We are just about ready here. My missionary son gets home later this afternoon, I have just a few things left to do. This picture taken in 1982 is from my own mission. I loved being a missionary. It was one of the highlights of my life. I believe in missionary work. I believe in the message that missionaries share. The message of the gospel of Jesus Christ is one of hope and love. It was a privilege to serve as a missionary, and it is a great honor and blessing to be welcoming home another missionary son.
Seth closed his last misionary email home this way: "I
had many things to write, but I will not with ink and pen write unto
thee: but I trust I shall shortly see thee, and we shall speak face to
face. Peace be to thee." 3 John 1:13-14
He will be home in two days. It's been a little hard to concentrate today because I haven't seem him in a long, long time, and I haven't seen that scripture in a long time. It is fitting as well. What mother wouldn't cry at something like that? I always have so many questions to ask him, but there is never enough time to ask them in an email let alone get them answered. But I can ask them soon enough and spend time finally getting full answers.
This is a picture of Seth when he headed off to his mission two years ago. He always has this same smile on his face.
Here is a little snippet from the rest of his email today:
"I feel so blessed to have [had] this privilege to serve. Truly:
"doing good is a pleasure, a joy beyond measure, a blessing of duty and
love." I have been blessed by my mission to the greatest degree. My
testimony of Christ has grown so much and His love for all people. I
want to become like and become a window to His love. I want to spend all
my days in His service. I know He lives and that this is the fullness
of His Gospel."
This is from last week's email:
"I know that Heavenly Father loves us more than we could ever understand. I know that is why He gave us His Son. That is why He has a plan for our salvation and eternal happiness. That is why He gives us prophets to teach us of His plan. I know that the Living God speaks. He acts. He is still a God of miracles because He loves us. I bear witness of this in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
Love, Elder Freeman"
A last goodbye picture with his district.
See you soon Son.
I'll be the one at the airport trying to hold it together.
I found this video in my inbox this morning from my daughter Elisa. She compiled it as a remembrance of Seth's two year mission; he comes home next Thursday. I needed Kleenex for this one. Thanks Elisa.
I can see by the wrinkles under my eyes that I'm getting older all the time. One of my Primary children looked at me today and asked quite sincerely, "are you in your 80's or in your 50's?" I just laughed. He's 7 years old. I said, "I am certainly not in my 80's!"
I've had many blessings in my "less that 80" years. God has been very kind to me. One of the cherished blessings I will always be grateful for is to have had children who chose to serve the Lord as His missionaries. I've had the opportunity to be a "Missionary Mom" three times. Elisa went to West Virginia, Ian went to Brazil, and Seth is serving his last week as a missionary in Georgia. I've worn my Missionary Mom pin on a number of occasions. I wore it to church today, and next week will be my last week to wear it. It's just a little thing, but it means so much.
In the Old Testament, we read about a woman named Hannah. She prayed for a child and longed for a child for many years. God finally granted her the desire of her heart, and she dedicated that child to the Lord's service. She was the mother of a servant of the Lord. She rejoiced in that. Hannah loved God, and she offered the best she could to Him—her firstborn son. God blessed her with many more children after that.
It is a wonderful thing to be the mother of a servant of the Lord.
Elisa surprised us when she told us she wanted to serve a mission. We hadn't anticipated it. It was a blessing to her, and it was a blessing to us. We hoped that our sons would also make the choice to serve the Lord as missionaries, and they did.
We have a picture that hangs over our mantle in our living room. My husband said we needed to hang the picture when we moved to our home. It is the scripture from Joshua that reads, "As for me and my house we will serve the Lord." Joshua 24:15 It symbolizes that we try to not just think just about ourselves. We wonder what service we might offer others that will bless their lives as well. We believe that "when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God." Mosiah 2:17 (The Book of Mormon)
So part of our family service has been to share the message of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ with those who might be interested in that message. The years of missionary service have been voluntary. No one forced my children to serve. Their lives have been enriched, and hearts have been touched. Most of their service has been quiet service.
