Often through the years we have had the missionaries over for dinner in our home. We talked about missionary work and encouraged our children to set a goal to serve a mission. My husband served four stake mission calls and was the President of the Stake Mission in Spokane. I served three Stake Missions. One in Las Vegas, Nevada and two in Spokane, Washington. I often would meet the missionaries at the home where they had a teaching appointment and I was able to assist with the lessons. Another sister in the ward was my companion and we would go visiting less active members and also assist missionaries. One time, the two of us were able to give all of the missionary lessons to a woman who didn't want the young missionaries to teach her. She was baptized and that was a very spiritual experience for us.
We have had 4 of our children serve missions. My oldest son served in Des Moines Iowa Mission, my second son served in the Washington DC North Mission, my third son served in the Costa Rica Mission and our middle daughter served in the Venezuela Mission. It was such an awesome experience to have our children serve and they loved their missions and served faithfully. During their missions we communicated through letters and twice a year they could call home. All of them grew so much in their testimonies of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and also in their love for those they served. They taught many people and had many whom joined the church.
My parents in their later years served a mission in Cove Fort, Utah and that was one of their most cherished experiences.
My husband was raised in a home where missionary service was just part of their lives. Their father was always involved in missionary work. He served two Stake missions and served as a Stake Mission President. He worked under
Elder Gordon B.Hinckley as his assistant for 30 years. Later Elder Gordon B. Hinckley became our Prophet and President of our church. While working as Gordon B. Hinckley's assistant, he worked in the audio visual and missionary department. He invented a small flannel board with the figures that would explain the Plan of Salvation and other aspects of the gospel for all of the missions throughout the world. He did tours on Temple Square for years and would have firesides every Sunday where he would teach about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He was called and set apart as the first Presiding Elder for Nigeria in the late 1950's by President McKay. He was unable to stay in the country for very long due to Visa problems. While he was over there for a brief period of time he taught and baptized many Nigerian people. He continued to correspond with the people in Nigeria for several years as assigned by the church. He was later called with his wife to serve as the President of the Baton Rouge, Louisiana Mission for three years. Later on in the mid 1980's he and his wife served for 18 months in Nigeria and Ghana.They also served in Salt Lake City as missionaries in a Vietnamese ward.
In 2003 while living in Spokane Washington my husband and I were invited over to meet with one of the Stake Presidency. I was at that time called to be the Nurse for the Washington Spokane Mission. I felt totally inadequate to take on this assignment. I had not been a practising nurse for over 15 years. As the Presidency member was talking with us; I knew that I was to accept the call. The spirit spoke to my soul and I felt a warmth flow through me. As my husband and I were walking to our car I was telling him about the feelings that I had and when I told him about the feeling of warmth going through me; he said, " Yes, that was just the blood returning to your face." He said that when I was asked to do this calling, I went white as a ghost.
The calling was for one year. I felt such fear and wondered how I was really going to do this calling. I did a lot of praying, soul searching and studying medical conditions. My main responsibilities was to receive calls from the missionaries if they had any questions about their health. I had a cell phone so if I was not at home I could take a call. I took the cell phone with me when I was on vacation or visiting children. I truly loved all of the missionaries and wanted to be there for them in anyway I could. I had a physician that I could call if I needed more information and also to direct the missionaries to him if the condition reported was more than I could handle.
I had many calls.There was between 170-200 missionaries serving in that mission. I could have 50 to 100 or more calls a month. There were very few months when it was lower than that. I had to chart on all of the calls and take care of insurance and other paper work. I would report the calls to the Mission President in a weekly meeting. Also, I had to call in to the Church Offices to their medical department and request OKs on any treatment that the missionaries received or needed to receive. If there was a serious condition I would direct them to a physician, urgent care, ER or hospital. I had about 5 missionaries during that time that were hospitalized and I would make visits to the hospital to check on them.
There were a few interesting health issues that happened. The one that I will share is the following. As two of the Assistants to the President were walking down a street one day, they saw a baby coyote on the road. One of the Elder's picked the baby Coyote up and was bit in the hand. He didn't let me know about it for two days. When I found out he was sent to the ER and had to have Rabies shots which was not a pleasant experience. I had to keep in mind that I was working with 19 to 21 year old Elders and Sisters. Sometimes, I knew they just needed to talk with their mother and couldn't so I became their mother when they were sick or just having a very bad time. The Mission President's wife would assist me at times when there were emotional problems with the Elders or Sisters. I was able to teach health, nutrition and exercise classes to the missionaries at Zone Conferences. I also did Medical orientation to the new missionaries that came in each month. When the year was over I extended my mission for another six months and then extended another 6 months and even then I wanted to stay on my mission. I finally knew that I was to be released. The spirit told me it was time. A few months before my release my husband lost his job and we eventually had to move back to Salt Lake City area. I then knew why I had been directed to be released and available to train a new nurse.
My purpose in relating all of this is the fact that I know that Heavenly Father watches over his missionaries. There were countless times that I would receive a call from a missionary and would not know what to tell them and then I would receive through the spirit the exact words to explain what they needed to do for their condition. I do know beyond a doubt that our missionaries are watched over and protected.
I know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is true and I have felt the spirit testify to my soul many times that it is true. I am so grateful for our Latter-day Prophet, President Thomas S. Monson. I am so grateful for the testimony of the Plan of Salvation the I learned at my fathers feet when I was very young. I love missionary work and my husband and I look forward in the very near future to receiving a missionary call. We would like to serve on more than one full time mission when my husband retires. This is our goal. I am so grateful for the missions that I have served and how much I have learned and grown in my own testimony of the gospel.
I have a deep and abiding love for all the people of this earth and know beyond doubt that we are spiritual brothers and sisters and lived and knew our Heaven Father and our Savior, Jesus Christ in the Pre-existence.
All of this is why I feel great joy and love for missionary work and for the missionaries that serve throughout the world; they are always in our prayers. I know that they are protected and watched over by our Heavenly Father and our ever aware Savior Jesus Christ.