It's with very mixed feelings that my time as a missionary mom is done. Of course, I missed Chad immensely and am so glad to have him home (especially since he was in Chile - need I say more?)
But the feelings of having a son on the mission field, serving the Lord - that's an honor like no other. The selflessness of a young man who is about to embark on adulthood, taking time out to serve for 2 years in an unfamiliar place, far from home, is rare these days. And the growth that accompanies this experience is amazing, and affects most returned missionaries lives for the better.
That growth was evident when he spoke with the stake president upon his release, and when he reported to the high council shortly after his return. Our ward also saw firsthand over the years how much a little cute and funny little boy grew into a handsome and confident young man. The Spirit was so strong as he gave the traditional talk in Sacrament meeting this past Sunday, and bore his testimony in his mission language.
I am fortunate that in about 9 years, I have another son who is already looking forward and preparing to serve a mission as well, and another son after that who I hope does the same.
So just for now, I am no longer a missionary mom. But now I have the great privilege of being a "missionary daughter".
Hello to all!
We are settled in a nice apartment and have a beautiful drive to and from the office. There are huge homes on small acreages all along the way. The grounds are brown now but are very neatly mowed. When spring comes it will be gorgeous. If we ever get a chance we will take some pictures. We live less than two miles from a major shopping center called Cool Springs which has all the major stores. I feel right at home. Ha, ha.
There is a church about every quarter of a mile all along the 15 minute drive to work. We are 5 minutes from our ward building which is right next to the Nashville TN Temple. Even though we are only 5 minutes away it took us at least 15 minutes to make the trip on Sunday because there were traffic cops directing traffic into and out of the many churches along the way.
Everyone has been especially nice and receptive. We are in a ward that is much like the Evergreen Ward with a very active congregation. They seem to be working hard to get the full time missionaries back into their ward. They were not getting enough referrals so the mission president removed the Elders from the ward. We are still handing out the pass along cards to those we meet in the stores, etc. and we are going to work with the ward mission leader and the ward missionaries to visit with all the families in the ward and help them with their family mission plans.
We are still being trained. We had 9 days of training at the MTC which was truly an awesome experience! We arrived in Nashville on Monday afternoon, changed our clothes and unloaded the car then we were invited to the Mission Presidents home for dinner with the other new couple and the couples that are leaving. The next day we began training with the current missionary couples and have been working long days since. Tomorrow we will be driving with the President and Sister Hutchings 2½ hours to Paducah, KY to clean out an apartment and move the furniture and missionaries to another area. It looks like our P day is going to be skipped this week. I am getting the impression that there is more work to be done that there are workers. They mentioned at the MTC that they only have half as many senior missionaries and they need.
There are about 130 missionaries in our mission and the goal is to baptize 50 people every month. It looks like that goal will be met with the average the end of March. The mission is sponsoring a fireside on March 7th and have invited the Osmond's to come and talk. There are 10 members of the family that will be there. Then later this spring there will be a concert with Gladys Knight that looks to be major. They expect to get a lot of referrals from these activities. The mission has a couple of companionship's that are called “church hoppers” that have been invited to go to other churches and preach to their congregations. There is one church (non-member)s that has hired a bus to bring their members to the Osmond fireside. We have a very aggressive, hard-working mission president. He is having zone conferences every month instead of every six weeks which is suggested.
All in all we are very busy and happy to be here. It is great to be serving the Lord full-time.
Elder & Sister Merritt
Tennessee Nashville Mission
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints