My Mission Was Easier Than Yours

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Mormons use the internet for all kinds of awesomeness and sharing of goodnesses but occasionally, if the moon is in the house of Scorpio or the deacons brought wheat instead of white that Sunday, they get a little worked up and may also use it to debate things, like the difficulty of their respective missions. For fun. Or for winning.

I always want to join in that fun but I served in the easiest mission. And it won’t surprise you to hear that it was Temple Square. Because, admit it, you suspected it was the easiest all along.

First of all, let’s address the setting. It isn’t likely that professional gardeners attended to every inch of ground your sensible shoes touched while on your mission. And I’m sorry about that. Because Temple Square gardeners are ridiculously good at what they do. I mean, have you seen the place?

Of course you have. You went there with a date. We noticed, trust me. We think you made a great impression, really put your best foot forward. The orchestrated moment of quiet contemplation in front of the Christus was a smooth move. We dug it.

Another thing that made my mission a lot easier than yours was alone time. Did you have much of that? I did. Not hours of it, but enough. Missionaries don’t have to stay in pairs while on the Square. It was entirely possible that I could be assigned the farthest desk in the corner of the basement of the visitors’ center. Just me, my introverted alone-time craving brain, and a set of scriptures.

But then, no one wants to be alone all the time, of course. Well don’t despair for me, I got to team up with different sisters for all kinds of tasks (tours, manning information booths, family history center, greeting at gates and more). And, sometimes, depending on what the computer-generated schedule randomly spun for me that day, I may have actually gotten to do something with my companion.

Did you enjoy tracting? I didn’t do any but, and correct me if I’m wrong, it sounds terrible. On Temple Square, the people came to me, naturally. And they had questions. Stuff they’d been storing up. Stuff they wanted to ask their Mormon neighbor but had been scared to lest it indicate a possible interest in, you know, converting. Other times guests’ questions came to them as they saw the Square for the first time. A common answer to a surprisingly common question: No, the bride and groom do not sleep in the temple the night of their wedding. It just kind of looks like a giant castle/hotel.

How were your living spaces? You know what… I’m going to spare you this one. This is getting to be too much. Suffice it to say, mine were nice.

In all seriousness, though my mission may not have been comparatively hard, I did earnestly work hard… and so did every sister I can remember. Our days were long and we were rarely off our feet. Just like you, we wanted to make the most of the time we had. We did get lucky, though, and we did get to perform those works in a really lovely place.

But all of this happened a long time ago. And now this former Temple Square missionary has kids that are quickly approaching missionary age. The world has changed. Even Temple Square has changed. I’m not sure if it matters where my kids go, if they choose to serve. I have a feeling it will be hard.

My husband works with the full-time missionaries in our ward and he really feels for them. They can’t accomplish much during the day. No one is home. People are busy. Few have time for a message about God. I get it. I’m busy too and, in my own way, shun messages about God far too often as well.

And then, it seems there are many who don’t feel a need to make space for God in their lives to begin with. If you are a kid serving where I live, the people you encounter already have so much. And even though the church has made some great choices for modern missionaries, like allowing them fewer restrictions on the number of hours they can perform service a week, it’s still challenging to find meaningful ways to fill the days.

My mission was a sweet (and very safe) adventure. Of all the good fortunes bestowed upon me, by what likely included some luck of the draw, the best was that I got to speak of Christ every day, and often. It was a beautiful blessing. And I hope most truly that this blessing is something our missions have in common. Even if yours was harder.

20 Comments

  1. Love your writing, Melissa! And yes, we had an easy mission, except for those damn members that kept telling us we had it so easy and please don’t talk to my not mormon friend that I brought.
    And btw, I was talking to missionaries in the square a few months ago. They have to stay with their comps all day now! No switching. One if the sisters gave me their schedule. I will post it on Harbertson girls. Fascinating.

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    • Thank you, Wendy! You are seriously funny. And, yes, please post that schedule! I’m super curious. I know this will sound terrible, but I thought the “not staying with your companion all day” was a real plus to our mission. And I really did love my companions! But I also really love a little alone time. It’s interesting that they made that change.

