Thursday, August 29, 2013

Address Cards

I remember when I first arrived in Hong Kong for my mission the FIRST...ok, maybe not the absolute first, but one of the first things that they had us do was order business cards.  What?!  Why?  Well, it seems that the Chinese really like business cards and it's customary to hand one to a person when you're introducing yourself.  It really is a great way to start up a conversation (IF you can actually get them to open the door to receive said business card).  Think about it...if someone hands you a card what is the first thing you do?  You take it and look at it, right?  Gives you another 10-20 seconds to get your intro out of your mouth and maybe, just maybe they will be interested now that they've given you a chance to say what you're there for.  Brilliant, right?  The card had the name of the church, our name, and the mission home's address and phone number. What idea will they come up with next?  Did you know that one of the ways that the gospel was spread in Yugoslavia prior to the iron curtain falling, was through yoga classes?  That little factoid is from my dad.  Thanks, Dad!
When Mason left on his mission I typed his MTC address and the mission home address in Ohio onto quarter sheets of paper and had them available for family and friends to take with them.  When Matt left...I got smart.  I copied my friend Brenda's fine example and made business cards with his new addresses and photo.  I did NOT include his email address.   (see * at the end of this post)
I already had a package of business cards that you can print out on your home computer.  They are already perforated and you just run the sheet through your regular printer then fold them and they break apart.  A template number is listed on the outside of the business card package.  Use your computer and this template number to make your cards.  Just design one and then cut and paste everything onto the other cards.  I used Microsoft Publisher to make my cards because I wanted to be able to shift elements around but you could use Word and make them like an address label.  (click here for instructions on how to make labels using Microsoft Word.) 

For an easy way to collect contact information from your family and friends, have a notebook available for them to record their information for you.  Put a stack of your missionary's address cards nearby for them to take.  You can also use this information to make a quick and easy address book for your missionary.
I think this might actually have been easier than the quarter sheets of paper!
*Mason, our first missionary son, informed us that he really didn't prefer for his family and friends to email him.  While I and usually his dad, did send weekly emails we really tried to encourage others to just write letters for the following reasons: 
1. Missionaries really, REALLY love to get mail!
2. Missionaries only have a limited amount of time on Pday to access their email account.  If they spend most of that time just reading their emails, when will they write me the long email that I've been craving?  Priorities!  Am I right?
3. Usually missionaries don't have access to a printer, or don't have the change necessary for the printer if they are at the library so they can't actually print out the emails.  Mason said, "A letter I can read and re-read."  Little more difficult when the computer that you have access to is across town at the library or internet café.


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Get Well Soon, Elder Brown!

We received our email yesterday from our new missionary and...he's SICK!!  I am so sad.  As a mother, there is nothing worse than knowing that your kids are hurting and being totally incapable of helping them or comforting them in any way.  I did the next best thing that I could think of.  I called the mission home.  I'm naughty, I know.  I just wanted them to know that he's sick and has been for a couple of weeks and to please have someone on the medical staff call and check on him because I KNOW he's not going to call himself.  You know what that means?  That means that for the next 23 months Matt is NEVER going to tell me when he's sick 'cause he will think that I'll call again.  Sigh...  On the upside, the mission office was ever so nice AND the kindest pharmacy tech helped me find some over-the-counter meds that will hopefully help get Matt on the road to a full recovery very soon.  It's not like Matt's in a third world country and doesn't have access to good medicines...I just know that Matt will suffer through rather than take time out of proselyting to run to the drugstore.  So I popped these in a box and found a cute Get Well printable online.  I just love it when people share their talents.  Makes my life so much easier.  Get well soon, Elder Brown!
from Cathe at

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Address Book...part 2

For a quick and easy way to collect contact information from your missionary's friends, have paper or a notebook available at your missionary's open house or farewell for them to use to record their contact information.  Prior to your missionary leaving for the mission field, transfer the information onto white address labels and put them in their address book.  This also gives you a guest list of who came to your soirée.
*click here for an address book idea that's quick and easy

