My Son’s Mission Details

March 21, 2009
By

My son received a large white envelope from SLC yesterday, and he had to wait four hours to open it, so that his mother and siblings could get home.  We then rushed to a ward party, where, obviously, his call was the main topic of conversation – since his brother and sisters had immediately published the info on Facebook, and his parents had done the same on their personal blogs.

The details are as follows:

He reports to the MTC on June 24th for three weeks, after which he will travel to the Washington, Everett Mission for the remainder of his two years.  His exact reaction was, “WOOHOO!!  English-speaking!”  His sisters’ reactions were unanimously, “How close is that to Forks?”  (about 3 1/2 hours – Anyone understand that question?)

I just wanted to let everyone know.  Reactions?  Any new advice, based on where he will be serving?

NOTE: Obviously, the same rule applies to this post as the last one.  Don’t try to sneak in an anti-Mormon message, or be obvious about it. :)

25 Responses to My Son’s Mission Details

  1. Blain
    March 21, 2009 at 1:08 am

    It’s a great mission. I live there. The mission president is a good guy who’s cleaning up a substantial made by his predecessor. His parents are serving in my ward, and they are great people. I attend several wards in that mission, primarily in Ferndale and Arlington.

    He should know that it rains here a lot in the Fall-through-Spring, but Summers can be relatively warm and not rainy (it’s a wet heat). He’s going to want a long coat for the wet season, and will probably need a bike. There is a substantial population that does not speak English, but does speak Spanish, or Russian, or Ukrainian, and not a few that speak Punjabi and Hindi, so if he has background in those languages, he will have service opportunities that could help open doors.

    He is welcome to contact me now, or when he gets here, or both.

  2. robert
    March 21, 2009 at 6:01 am

    I live there as well. It is very white.

  3. Mormon Heretic
    March 21, 2009 at 7:54 am

    Congratulations. Don’t be too surprised when companions are as “gung ho” as you expect.

  4. Last Lemming
    March 21, 2009 at 8:03 am

    who’s cleaning up a substantial [mess] made by his predecessor.

    My nephew, Elder Mikkelson, just arrived in that mission. We’ve heard a little about the [implied] mess that is being cleaned up.

  5. CarlosJC
    March 21, 2009 at 8:13 am

    “We’ve heard a little about the [implied] mess that is being cleaned up.”

    Please do tell more, I love these mission stuff ups stories!

    Oh, congrats for Ray’s son and family… :)

  6. Last Lemming
    March 21, 2009 at 8:16 am

    Sorry. I got interrupted.

    Anyway, the existence of a known and presumably well-defined mess presents an excellent learning opportunity. Missionaries tend to think they are invulnerable. This will provide proof that they are not, which might instill some humility–sorely lacking in so many in my own mission–to your son, my nephew, and those they work with. Let them learn the history so they don’t repeat it.

  7. Ray
    March 21, 2009 at 10:09 am

    The Bloggernacle really shrinks the world. My son already has names and contact info for two missionaries who are or will be in his mission, as well as contact info for at least three local priesthood leaders who live in that mission. More than anything else, that has been interesting to watch unfold.

    When I told him some of the comments that have come from people who either live in the mission or know people who live there, he laughed and said:

    “Whenever I introduce myself in a new area, I’ll have to make sure I tell everyone who blogs that I am “Ray’s son” and “Papa D’s son” (from my personal blog).”

  8. J.Ro
    March 21, 2009 at 11:45 am

    Re: “How close is that to Forks?” (about 3 1/2 hours – Anyone understand that question?)

    Forks, WA is where Twilight is set. The prospect of being a missionary teaching vampires is kind of crazy to think about.

  9. Jana
    March 21, 2009 at 1:21 pm

    Congratulations! Sadly, Everett is too far north for it to be a possibility he’ll teach my perpetually-ivestigating husband here in the Seattle, Washington mission (we’re on our 4th set of missionaries, happily so). I have no advice to offer save he have a good quality raincoat and top-quality shoes for our long rainy season. The missionaries that teach my husband tend to wear light coats and sweaters under their suit jackets, so they can lose the overcoat. Wish I had more to offer, but if I remember, I’ll ask the elders tomorrow if they have any other Washington-specific advice to share!

  10. Ray
    March 21, 2009 at 1:35 pm

    Jana, would your husband be willing to be a “practice investigator” for the missionaries – someone who would listen to them and “role play” the various questions and objections they might encounter at times when they had no one to teach and needed to stay current in their teaching? If the pressure of accepting and converting was removed, and if he was able to relax and consider how others might view the message, it might sink in eventually on an individual level. That worked for a couple we knew in the Boston area years ago, although it took 30 years and supporting 4 children on missions for the Catholic husband to ask to be baptized. By then, he knew the Gospel better than the Bishop; he just had to learn more about the practical Church. After about two years, he was called as the High Priests Group Leader.

  11. March 21, 2009 at 1:57 pm

    EDITED BY POST AUTHOR TO DELETE BLATANT ANTI-MORMON COMMENT IN TOTAL DISREGARD OF THE REQUEST IN THE POST ITSELF

  12. March 21, 2009 at 2:24 pm

    Andrew Price, that was just tacky. I have no agenda whatsoever to defend anything here, but where is your sense of scholarship, taste and deportment? And where is your spell checker?