The blessing to me has been to know that I had something to offer the Lord. They were adults when they chose to serve and leave home. I did what I could when they were children to teach them the ways of the Lord and to instill in them a love of God. I have always been grateful for the two Mormon missionaries that taught me the gospel. They sacrificed their time for two years to find me and to offer me the message that has blessed my life now, and that will bless me and my family throughout eternity. How do you say thank you for something like that?
You simply try to give back.
The way I try to give back and say thanks is to share the gospel with others. I write this blog. I have other social media accounts. I serve in church. I offer the Savior's message with those who might be interested. I prepared missionaries for the Lord.
Seth comes home next week. We've missed him. He's always been a delight to us. His mission has shaped him in new ways that will add a dimension to his life that he could have received in no other way. He has sacrificed his time to serve God and serve others. That causes the missionaries to look beyond themselves and to think of others before themselves. That service blesses both ways.
I suppose when I am really in my 80's, I will look back at my life and ponder a lot of things. I will be at the end then if I live that long. I think the memories will be mostly sweet even though there have been a lot of trials along the way.
One of my sweetest memories will be the time I can look back and say that I was a
I had a wonderful Mother's Day this past Sunday. As always, the highlight was the missionary call home from Seth. The connection was really poor, but it was a delight to speak to him. Everybody was here, and they were all so happy to visit with each other that at times it seemed like bedlam and chaos. When our family gets talking, it seems like everyone talks at once, so it really was just a normal experience around here. Nonetheless, it was a great time. Seth comes home two weeks from today. The time is really passing quickly now.
I LOVED having my children visit.
We did what we could to get a picture with Seth in it.
I love this one with Ian.
And this one with Emma.
And this one with Sarah.
And baby James too!
We will miss Elisa when she moves away
after she is married.
Somebody coming home,
and somebody leaving again.
Nathan loves the playroom.
So does Hannah.
She really loves Grandpa.
Sarah and James
Ian and James
Jessa and Elisa
This is the best.
OK, maybe this is.
Not everybody could stay for dinner.
All the more chocolate strawberries for those who stayed.
I found this video on the internet today. It was posted yesterday on Washington Post.com for the National Day of prayer. It's really well done. Here's what it said about the purpose of the video:
May 6, 2015 11:32 AM EDT - For
the National Day of Prayer, leaders from different faith demonstrate
how they pray. Linda Otani McKinney, a member of the Church of Jesus
Christ of Latter-Day Saints, says to think of prayer as "a heavenly
conversation."(Gillian Brockell and Kate M. Tobey / The Washington Post)
Prayer is an important part of my life. I pray at least twice a day, morning and night, but like the woman in this video-I oftentimes have a prayer in my heart throughout the day. I have been praying to God since I was a little girl. It is perhaps the most basic part of my spiritual being. I know God is my Father in heaven, and I know that I am His daughter. I know He loves me and cares about me. I know He is interested in my life, and I sincerely believe He wants to help me as I seek Him for help. I always thank Him for my blessings as part of my prayers. Often I simply tell Him about my day. Some days I have a lot of good things to talk about from my day. Other days are a disaster. Some days I need to ask forgiveness for the things I chose to do wrong that day. I ask for help to do better the next time. I ask for help or blessings I need such as help with a personal problem, an area in my life where I just can't seem to get it together, or blessings for a loved one. A lot of times at the end of the day, I report in or thank God for the help I received from Him in answer to my morning prayers. Sometimes I pray in my heart while driving or while doing everyday tasks. For my morning and night prayers, I kneel at the side of my bed with my eyes closed. I particularly like to pray after I have read my scriptures, or when I go to the temple.
Prayer is one of the sweetest parts of my life. I look forward to it every morning and am grateful for it every evening.
Basically these are the four steps to prayer:
Begin by saying "Dear Heavenly Father."
Thank Heavenly Father for the blessings you feel you have received from Him.
Ask Heavenly Father for those things you need help with.
Close the prayer by saying "In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen."
My prayers are really a natural flowing conversation. They are different each day, although many of the elements remain the same.