Sunday, 6 April 2014


Dear Journal

When I started on this journey of being a missionary mama - I was totally not ready for the experience. Even after years of observation and 18 years of preparation - I was still totally ill-prepared!

You see, when I would observe missionaries going out, I would look at the mums and imagine what they were feeling. Naturally, feelings of being proud, and grateful and all these other happy, happy feelings came to mind.... Then over the last few years - as my boys were getting closer to being eligible, I would listen to missionary mothers, and it was then that I started to hear about the emotional side of being a missionary mama - the "can't wait for them to come home", or in response to a remark that time had flown by they would say "not for me it hasn't".... And then just before/ or soon after my sons got their call - I spoke to one mother who told me about Satan and his designs for our kids and I was horrified that someone would not want the best for my sons!! ( I also learnt about this absolute pain that was experienced when saying goodbye/ letting go of a missionary..... The what?? I thought that sending your children on missions, planned since their births was a joyful ocassion -  but painful....??( )
I have spent months thinking about the reasons why I didn't know how hard this was going to be?  This is where I had an EUREKA moment!!

The possible answers: missionary story weary, or missionary experiences fatigue, or missionary apathy. Let me explain.

Missionary story weary
I have to admit, I have suffered this for many years, especially when Mr starts re-telling his 23+ year old missionary stories. A little switch turns my brain off and I don't hear him anymore. I mean, I love the man, but given the fact I was with him during the time (I waited for him) - I get a bit weary of hearing the stories again.... Sometimes as missionary mamas we think that others around us have the same switches and they are getting turned off every time we talk....  As a result missionary mums and dads just stop talking and sharing.

If you are one of these missionary mamas who has stopped sharing - always remember that someONE needs your missionary story today. Never stop sharing - because people genuinely care and want to know how your missionary is doing. Spend time with people who love to hear your stories. I have a handful of people I can go to to talk about my sons' stories - and they never tire of me - well their eyes don't roll back into their eyes when I do :-). Talking about your missionary - keeps them close to you...

Missionary experiences fatigue
Similar to above, missionary experiences fatigue is when missionary mamas are having so many experiences they aren't sharing any, or don't know which ones to share and get overwhelmed and shut down...  Sometimes, it could also be that when someone shares their missionary experience and you have one similar you don't believe that you need to share yours as well, or we don't have any feelings about it either way - and just carry on. Sometimes, we don't tell people because we think they already
know... or they have their own missionary's experiences.... or we are silent because it's too special.... All of these feelings are valid and personal....

If you are one of these missionary mamas - you need to realise that missionary experiences that our children are having are coming from a loving Heavenly Father who has answered prayers, and are directly involved in their lives and guiding them to people who need Him! The most precious things I have to share at the moment are my sons' experiences - and again someONE, including myself every time - has their/my testimony strengthened.

Missionary apathy
These are the missionary mamas who have wonderful experiences but do not choose to share or participate in groups set up for sharing, or those who find sharing not a priority. Sometimes, missionary families can't see what the big deal is about! There are dozens of missionaries where I live that I have no idea how they are. Should I expect to know - absolutely not!! It's a parents perogative, and everyone has their agency.
To all missionary mamas,  I believe that you may miss out on the added  blessings of helping someONE else out.... People who genuinely care about your missionary will never turn away news about them - in fact they will thank you for sharing.... Recently I told a group of women a story about my son's and how they are progressing with their lanuguage acquisition. I checked with Mr if I should go ahead with telling it because it is a story I had shared on facebook, and on this blog, and he said yes - because people not in those forums were asking after the boys - so sure enough, after the story - they come and thank me for sharing because they genuinely care....

As a result of weariness, fatigue and apathy, I had no idea how hard it going to be to say good bye, how hard it becomes financially, emotionally and everything else. . And instead of staying in that position, I have plodded along and worked through it! And this is how.....
I looked for groups that were open to sharing - and found a group started by missionary mothers in the US. I joined that as soon as the boys got their calls - and immediately got the emotional support, and the validation of my feelings - from a group of women on the other side of the planet. When I joined this group there were hundreds of others on there - now there are thousands! I love missionary mommas.
I also started blogging my experience - because there are others out there that need to know,  that as a missionary mother you experience the exquisite sweetness of your children's blooming testimonies, as well as getting a tiny insight into their deepest despairs - and perhaps all in one email ;-).  I've done this because I know there will be at least ONE other who shares the same thoughts as I do.... and I know what a difference it would have meant to me if I had known.
I am also a part of an  email group through  group with missionaries in the same area as my children. Today I received photos of my baby boy at his zone conference and outside the Dominican Republic Temple which were a godsend because we have not seen our boy since he left the MTC due to him having camera issues.  This beautiful missionay mother had no idea which was my son, but she knew my name, she had read an email - and she cared enough to send me photos!. These tender mercies come thick and fast as missionary mamas and become the manna on which we feast on and get us through from one PDay to the next.
When the boys got their call I started a missionary mamas group on facebook for kiwi (New Zealand) mums to share our experiences. This group has taken a bit longer to get going as it is the nature for kiwis to not 'brag' about their children - but I am working on getting more and more mothers sharing because for me (only about a 1/3 are engaging) that is what keeps me going.... We will never know that something shared may be the answer to your prayer and an answer to your missionary's troubles...It is not for everyone - this sharing and caring attitude - but for me it is critical to being a missionary mama.

All I know is that after our missionaries are out there - that 'raw' pain dulls.... and is replaced with this peace and faith  that our children are okay. I can't explain it - but I am at peace all the time even though my sons have no water, no power, get lost, get drenched, get rejected and all the things I would never have exposed my sons to - I am at peace! I believe as a direct result of our children serving our Heavenly Father, who on reciept of their service, cannot hold back his blessings - and that when our kids are praying for mum and dad back home - we get those blessings in abundance. Those blessings come as comfort and peace and faith and comfort. Who wouldn't want to share this with others starting out on this journey, or having troubles and challenges....

Missionary mamas, join a forum and get sharing.... If you are experiencing missionary fatigue, weariness or apathy - have break and then catch us up! You may find something from other missionary mamas that lift you for the day, make you smile, or remind you that you are normal....If this is a bit of you - please try and set some time aside - once a week, or fortnight, or once a month and share your missionary's progress. You will never know the impact of hearing about your missionary will have on others.....
Until the next time,

No comments:

Post a Comment