Skyping on Christmas

There’s a log of planning that goes on to Skype as a missionary. I had to contact my family the p day before
Mother’s Day (It was the first Skype call I had on my mission), see when they are available and see if it matched with my schedule. Then, in my case anyway, My companion and I had to find a member who was willing to let you borrow their computer/phone/any other communication device at their house (usually this wasn’t that hard) AND everyone’s schedule needs to match! By the time I sit down to Skype, I had no idea what to talk about!

So here are some tips I created to help and ensure that you have a great Skype time with your family or missionary.

Ask Questions

One of the best ways to start and keep a conversation rolling is questions. This is great advice…Except, for most of us, out minds go blank during moments that seldom come to us like Skype your family twice a year. To combat this, I have written a list of question you can ask your family or your missionary to get the most out of your precious Skype time!

Questions the family can ask their missionary:

What is the best thing that has happened so far?

What is the funniest/most embarrassing thing that has happened?

What do you love about the mission area (culture, people, food, places, ect)?

What have you learned temporally (cooking, cleaning, laundry, driving in snow, communicating, ect)

What have you learned spiritually?

How have you gotten closer to Jesus Christ since you’ve been out?

What’s the best thing about being a missionary during Christmas time?

What miracles have come from participating in the #LIGHTtheWORLD event (or whatever the initiative is)

What is your favorite thing about being out in the mission field?

What is the Hardest thing about being out in the mission field?

What’s the weather like?

Have you eaten anything adventurous yet?

(For first Skypes) what was the MTC like?

describe the place you are serving in right now

What’s your favorite thing about the gospel?

What’s your favorite Scripture?

What’s the craziest thing that has happened?

How does it feel to have a companion 24/7?

There are so many other questions you can ask that are related specifically to each mission or just ones that you think up, this is just a list I started to help you have a great time with you family

Questions the missionary can ask their family:

What blessing have you seen in your life since I’ve been gone?

What’s your favorite thing about the gospel?

What’s your favorite family memory of Christmas?

Have you had any missionary moment recently?

(For RM parents and sibling) Do you have any missionary advice for me?

What did you get for Christmas (or what did Santa bring you?)?

What’s your favorite Scripture?

What’s the weather like?

What’s the most fun thing you have done for Christmas this year?

Any funny stories recently?

Again there are so many other questions that I can’t think of at the moment! I hope this list helps you to erase all of the long silent pauses and helps you to continue to focus on your mission and have a great Skype call with your family.

What else can we do?

Here are some other things you can do to create a fun and different Skype call. Some of these suggestions might be a little cheesy, but when you only get to Skype twice a year, you don’t really care how much cheese there is!

You can open present while on Skype. I did this my one and only Christmas, it was just my mom and I and we opening each others gifts while we Skyped, it was a lot of fun and it didn’t take to long. If you have a large family, each person can open one gift while you Skype or the missionary could open their presents only. It just depends on what you’d like to do!

You can sing Christmas carols together, Hymns would be best. I never did this one while I was out, however your this might been fun to do especially if your family likes singing.

If you are going to do any of these things, the number one thing that you have to do, is take a picture together! It’s fun to have a “Family picture” together even if you are not really together!

Lastly, (this one is a bit strange) you can “hug” each other, by hugging what ever device you are on. I don’t know when this came about in my family, I think it was when we were talking to one of the exchange students we had in our home shortly after she arrive at her own home, and we’ve done it ever since! I’m sure your little siblings would love it!

Things to know before you go!

1. have your parents, Skype, FaceTime, Google Hangout, or whatever communicating device you choose to use, on hand before you get on to Skype. It’s probably a good idea to add your family to your contacts before you leave on your mission. It’s also a good idea to let your family know what your current area code is, so they know what kind of phone number they are looking for.

2. Don’t stress out too much about the call, it will happen how it will happen!

3. It’s going to be hard to say good bye. So missionaries, get to work after your done calling, it will help you refocus on the work and stop you from getting too homesick! For the parents and family, go watch a funny Christmas movie or something!

I hope these tips will help you this Christmas! I hope you have awesome Skype this Sunday. Merry Christmas!

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Has is really been 2 years!?

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Two years ago today I received my mission call! After 3 weeks of waiting, it finally came! Although I seldom wrote in my journal before my mission, I wrote in it two years ago today for this special occasion!

“October 30th, 2014

Today my mission call came! IO haven’t opened it yet because I am waiting for my parents and We are going to Skype our exchange students. This morning the bishop said my called has been assigned. I mailed a letter to one of our exchange students, so that I could see when the flag was down (that means the mail came if in the future there is no snail mail) but the problem was…I couldn’t tell whether it was up or down from my bedroom window! So that’s that. Later I went outside to get the mail and it was there! So I called my mom because she had texted me 17 times [about whether or not it came….17 is a huge exaggeration…] This morning at about 9am [pretty sure that was before I got the mail…], I realilsed that I had a mission call. I didn’t know where is was yet, but it just hit me that I had a calling! I am so excited even though I have no idea what it will be, but I have a feeling that it will be English speaking. I am so excited to open it! See you later”

That “see you later” meant that I was going to write later about where I was assigned to, but that didn’t happen until a week later. As I said in my journal entry I waited for my parents to come home and we Skyped two exchange students we previously hosted at our home. After Skype failed twice (once while my hand was on my letter as I was about to pull it out) I was finally able to read it!

I was called to the New York Utica Mission (if you didn’t get that from the title of the blog) I’ve always had a love for New York! I have a faint memory of doing New York state report homework assignments in my 5th grade class and I just wondered what Upstate New York was like. Although I did not go to the city I’ve always wanted to go there too! (I will one day) I know that is the place I was suppose to preach the gospel on a full time mission.

