Sunday, February 26, 2017

Mission Preperation

Elder and Sister Banks

We sent our "mission papers"(42 pages long) in the weekend of Thanksgiving 2016. Our instructions said we would receive our call in four to six weeks. So we left for Seattle on December 17th to spend Christmas with Danner and Kelsi, in hopes of helping Kelsi out as she was on bedrest with her third pregnancy. The bonus of course, was Holden and Emmett. We had a wonderful Christmas with our kids,  and no snow, no cold, which we left behind in Troy. When we returned home we realized our mission call had come the day we left for Seattle and had sat for ten days in the post office. So, thanks to our tech savvy kids (Tyler this time), we skyped and opened our letter.  Washington DC North Mission!  We were surprised and I was very excited. We were to report to the MTC on Jan. 30th.

Opening up our mission call with our family
I learned two things from this experience. First, do not have any expectations about where and when you are going, what you will be doing, and how you will feel about it. We heard so many stories from other senior couples about how nothing happened the way they thought or expected it would. Second, if you tell mission headquarters you will be ready on Jan. 15, be ready to get in your car and go on Jan. 15.  Don't assume you will have more time to get ready.

All that said, I felt wonderful about the call. It felt right and I knew we were going where the Lord needed us to go at that time.

So, we had about three weeks to pack up our belongings, get them to a storage place we felt was reliable, secure, and close to one of our children, in case of any emergency. The weather was, in a word, the worst. It snowed and snowed, and if it wasn't snowing the temperatures were frigid, I mean in the single digits during the day. I felt I should give two weeks notice at my job, so I worked until Jan. 13. The paperwork (wills, power of attorney, etc.) we felt we should do was at times overwhelming. Greg's truck broke down and needed a new fuel pump and a four wheel drive thingy dingy during his travels getting ready. We bought a newer car, as we realized we had to drive across the country in  February to DC. We were so blessed in our car purchase. We got an unbelievable trade in with the dealership and they took it in sight unseen. At the last minute Greg sold his boat, which had been for sale for over a year, and that went toward the car purchase. We hired people to help us load the moving van and they cancelled the day before. We found somebody better. We had a new grandson, Gunnar, during this time and missed meeting him.  Our saviors during this time were Scott and Eva, and Aaron and Shannon. They offered muscle,  great food (thanks Eva), beds (thanks Sydnie, Scott & Eva), and a ton of encouragement. We would not have made it without them. I cannot forget  Diann and Kathy, who five hundred miles away, helped me keep my head on and kept telling me we would make it, and Lynn and Dalene, who offered the same, sound encouragement.  And last, but not least, Brothers Eichner and Webb, who got our moving van in and out of the driveway the day we moved our belongings to Spokane. So, at last, we were ready to go on Jan. 27, 2016.

I feel like I should commit to paper the blessings we received when we were set apart. It was such a special experience for us. While I am sure many of the blessings given were the same most senior couples receive, but when we heard it for us it was very personal and comforting. Eva took notes, which was so kind of her, because we did not realize how wonderful they would be. Our setting apart was done by our new stake president, President Ryan W. Cook. We were his third and fourth missionary.

Summary of Greg's blessing:
You will be blessed with a clear mind. You will have greater health and strength than you can imagine. Other people will be able to see the light of Christ because of the way you are. The Holy Ghost will continue to bless you and your testimony will grow. Share mission experiences with your family and it will bless them. Take time to kneel and pray so you can be directed by the Holy Ghost. You can be comforted in knowing your Heavenly Father will help your family. Your example and willingness to serve will bless your children. Cherish your wife, be more kind and gentle to her.  Share your testimony about the temple with others, and be open to the promptings of the Holy Ghost.

Summary of Bonnie's blessing:
You will have the health you need to fulfill your calling. You will instruct and teach with your actions and your words. Study the scriptures and your testimony will grow.  You will know the words you should speak, keep your mind open to the promptings you receive and follow them.  As you teach you will have the Holy Ghost with you. Don't ignore the random acts of kindness you can do. Your love will continue to grow with Greg. Your family will be blessed as you serve and hearts will be changed, burdens will be lightened, and hearts softened.