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    • I want to hear more about the “please don’t talk to my not mormon friend that I brought” experience. That’s hilarious.

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      • I think Wendy would have a lot of great things to share in very funny ways. :)

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  2. So well written Melissa! Thank you for bringing back such great memories. I love looking back on it. For better or worse it was ours and we served it well, I think. And like all the others whose missions were harder, ours was a call from a prophet too… Sis Parker

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    • Thanks, Christine! I’m definitely “leaning in” to the cliche for fun here. Our mission was hard in plenty of ways. But it was also charmed and beautiful and for me… life changing. As dramatic as that sounds, it’s true.

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  3. You totally hit the spot.I enjoyed your article. I also enjoyed our mission. We tracked too, for four months. I would like to see the schedules now too. To see the difference. Thanks for the memories.

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    • Thanks, Deborah! I know from the last time I went with my husband and kids that the mission has changed a ton. They work a lot more areas… especially considering we started on the Square ONLY.(Until the JSMB opened up and gave us…Legacy! I can still hear the dialogue in my head.)I served my four months in the Boise mission and we didn’t tract. (It was technically illegal to tract in Hailey, ID. Um, thanks, Bruce Willis?) One of the sisters on FB noted that she was actually better at tracting thanks to TS. I thought that was an interesting observation. Like I said, I didn’t tract at all… and I’m probably just fine with that, lol.

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      • That kind of thniikng shows you’re on top of your game

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      • 4 points sur ce jeu de service de Ferrer, 4 fautes directes de Murray… Et encore des plans trop longs sur môman à chaque fois. M’énerve ces réalisateurs du Commonwealth.

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      • Grymt att en legendar inom kampsport Sverige tittar pÃ¥ vÃ¥rt program ;).Sebastian, lÃ¥ten heter ”Mas que nada” och gruppen heter Tempo Rei…… lÃ¥ten är en av de mest kända lÃ¥tarna frÃ¥n Brasilien, och det finns Ã¥tskilliga versioner av den. Leta efter den pÃ¥ Spotify sÃ¥ hittar du en massa versioner av den.Peace

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      • Je suis fan du look entier ! Pourtant, ce sac ne m’attire pas habituellement (peut-être parce que je l’ai trop vu?) mais il est très bien porter avec ce look black & white ! En plus, comme je cherche un pantalon en cuir… voilà quoi Bises et bonne journée !

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      • Excellent picture. I completely agree with you. We all have to take a step back and simplify our lives. Simple pleasures like coffee from fresh milk, pongal made from a smoked furnace(can’t think of the correct word), breathing fresh air….have become things of the past.

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      • Jim Pontillo wrote an interesting post today on The Fair Tax Disaster and Mike HuckabeeHere’s a quick excerptGovernor Huckabee’s rocket launch into the top tier of Republican candidates makes me wonder if anybody is paying attention. His record as a big government taxer is pretty clear; as governor of Arkansas he increased taxes and increased …

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  4. Great inhgist! That’s the answer we’ve been looking for.

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  5. You really do have THE cutest kids! I love reading your blog to see their cute pictures. The crazy thing is I created a blog for Andi and Holly but neither one use it. I found your blog from Andi though, she checks it

    Reply
  6. Sinceramente non capisco quali problemi abbia Thunderbird che fa quello che deve fare addirittura da spingere a trovarne un’altro sostituto…Inoltre, bisognerebbe cominciare a sostenere progetti grandi e non più sti programmini da due soldi.Evolution, prossimo GNOME Mail, sarà un ottimo passo da cui cominciare e mi auguro che KDE faccia qualcosa anche per Kmail.Thunderbird però rimane l’unica soluzione plausibile per ogni realtà (aziendale e privato) e soprattutto multipiattaforma, il resto sono chiacchere.

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  7. rail travel technology provider SilverRail has not only come out of stealth mode today but is also throwing its consumer-facing train booking site open for

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  8. I know what you mean by "stupidly pave it over." Every time I go out now I see more trees cut down to be paved over for some mini mall. and dozens of them are already around and half empty

    Reply

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