My testimony grew a lot while I was out. I learned so much more about the Savior’s Atonement and how it can work in my everyday life. I was able to share that with those that I came in contact with. I am grateful for each one of my companions and what I learned from them! I am also grateful for the people I served with. The members, investigators and anyone else I came in contact with taught me so much and I am grateful to have met all of them. It was seriously the best time of my life.

If you haven’t already, I would encourage you to pray to Heavenly Father and ask Him if going on a mission is something you need to do. I promise you that he will answer you! He love all each and everyone of us! Regardless of if you go on a mission or not, we all need to share the gospel with others. It will give you the most joy!

I hope you have enjoyed this blog post please come back every Sunday to more stories, tips and tricks for missionary service!

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The Temple

A few weeks ago, on December 6th, I had the opportunity to go to the Oquirrh Mountain Temple and take out my own endowments. I wrote this on my Facebook page:

“Eleven years ago today I was baptized a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Today I had the amazing opportunity to go through the Oquirrh Mountain temple and receive my endowments, Not only am I one step closer to my mission, but I am also one step closer our Father in Heaven.”

It is amazing how much dedication and time people put into temples, from the time spent designing and building beautiful temples to the talents that people have in creating the temple inside and out. Even the time that we spend in the temple to take out our own endowments or the endowments for people who have passed without the blessing of the temple. Since my first time going through I have been able to go through the Manti, Vernal, and Timpanogos Temples.

My testimony of temple work really grew when I was about thirteen, I was involved in the Oquirrh Mountain Temple Celebration, in preparation for it the youth group I was in strived to attend the temple more often. At the end of May, after lots of practice and hard work, we were able to perform, I loved this experience! The testimony of the youth shown through their dedication in learning their dance steps or song lyrics. As I prepared myself for this event I wrote a poem. I recently stumbled upon this poem again just a few week before I was endowed. The title of the poem is The Temple (I know very unique title;) ) It reads:

I can see the Temple from my house
It’s so beautiful and pure
It’s like a painting against the mountains
It’s the most gorgeous scene to see

Being so close,
I just want to touch it
To feel the spirit rush though my body
Like wind rushing though trees

Just looking at the Temple
I feel comfortable
Like it’s a house
Because it is a house
A house of the Lord

I know this;
I will never lose my family
Because of the Temple
I will never lose them
Not even after I die

Those people who didn’t have this amazing opportunity
Through you and me
Can have this opportunity
By doing baptisms for the dead
I know there are spirits up in heaven
Shouting HURRAY!
For their baptism day

It puts a smile on my face;
A tear in my eye
When I think about the Temple
And a spirit it keeps inside

I never want to leave the Temple
I never want to say good bye
I never want it far away
I always want the Temple close to me

I am very grateful to have a temple so close, The first time I realized (In New York) I would be 3 hours way from the nearest temple, I had a little bit of anxiety because I have been always near a temple, I challenge each of you to place a picture of a Temple in your home, as a reminder of your goal to stay close to the temple at heart.

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When I grow up

KayleeTeresa.jpg I love how happy I look in this picture! (BTW I’m the four year old in the picture 😉 ) I was so excited for my aunt to go on a mission, I am so glad I followed her example. I’m even going close to the same mission she went to (Just a skip, hop and a boat ride away across Lake Ontario). When I was that young I didn’t understand that eventually you would come home from a mission and, I remember when she came home, I was so excited because she could would be able to play her violin at my baptism. I love my aunt, thanks so much for being a great example to me!

The Book of Mormon is important

Last Sunday In primary while my mom was teaching the lesson, an adorable little boy was hitting his head with his Book of Mormon (I guess since he couldn’t read he wanted to pound the scriptures into his head). I turned towards him and asked, “Is that how you should treat it?” pointing to the Book of Mormon. He nodded his head, I replied “No,” and shook my head. He had a blank stare on his face, obviously he didn’t understand me. A few seconds later I saw him throwing his Book of Mormon on the ground. This time when I asked him if that’s how we treated our scriptures he shook his head, We made progress! However it didn’t last long. After that the book when through several head bangs, floor hits, it was stepped on, bent in every which way, and rubbed between the knees. Through all of this I, very patiently, asked the four year old if that is how we should treat our scriptures. Finally it disappeared, I guess he lost interest in throwing it around so he thought sitting on it was a better choice. Later, when we were sitting in a circle on the floor (I know it sounds weird, but we were having singing time…on the floor) I noticed that his Book of Mormon was neglected on a chair. I started to think about how we can treat our own Book of Mormon with respect. Now I know that most of you reading this blog wouldn’t bang your heads with a Book of Mormon, or sit on it, however, we can show our respect for it by studying it often rather than leaving it on a shelf to gather dust.

I Hope They Call Me on a Mission

A Few Sundays ago I was called to teach the sunbeams (three and four year old children) with my mom. The following Sunday, when we were in Singing Time, we were learning about missionary work and how amazing it is, one of the songs we sang was “I Hope They Call Me on a Mission” At first I was excited to sing this song because I loved it as a kid, but as soon as we sang the words “I hope by then I will be ready, to teach and preach and work as missionaries do” I was was holding back tears. I remember when I was in primary and we sang this song. I remember how loud we sang this song and the excitement that could be felt from all of the primary kids in that room. I also remember how much I wanted to be a missionary. Now I am preparing to serve a mission and in a few short months I am going to teach and preach and work as missionaries do!