Address Book

Use address labels to make an address book for your missionary. It's easier to put together, easier for them to read, and you can include much more information on each label than you ever would be able to by writing it all in by hand.
I purchased a 3.5 x 5 inch address book from Walmart (less than $5) along with some white address labels. Make sure your labels are about the size of the space provided in your address book. Do NOT buy clear labels. There are lines provided in the address book for you to use when entering information. If you use clear labels it will be very hard to read your information when you add it to your book.
On the outside of the label package, a template number should be listed (see photo on right). Use your computer and the template number to make your labels. See the * at the end of this post for information on making labels for the PC using Word. By changing the font style and size I was able to fit a plethora on information on each label: name, address, phone (land line and cell), email and birthday. Don't worry about placing them in the book in alphabetical order. Usually address books group letters together, for example A-C might be on the same six or eight pages. Just start with the A's and when you need a B just skip a few pages and start your B's and so on.
Have paper or a notebook available at your missionary's open house or farewell for friends to write their contact information (see Address Book...part 2). Prior to your missionary leaving for the mission field, transfer the information onto address labels and put them in their book. Lots of information. Easy to read.
 * Instructions for making labels: On my computer (PC) I just open a Word document, click on 'mailings', click on 'labels', click on the label shape in the right hand bottom box and 'label options' will open, change the 'label vendor' to whatever brand of label you chose to purchase, scroll down the 'product number' list to find the template that you need (the template number will be listed on the outer packaging), click 'ok', click on 'new document'. This will open up an entire sheet of blank address labels. If you didn't click on 'new document' and just typed an address in the field provided, you would get an entire sheet of labels with the same exact information. Clicking on 'new document' allows you to enter the information on each individual label. Highlight the entire sheet of labels and change the font to something narrow like 'Ariel Narrow' which will allow you to fit more information on each label. Change the font size to be something small but readable.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Missionary "Trainer" Survival Kit

Trainer /ˈtrānər/ 1. To cause to grow  2. To form by instruction, discipline, or drill  3. To make or become prepared (as by exercise) for a test of skill  4. One who trains especially one who coaches  5. An unofficial term used by missionaries of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints that applies to a missionary's first companion.  May also be referred to as their 'mission mom/dad'.
syn. discipline, school, educate, instruct
I love the MTC Survival Kits that are found on Pinterest and other places on the internet and I was really looking forward to sending one to Matt while he was there but didn't get to.  (Insert sad face here)  While I was ever-so grateful that Matt would be serving stateside I was sad to find out that he would only be in the MTC for twelve days.  Not much time so I decided to forego the 'fun' MTC Survival kit, send him a 'spiritual' Greenie package when he arrived in the field and come up with a FUN Survival Kit for his first companion.*  Don't worry.  Matt and his District received many packages but they didn't contain anything that they would have to lug around the world with them i.e.. homemade goodies.
*Note: There are two links at the bottom of this post. 
One directs you to the printables if you are sending this package TO your
missionary's trainer and the other directs you to the printables
if your missionary IS the trainer.
The template is designed to print on both sides of the same piece of white cardstock.  You may need to experiment with your printer to figure out which way to turn the paper for the second side...or take it to the copy shop and make them figure it out so you don't waste a ton of ink.  I've listed the contents of the package below:  the first line is the item that will be placed in the cellophane bag, the second is the text on the outside of the gift card and the third (and sometimes fourth line) is the text from the inside of the card. 
Here's a helpful hint:  Leave the 'item' tag (see arrow on the upper right of the above photo) attached to the gift card until you are ready to attach to the cellophane bag otherwise you have to strain your brain to try to remember which item went with which card.  Learn from my experience.  I make mistakes so you don't have to!
Here we go...
For those days that are just downright...
...discouraging.   Sometimes chocolate really does solve everything.
Sometimes you just need a therapist!
Yup.  Sometimes that what it takes but when that's not an option, write in your journal.
So...therapy isn't an option...journaling isn't working
...maybe try worry balls?  Give these babies a squeeze to work out your frustrations.
Need a hug?
This is the best we can do from this far away. 
Just know that we love you for training our missionary.
"All missionaries, younger and older,...
...serve with the sole hope of making life better for other people." Elder Russell M. Nelson
Wear out your 'soles'!
(like a yo-yo, paddle ball, etc)
Serving God is the greatest adventure... the WORLD.
(FYI:  Melatonin is your sleep hormone that kicks in at night to help you fall asleep. 
You can buy supplements in the vitamin section of your grocery store or at a health food store.)
Everything always looks better after...
...a good night's sleep.  Get plenty of rest.
You were 'mint' to be companions.
IT'S TRUE!  We've been praying for you for a long time now...still are.
"Train up a 'greenie' in the way he should go: and when he is a trainer,
he will not depart from it." ...or something like that.  Teach.  Walk the walk.  Be a light.
D & C 89:10-12
All those things your mom taught right.
Man cannot live on Big Mac's and Krispie Kreme's alone
 no matter what your companion says.
"All you need is LOVE"
"LOVE is all you need!" Do you love your companion? Break the ice...
get to know one another.  Become friends!
(I put all of them in one bag)
+ - first aid symbol
Headache?  Indigestion? Sore Throat? We've got you covered!
All the extra stress of training a missionary can take it's toll on your health. Stay healthy!

