To our dear and beloved missionaries,
This is the last letter we will write to you as your mission president and wife. We have been blessed to serve with each of you and your letters have uplifted us more than you could ever know. There are so many things in our hearts that we would like to tell you. Simply said, we love you and pray that each of you will find peace and happiness in this life and eternal life in the life to come.
It has been emotional and fun going through letters and excerpts, and reviewing training materials, videos and pictures to get ready for specialized training. So many memories. Cherished, sacred and treasured memories.
And now, we move on to another part of our life’s journey. And that still includes you! Though in a different way, we want to be your “mission president and wife” for life. If you will have us.
Our contact information is:
Jim and Connie Wall (Yes we do have first names)
6593 Canyon Cove Drive
Holladay, Utah 84121
There’s also a Facebook page out there.
As we leave you for but a moment in time, we want you to know how much we love you and know that you will quickly come to love and respect President and Sister Hansen. They have been hand-picked and chosen especially for you by your Heavenly Father. As a last bit of counsel, we have included the handout from our last training on what we hope you have learned and will learn. Also, a few excerpts from the past chosen at random. They pretty well tell what we want to say. So, read on!
Remember, Oh Remember
Remember….I am a child of God. He is my loving Heavenly Father and everything He does is to help me find peace and happiness in this life and to have eternal life with Him. I was exceedingly faithful and valiant in the pre-mortal existence and foreordained as one of the great and noble spirits that was prepared from before this world was created to come forth at this time.
Remember…Jesus suffered and died for me. He has already paid the price to have my sins forgiven and through His tender mercies I can be strengthened, healed and delivered from bondage.
Remember…I have the gift of the Holy Ghost and I will strive to always recognize and act upon the Spirit which will tell me all things I must do. I will be ODD, I will observe, discern and do as the Spirit directs.
Remember…I have learned what it means to Love, Serve and Teach. Service has taught me how to love and be loved.
Remember…I will partake of the scriptures every dayto be nourished by the good word of God. I will continue feasting upon the Book of Mormon and share it with others
Remember…I believe in miracles and that I have angels watching over me and my loved ones.
Remember…I will start and end every day with prayer and ask to find and help those in need of hope.
Remember…Joseph saw God and Jesus. Heavenly Father restored His Church with all the principles and ordinances that will bring me back to him. He uses mortal men and women who are not perfect but try their best to work in His Church.
Remember…I will be a life-long missionary.
Remember…As a missionary, my name and the name of Jesus Christ are over my heart When I am released, I will continue to have His name in my heart. I will attend sacrament meeting regularly to remember Him, to take upon myself His name, to receive His spirit and to obtain the blessings of the atonement.
There is Power in Preach My Gospel
Just a little tip: If you find yourself without anything to do, feeling like you aren't getting anywhere and getting frustrated or discouraged, say a prayer and open up Preach My Gospel and start reading, then follow the spirit.
Missionary’s Top 10 Things I've Learned (in no particular order)…
1. Jesus Christ lives. And that is the greatest message of hope out there.
2. Success is an attitude of hard work. It doesn't matter if you've been handed the promised land on a silver platter or feel like you've been assigned outer darkness as your area, every situation is what you make of it. You can be a successful missionary without having taught a single lesson as long as you are working hard with what you HAVE been given and not focusing on what you haven't.
3. When eating at a mission-catered event, DO NOT get seconds until Sister Wall gives the ok.
4. As long as you have done weekly and daily planning, and had a productive study in the morning, you DO NOT need to stress about how your day is going to go or about how you are going to fill your time. The Lord will guide you through the hours in a way that you may not have expected, but that works out to be the greatest good for His vineyard.
5. Kind of along the same lines, the Lord isn't going to hand you a 50 step plan for your area complete with backups for every possible contingency. Such a plan probably exists. But odds are you are never going to see the whole thing. That is faith. Don't be so faithless that you have to see the results of your efforts. Trust that good things will come from what you are doing.
6. As a missionary, church meetings are what you do on Sunday in between talking to as many people as possible, setting up appointments, and making/getting assignments. If you approach church with the mindset that you still have work to do instead of as a vacation from the daily grind, you will set the rest of your week up for success.
7. Whenever you feel the urge to compare yourself to another missionary, don't forget that what you should be seeing isn't going to be any better or any worse than yourself, only different. It’s so easy to compare the best in others to the worst in ourselves, forgetting all the time that God doesn't grade on a curve.
8. No missionary actually knows what they are doing. And if they claim they have it figured out, they are either lying to you or need to check their pride. Missionary work is basically 18-24 months of inspired problem solving. And when the problems you are facing seem overwhelming, don't forget the progress that was made to get to the current problems of the day.
9. Don't drive through standing water.
10. And last but not least, I have come to know for myself that the Book of Mormon is a true and real record written by people who lived on this continent thousands of years ago. I know that Joseph Smith was called of God to translate the Book of Mormon and to restore Christ's church again to the earth. I know that the good news of the Gospel is that priesthood power has been again given to men to allow us to make covenants and access the full power of the Atonement. With that power we can live for eternity with our families in a state of never-ending joy.
Another missionary’s “what I have learned”…
1. Learning the language of the Spirit will not only help us as missionaries, but for the rest of our lives. We each personally need to learn how to turn up the volume and listen to the promptings of it.
