Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Tenth Day of Christmas

On the tenth day of Christmas I'm truly grateful for:

Ten sister missionary examples.

Ever since I can remember, I've wanted to serve a mission.  I've had a lot of examples from men in my life of the blessings of missionary service and that's been wonderful. But I think there is something to be said for a girl seeing other girls serving missions.  So, today I pay tribute to the women in my life that have urged me towards my goal of being a full-time missionary.

Leslie Thomas- (Brynn's mom) She was the first time I remember personally knowing a lady who had served a mission.  I remember being glad that she was still a pretty and fun lady with a family.  I guess till that point I hadn't really associated missionaries with normal people, especially moms.  I remember thinking it was so neat that she was able to have gone and taught the gospel to people in Nova Scotia all before she got married and became a mom.  I thought it was SO neat that she did that.
Tawny Miller- My best friend when I was a "tween" was Noah.  His older sister was just a year older than my brother Joel.  I remember when I found out that she was serving a mission. Again, I was struck with how neat it was that Tawny wanted to do that.  I looked forward to any news about her while she was in France.  When she got home from her mission she gave a fireside at Girl's Camp.  Looking at her and the difference it had made for her solidified my resolve to be a sister missionary one day.
Mindy Dallenbach- or Sister Dallenbach as I called her was my Mia Maid's teacher.  She was such a spiritual giant in my life.  She was so encouraging and fun and you knew exactly where she stood in her testimony and her devotion to God and his gospel.  I wanted to be like her.  When I found out that she had served a mission at Temple Square, it made me so happy.  Of course she had served a mission.  I admired her teaching techniques as well as her knowledge of the scriptures.
Janice Moyle- My Great-Aunt.  She and her husband served in France as a senior couple.  She has such a great sense of humor and a zest for life.  I love that she and her husband decided to leave Utah for a couple years and spend time as missionary-sweethearts.  Such a romantic thing to do as a couple.  Janice's husband got sick while they were in France and eventually died because of complications from his illness back in America.  But they were able to finish out their mission and dedicate some of their last years together to the Lord as faithful servants to him.  I see so much of who I want to be in my Aunt Janice, a senior couple missionary is one of them.
Lisa Nelson- My mom.  When she was about to be a Freshman in high school, her family was called on a mission to Virginia (My grandpa was the mission president there).  She had to leave all of her friends and extended family and everything she knew back in Utah and embark on one of the biggest chapters of her life in a completely new environment and part of the country.  That transition wasn't the easiest. It was sometimes hard to make new friends and for a while all she had to lean on were her siblings.  But she never speaks ill of her family's mission. Ever.  She only ever has wonderful things to say about her family's time there.  About how it was the best time of their lives and how she is so grateful for those three years there.
Bonnie Pinegar- My grandma.  She has now served many missions with my grandpa.  She follows him wherever the Lord calls them.  I know that my grandpa couldn't have accepted some of the calls he has been able to without a wife by his side like my grandma.  They are a wonderful couple who support each other and tirelessly accept call after call from the church to serve his children.  From Virginia to Japan to other parts of Asia to the Southwest US to Utah to everywhere else in between.  My grandma has been a wonderful example of how strong and beautiful a woman of God can be.
Susan Pinegar- My aunt. She and my Uncle Kevin recently got home from Seattle as mission president and wife. They moved their children there and served for three years.  I don't think people realize the sacrifices a family makes when they accept a call like that.  I know I didn't see every sacrifice they made, but I was humbled by the ones that I did see.  And Susan loved it.  She was a mother-away-from-home to those missionaries they had stewardship over.  When she got back she talked about them like they were her own kids.  And I know that she gained a broader love for God and his children through her service.
Whitney Morris- My recently-returned friend.  Whitney is such a fun and bubbly and talented friend.  She didn't have to serve.  She had things that she was in the middle of when she left.  But, living with her before she left, I know that she was close to the spirit and followed the prompting when she received it.  I know from her letters and her spirit that she loved her mission very much.  She had an optimistic attitude the whole time and made the most of every moment she had there.
Kiera George- When I first met Kiera, we were in China.  Our group of 44 people went around and did brief introductions of ourselves.  Kiera introduced herself and she seemed pretty cool and then she mentioned that she had served a mission.  I was nineteen at the time and knew that my chance to serve would be coming up soon.  When she mentioned that she served in Canada, I had the funniest thought go through my head: "I need to be her friend.  I'm probably not cool enough to be her friend, but I have to try."  HAha.  Looking back, it's funny to think that I had a thought like that.  But I know that at least that first part was inspired.  I've gained so much from being Kiera's friend.  She's been a great example to me and I'm so thankful for her.  I've wanted to push forward and keep trying to get out on a mission because of her.  Being able to sit and talk with her about her mission and see how much she loved it has been inspirational for me.
Lauren Pieper-  When I got home from China I was twenty and ready to start preparing for my mission.  Lauren and I are only a week and a half apart in age and she wanted to serve a mission, too.  So, we started preparing.  We signed up for a mission prep class, we started going to the temple and MTC's TRC weekly (and sometimes multiple-times-a-weekly).  We read Preach My Gospel and the scriptures and were basically companions for six months before we turned 21.  It was one of the funnest and most spiritual times of my life pretending like Lauren and I were missionary-companions-in-training.  The way things worked out, Lauren got the ok to go on her mission and I was told by some doctors that I needed to wait a little while.  Lauren being out there for those 18 months helped my spirits so much.  She loved her mission and served the Lord with all her heart.  She looks back and doesn't remember anything bad about it at all.  She talks about her mission like it was one HUGE blessing.  She's also been a wonderful support to me this last year as I've started preparing again to go back out on my mission.  I've been so grateful for her telling me how much I'll love it and how I will be able to do the things that are asked of me.  She and Kiera both have calmed many of my worries of inadequacy and unpreparedness.  They're like my cheering squad and I've appreciated that tremendously.

So, on this Tenth day of Christmas, I'm truly grateful for:

Ten Sister Missionary Examples,

Nine Months in China and Nine Chinese Friends,

Eight Aunts, Eight Uncles, their Kids and their Kids' Kids,

Seven Pets, Past and Present,

Six Grandparents,

Five Nieces and Nephews,

Four Middle School Friends, Four High School Friends and Four China Friends,

Three Brothers, Three Sisters and Three Siblings-in-Law,

Two Loving Parents


One Promised King. Savior of the World.

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