This package was so much fun to put together and I hope his companion will be thrilled with it. I placed each item into a cellophane bag  then attached the gift tag to the bag with several pieces of fine jute that I had laying around then trimmed the ends to make them even.  (Is my OCD showing?)
Everything will fit really well inside a medium Flat Rate box (from the Post Office).  Line the box with tissue - I chose one sheet each of red, yellow and blue.  Place all items inside the box.  Write a letter to your missionary's trainer (or write it on the back of the printable).  This is important and will mean a lot to them.  Make it heartfelt.  If your missionary IS the trainer make sure that you click the appropriate link below.  Place the letter on top of the kit then cover with the tissue paper and top with the 'Missionary Trainer Survival Kit' printable.  All done!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

"Greenie" Scripture Care Package

I'm back! ... but my boy is gone.  Bittersweet, isn't it?  Matt oops! Elder Brown arrived in Seattle last week.  He is in a new area with no investigators and he's loving every minute of it. 
Greenie /gree-nee/ :  An unofficial term used by missionaries of
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
to describe the status of 'new' missionaries to the mission field.
Just like when my first served his mission - when I'm feeling sad I entertain myself by thinking up packages to brighten my missionary's day.  I wanted to send him a "Greenie" package.  There are a lot of ideas out there on the internet. I mean a LOT!  If you want to send your missionary a fun and quirky "Greenie" package just Google it and give your creativity a jump start.  For this package though, I opted for "spiritual."
I don't normally send very many "spiritual" packages.  Most of the time I try to just send fun things.  I figure they get LOTS of "spiritual" out there. missionaries are on a spiritual high.  They are just getting into the field and just starting to understand the work and the effort it takes.  I wanted Matt to remember some of the counsel that has been given to us through the scriptures and feel buoyed up by it.  I wanted him to remember that he is not alone in this great work. 

I tried to think back to my mission days and the things that I could have used some help with, then I found a scripture on that topic and then something to go with it.  The color scheme was already a given...GREEN!!... and I wanted to keep the style simple so as to not detract from the scripture so I just printed the scriptures on white cardstock, cut them out and then tied them together with cute stripy string.  Easy.  At the bottom of the package I put the framed scripture.  I plan on sending new scriptures or quotes occasionally and Matt can just change out the old for the new.  Easy.

Here's a helpful hint:  Leave the 'item' tag attached to the scripture until you are ready to tie the two together otherwise you have to strain your brain to try to remember which clever item went with what awesome scripture.  Learn from my experience. 
I make mistakes so you don't have to!

"And thou shalt declare glad tidings, yea, publish it upon the mountains, and upon every high place, and among every people that thou shalt be permitted to see."
Doctrine & Covenants 19:29

THE STORY:  I have never talked so much EVER!  At the end of the day my voice just hurt...

"And again, verily I say unto you, all wholesome herbs God hath ordained for the constitution, nature, and use of man - Every herb [and] every fruit in the season thereof...yea, flesh also of beasts and of the fowls of the air, I, the Lord, have ordained for the use of man with thanksgiving..."
Doctrine & Covenants 89:10-12

THE STORY: You HAVE to stay healthy.  It didn't take long for me to learn that I had to stay healthy
if I was going to give my all to the work.  You can't give what you don't have.  Eat right, exercise,
 stay hydrated and get plenty of rest.  It's all in the scriptures AND the white handbook.