2. Love others and look for those simple acts of kindness. They go a long way.
3. Put pride away, especially when it comes to working with our companions.
4. Don't compare yourself!!!
5. You and your companion have what the other needs.
6. Set an example. It will change people.
7. Awkward is good.
8. Create a vision. Daydream.
9. Don't make the good the enemy of perfect.
10. I am stronger than I think I am.
11. The Lord forgives right away. Repentance is healing.
12. The Atonement doesn't necessarily take away the burden, but it strengthens you enough to bear it.
13. Love the scriptures. It will give you a greater capacity to tune into the Spirit.
14. Jesus Christ will always find me when I am lost.
15. I have been called to this mission because of you!
16. You love each one of us individually. You are always there.
17. Goodbyes are filled with memories, hellos are filled with hope.
Some neat “parables”…
Apples or oats?
If you were invited to sit down with the prophet and talk for a few minutes, would you want to hurry the time, or enjoy the moment? If you were to go on visits with him, do you think he would hurry so that he could see as many people in need as possible, or would he take the time with each person needed to comfort and help them? One of my favorite quotes is "life is not measured by the number of breaths we take but by the moments that take our breath away"...Live in the moment, get all out of each moment that you can. You can stop and paint a landscape masterpiece that is full of revelation and expresses wonderful emotion and thought, or you can stop and take a picture. And, remember, the good photographers will capture the moment, but they may wait for hours for that right moment to occur. Slow down. I once told sister Olden the story of the happy horse. Every day, the horses would go out to pasture and at the end of the day, they would race to get back to the barn. The farmer put out oats (which they loved) and hay (which was okay). The fastest horses would get the oats. There was one horse that never got the oats, but seemed to be the happiest of all the horses. This horse was always last to get back, so even got the worst of the hay. One day the farmer followed the horse home from the pasture to see why it was so happy. He noticed that when all the other horses had gone ahead, the happy horse took a little known path through an opening in the fence that led into a small apple orchard where this horse would eat apples every day (and apples are the favorite treat for horses). All the horses were so intent on getting back, that they missed the small opening in the fence. So, would you rather have apples or oats?
The best antidote
I woke up yesterday morning crying. I've never woken up and not wanted to be a missionary before. Ever. I did yesterday morning. I was exhausted. Physically. Mentally. Emotionally. Spiritually. Then my companion came to my rescue. She gave me something to read and it said:
"The best antidote I know for worry is work. The best medicine for despair is service. The best cure for weariness is the challenge of helping someone who is even more tired."
I dried my tears, put on my name tag and went to work teaching lessons and raking old Miss Peggy's leaves.
"Fear not to do good, my [children], for whatsoever ye sow, that shall ye also reap; therefore, if ye sow good ye shall also reap good for your reward. Therefore, fear not, little flock; do good; let earth and hell combine against you, for if ye are built upon my rock, they cannot prevail."
Hell may be combining against this great work that is being hastened, but we are built on the rock of the Savior, Jesus Christ, so there is no way that we will fall. Press on.
And I found this quote in the Ensign and really liked it, "Nothing in this world can take the place of perseverance. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not, the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan "press on" has solved and will always solve the problems of the human race."
-President Calvin Coolidge.
One last thing I would love to share is from a little booklet my family sent me for my birthday. It was full of finding ideas, I think some of them might be helpful to other missionaries. So here they are.
1. Sing while you walk-People might think you’re crazy but they'll notice how cheery you are and is a good conversation starter.
2. While exercising-Yell at someone across the street, "Good Morning!" and then pretend not to hear them and go talk to them.
3. In grocery center, get a ton of balloons with Mormon.org on them or pass cards on the strings and give them away. Even as a district or zone!
4. Windows down-Blasting the MOTAB
5. Sing in Nursing Homes-older people love younger people singing to them.
6. Different Names-Go to hones and ask for "Fred" or "the Smith family" and when they say they don't live there, you already have a conversation going.
7. Mix it up-Don't start the conversation by saying, "Hey, we're missionaries..." start it with " I love those flowers" or "You remind me of my friend from home" Be creative.
8. Make others interested- Since you can’t proselyte in stores, teaching the Restoration to your companion so you can be heard, or carry a Book of Mormon in your hand and cover the front and see how many people ask you what book your reading.
9. Stop the ice cream man-For more reasons than one.
10. Hand out water bottles with Mormon.org for the label-To joggers in the park.
11. Barcodes- Since we don't have iPhones, yet, ask someone with a smartphone to scan the code on the back of a Mormon.org card and watch the video together.
12. Talk with everyone- If you want to baptize everyone, you have to talk with everyone.
13. Parks- On weekends it is a hit and people are much nicer when they aren't behind their front door.
14. Smile- All the time, people will want to know why you are so happy.
Repentance is a process – Lot’s of R’s on Repentance
THE VISION OF THE SOUTH
"Make no small plans: This is the vision I have for the South. I believe that one day the South will baptize more people into the church than all other English speaking missions in the world together....We will see the time when we will baptize hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands...In your day you will see a million members of the church in the South. There will be temples plural in the Southern States. What a great call you have to serve with these marvelous people." President Spencer W. Kimball