    Tonight we submitted our recommendation forms to serve as missionaries!  The forms will be reviewed by both the Bishop and Stake President before officially getting sent to Salt Lake City. Then we wait 5-6 weeks for the call!  Senior couples can request specific locations to serve, though they may be called anywhere. We have requested a humanitarian/public affairs mission to China, or anywhere in Asia or Southeast Asia.                                                                 Where do you think we will go?

    "Congratulations! Your missionary recommendation forms have been submitted to your priesthood leader. Thank you for your willingness to serve the Lord as a missionary.Soon, you will meet with your priesthood leader to review your recommendation. You will then meet with your stake president for a final interview. 

    Once your stake president submits your recommendation to Church headquarters, it will go through a review process and a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles will make your mission assignment. You should receive your call by mail five to six weeks after your stake president submits your recommendation to Church headquarters."

    Saturday, September 7, 2013

    Pre-Mission Thoughts

    Many years ago, as a young missionary, I thought about going on one or more senior missions.  At that time, it seemed so far away.  Now the time is here, and those days in New England seem so far away.  Why now?  Well, there are several reasons.  First, I have observed many older couples and it seems that one's health starts to deteriorate as the years go by.  So, if Deborah and I are to go on any full-time, away-from-home mission it needs to be now rather than later.  I have already been in the hospital 2 times more than I wanted to be.  But I think I am now better than before my surgeries.  I just want to serve before I have to go back again - for any reason - except giving blessings to the sick.

    The second concern is finances.  Everyone is concerned about finances when they 'retire', and we are too.  This is the hard part, especially when the cost of medical care is added in to the budget.  I am not sure how finances will work out, but we will just have to have faith in the Lord, and pray that the stock market continues healthily. 

    Then there are the concerns with what to do with the house, cars, and other material possessions.  This spring, as we were cleaning, throwing away, and giving away material possessions, I suddenly noticed a change in my attitude toward material things.  What once was helpful, and even necessary, is now a burden.  We lightened our burden then but we still have more to go.  We have a plan to continue to downsize/right-size over the next 7 -8 months.

    All of the above concerns will be resolved in time.  They are just changes we need to make to be ready to serve.  We are looking forward to our call.  Since senior missionaries can be called on so many different kinds of missions, in so many different places around the world, it is hard to focus our excitement on one mission.  So, at this time, while we prepare and wait, we focus on our gratitude for our many blessings and our desire to share the gospel, in any way, with others. 

    To help us prepare, our ward bishop called us to serve as ward missionaries.  We are loving this calling!  It is fun to work with the new converts, the full-time missionaries, new investigators, and fellowshipping members.  There is so much to do.  We could be full-time missionaries in our own ward and still not have enough time to do it all.

    I hope you will enjoy reading of our adventures via this blog.  We are not great writers and will not be able to convey in words how we feel, but please know that we anticipate this to be one of the best experiences of our lives.  And we get to do it together!  Greg

    Getting Ready -When To Go?

    We have always wanted to serve a mission together.  As the time has grown closer to serve, many questions arose.  How soon can we retire?  Will we have enough money?  What about medical insurance?  What is the process to filling out "the papers"?

    We decided we wanted to go on a mission as soon as financially possible. After talking things over several times with our financial advisers, we discovered that if we are frugal, we can retire in the summer of 2014.  We checked the numbers over and over, planning for all kinds of possible scenarios, and spent time in prayer, fasting and going to the temple.  With that came a calm assurance that our desires are good, and Heavenly Father blessed us with a witness that our plan to go on a mission (or several) beginning next summer is acceptable before Him.  That was the first step, and an act of faith. By going on a mission next summer, Greg will be retiring early, but with the Lord's approval, we move forward with faith.  

    We found out that senior couples can submit their mission papers up to 9 months before their availability date. We are looking at June 1, 2014 for our availability date, so counting backwards that puts it at September 1st of this year.  We can submit them any time! Yay!


    This blog is about our experiences as senior missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  We hope it will help answer questions you may have about serving a senior mission.  There is so much we didn't know about all the little details - what is involved in the medical report, when can you submit your papers, what is the process, etc.  Come join us and travel the missionary journey together!  Any questions?  Leave a comment and we'll be in touch!