"And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and their shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain."
Revelation 21:4

THE STORY:  I don't want to make you too sad or concerned for your missionary
and I know that everyone is different but...let's just say that I cried myself to sleep
my entire first month in the MTC.  My companions and I went through
lots and LOTS of Kleenex.  Don't worry.  It humbles you and makes
your prayers amazing.

"Be strong and be of good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed:
for the Lord thy God is with thee withersoever thou goest."
Joshua 1:9

THE STORY:  Before my mission I was really pretty shy around people I didn't know.
I didn't like to do things that were out of my comfort zone.  As you can imagine...
nothing about a mission is IN anyone's comfort zone.  It's all a little freaky at first.
Knowing that God is on your side and that you are 'about His work' makes all the difference.
The antacid will also help if they are in a foreign land eating foreign foods.

"Therefore, gird up thy loins for the work.  Let thy feet be shod also, for thou art chosen,
and thy path lieth among the mountains, and among many nations."
Doctrine & Covenants 112:7

THE STORY:  Yup.  We walked, and walked, and walked. 
My feet have never been the same.  'Nuf said.

"But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run and not be weary; and they shall walk and not faint."
Isaiah 40:31

THE STORY:  Pretty much says it all.  Great scripture, huh?
"Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."
Matthew 11:28

THE STORY:  Wow.  That's a great scripture as well.  Sleep.  There is nothing so bad that
it doesn't look better in the morning after a good night's sleep.
(FYI:  Melatonin is your sleep hormone that kicks in at night to help you fall asleep. 
You can buy supplements in the vitamin section of your grocery store or at a health food store.)

"How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings,
that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation;
that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!"
Isaiah 52:7

THE STORY:  Remember what I said about my feet?  Yup.  If your missionary has a problem with
dry, cracked heels (Why does this seem to effect sister missionaries only?)  get a foot cream that is high in Urea.
You can find it on the internet.  Mine is a prescription strength with 40% Urea.  It's wonderful.
If I was stranded on a desert island and could only take one thing this might even beat out the kiddos...
especially if they are being feisty that day.

"Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are,
and the things which shall be."
Revelation 1:19

THE STORY:  My journal was my therapist.  I wrote every single day. I needed lots of therapy.

"He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity,
nor sworn deceitfully, He shall receive the blessing from the Lord,
and righteousness from the God of his salvation."
Psalms 24:4-5

THE STORY:  I like the small bottles that can hang on your backpack/purse.  Handy.
You can find cutsie ones for the sister missionary or just plain, old, functional ones for the guys.
You never know when you're going to need it but you sure are grateful that you have it when you do!

"The path of the just is as the shining light,
that shineth more and more unto the perfect day."
Proverbs 4:18

THE STORY:  I sent Matt a headlamp.  He already had to have a flashlight. 
 It was on the list of 'things to bring' -  he's on a bike so I got a pretty good one.
A night light would be pretty good as well for when they have to get up during the
night in those unfamiliar apartments.  Might save them from stubbing a toe.
Gotta' save those FEET!

" the hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet."
Proverbs 27:7

THE STORY:  Yeah, this one needs NO explanation.  What missionary doesn't love candy?

"For this is a great and the last commandment which I shall give unto you concerning this matter; for this shall suffice for thy daily walk, even unto the end of thy life."
Doctrine & Covenants 19:32

THE STORY:  Here's to the feet and to their everlasting comfort!
Man, if your feet hurt there ain't nothin' right with the world.

"He hath filled the hungry with good things..."
Luke 1:53

THE STORY:  I so sent chocolate.  There is nothing that chocolate can't cure.
It's like a Band-Aid.

"That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish."
Ephesians 5:27

THE STORY:  I sent a Tide Stick spot remover pen.  Should help with those accidental spills
that might long as they remember to carry it in their backpack.

"And thou must open thy mouth at all times,
 declaring my gospel with the sound of rejoicing."
Doctrine & Covenants 28:16

THE STORY:  Pretty self-explanatory.  Make sure that your lip balm has a high SPF.
There's nothing worse than sunburned lips.  Can you say, "Instant Botox?"

"And speak freely to all; yea, preach, exhort, declare the truth, even with a loud voice,
with a sound of rejoicing, crying - Hosanna, hosanna,
blessed be the name of the Lord God!"
Doctrine & Covenants 19:37

THE STORY:  Pretty self-explanatory as well.  Always grateful that you have them when you
need them and wish you had them when you don't.  If someone offers you a breath mint...
you should never say, "No, thank you."  Seriously.

"For my soul delighteth in the song of the heart; yea, the song of the righteous is a prayer unto me and it shall be answered with a blessing upon their heads."
Doctrine & Covenants 25:12

THE STORY:  There is nothing that brings the spirit faster than music.  Check with your mission to see
what their rules are concerning music.  We could only listen to instrumental or 'church' music on P-days.
Mason could listen the same but any day of the week.  Some don't allow music at all.
If you can send music, you can't go wrong with The Mormon Tabernacle Choir or most anything
that Deseret Book has to offer (except for maybe some of the 'rocked out' Primary CD's that are out there. 
Totally cool, but probably not missionary appropriate.  Matt loves Country music so I sent
The Work by the Nashville Tribute Band.  It was Mason's favorite.

"And from thence, whosoever I will shall go forth among all nations, and it shall be told them what they shall do; for I have a great work laid up in store, for Israel shall be saved, and I will lead them withersoever I will, and no power shall stay my hand."
Doctrine & Covenants 38:33

THE STORY:  GPS.  Probably not too long before this is on the 'need to bring' list. 
Mason was in Ohio on a bike and he had to have one.
Matt is in Seattle and his first email from the field said, "...I have to go buy a GPS..."

"As cold waters to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country."
Proverbs 25:25

THE STORY:  It doesn't take a missionary long to learn that you have to write letters to get letters.

"Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:
And yet I say unto you, that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.  Take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or,
Wherewithal shall we be clothed? For your heavenly father knoweth
that ye have need of these things."
Matthew 6:27-32

THE STORY:  It's always fun to get a little surprise and to remember that the Lord is aware
of their needs and will take care of His servants.

"Let your hearts be full, drawn out in prayer unto him continually for your welfare,
and also for the welfare of those who are around you."
Alma 34:27

THE STORY:  Ok.  This one definitely has a story behind it.  When I was in the MTC...
I had a really hard time.  Chinese is HARD!...and I thought I could do it myself, and wasn't really
relying on the Lord like I should...and He was trying to teach me something...sorry, that's a story for another day.
Let's just say that I prayed a LOT.  I started to do this 'thing' where I would plug my ears with my thumbs then put my
hands over my eyes but on my forehead - kinda' like you're shading your eyes from the sun.  Hard to explain and even harder to picture from that lame explanation I'm sure.  I did it to block out distractions.  My prayers were better and more focused if I couldn't hear or see anything else going on around me and there was ALWAYS stuff going on around me.  Anyhow, the habit stuck and  that is still how I pray.  There are times when my kids walk into the bedroom at night when I'm saying my prayers so they've seen me plugging my ears and doing the hand thing.  Well, that was a long story just to say that I sent earplugs and my son will get it but yours probably won't.  Now you know the rest of the story. 
You could just send callous cream for their knees.  Yup, you better hope they get callouses there.

 So, there you have it.  Your box will be pretty full with what I've listed but I'd love to hear any ideas that you come up with...along with the 'story' behind it.  Everyone loves a good 'story.'  Marcie, one of my mission companions said that I should send Romans 16:16 "Greet one another with an holy kiss..." and attach it to some Hershey Kisses.  Funny!  Yeah,  I didn't send that one.  Way funny though.  Wow, I hope that every missionary comes home with at least one best friend like I did.  Whatever would my life be like without Marcie.  Love that girl.  Story for another day...
Line your box with green tissue paper.  Place some padding on the bottom i.e. shredded paper or something similar to protect the glass in your frame then just pile it all in and top with a letter.  Neatly fold your tissue paper over the contents and then place the Pièce de résistance ...

May we ALL stay green...