  13. jks
    March 21, 2009 at 2:34 pm

    I’m just south of that mission. I’ve lived here 10 years. I think it is a wonderful place to live. It is quite gray and dark, so winter does get to some people, but the upside is that weather is mild so you have some really nice days even during the winter/spring/fall. My kids go to school with a sweatshirt, not a coat. The summers are really nice and my raised-in-Seattle children think the sun is too bright when it comes out.
    Politically, people are very liberal. Our largest minority here is Asians, with many of my children’s classmates having foreign born/speaking parents, but the kids come to kindergarten speaking English just like other Americans.

  14. March 21, 2009 at 3:26 pm

    SAME BLATANT ANTI-MORMON, NAME-CALLING CONTENT HAS BEEN DELETED

  15. deb
    March 21, 2009 at 3:50 pm

    The (lack of) sunshine can be a real issue for many people! Seattlites buy more sunglasses than anywhere else in America. The and after days or weeks or longer of lowering grey clouds, the sunshine when it does work feels like walking out of a cave, and new sunglasses are a real need!
    I live in Mount Vernon Stake (google images: skagit tulips). Our demographic is fewer Asians, lots of South and Central American transplants, and many Ukrainians, plus the 60% White Folk. I think my kids went to school with 4 blacks.
    And while I do not hold the priesthood, tell your son I’ll be looking out for him. I’m Primary pres,and love to include missionaries as visual aids. Our ward often has 6-14 investigators, many children, so I figure they owe me.

  16. March 21, 2009 at 3:56 pm

    ONE MORE RABIDLY ANTI-MORMON COMMENT IN DIRECT VIOLATION OF MY REQUEST IN THE POST

  17. Ray
    March 21, 2009 at 4:36 pm

    Andrew, please read the actual post and the ONLY condition I put on participation. I have left your name in each comment and deleted the content, specifically to reiterate what I asked in the post itself. Have at it elsewhere; be respectful of my wishes on this thread.

  18. Ray
    March 21, 2009 at 4:51 pm

    Btw, when I explained Andrew’s comments to my son, he laughed (loud laughter, actually) and said, essentially:

    It’s not like I’m being plucked straight out of high school and forced to enlist. I’ve had two years of college at a school in the East where almost every other student raised “Mormon” is gay and/or non-practicing. I’m friends with all of them, including Honor Society leaders. It’s like a frat with standards – and, yes, I’m aware of how odd that would sound to members who think homosexuals have no standards. I’ve also been out of school working and preparing for another year.

    He’s nearly twenty-one, and this was his choice after three years away from home. That’s just another reason for me to enforce my request in the post.

  19. RyanF
    March 21, 2009 at 8:30 pm

    My brother has been in the Everett mission since just before Christmas. He loves it so far, being from Arizona the snow was a great experience for him. His name is Elder Farnsworth. He has had problems with companions (one got sent home), he’s already had two emergency transfers, I think once because of his companion and once from the missionaries in the area he went into. Also, and this kind of irks my whole family: the mission president does not allow the use of email and whoever is in the office seems especially bad at forwarding it to the missionary apartments.

  20. Ray
    March 21, 2009 at 9:39 pm

    Ryan, I am getting the impression that the ban on e-mail is a direct result of problems with the way some missionaries abused the privilege. My son (Ryan, btw) knows about it, since it was included in the letter of instructions he received.

  21. Jana
    March 22, 2009 at 8:46 am

    Ray, I bet my husband would be a great candidate for the kind of thing that you describe!

  22. Latter-day Guy
    March 23, 2009 at 10:37 pm

    Hey, Ray, tell your son to introduce himself to Nick in the MTC mailroom; I’d love to meet the son of someone whose posts and comments I have always enjoyed in the ‘Nacle.

  23. Blain
    March 24, 2009 at 11:24 pm

    4 — The problems had to do with a pushy MP who was all about baptisms, and was willing to allow/encourage some inappropriate tactics to encourage baptisms. Our ward (I was a ward missionary during this time) had more than 30 adult convert baptisms within a year, none of whom have attended four consecutive weeks in the past year, and only a handful of whom have been in the building in the past year.

    I’m aware of a situation that I know the MP was aware of (because I was in the room with the person he interviewed when he entered it for the interview) who was drunk (by her own admission) when she interviewed with him, and he agreed that she could be baptized two weeks later. She woke up that morning with the man she’d been living with for years, was married to him by the bishop, and, as soon as the wedding service was over, we began the baptismal service. I think she attended meetings about four times after that, and quit coming after the bishop expected her to keep her agreements with him if he was to continue using Church Welfare to support her family. I have heard that elders were allowed/encouraged to use the Church Welfare system to sell baptism. That would explain a significant portion of our 30 baptisms, and what happened after them.

    His name was invoked in trying to justify badgering an inactive mother who was raised in the Church to allow her totally unprepared 15 year-old daughter to be baptized against her better judgment. This was shut down by the girl’s still-active grandfather, and, during a ward mission meeting, I verbally shut down a very pushy little elder who thought this was just terrible, and who claimed that President was opposed to it as well (I reminded him that the grandfather’s patriarchal stewardship was superior to even the President on this question, and that this pushy young elder was in no position to second-guess it).

    One (now third-hand) quote from that mission president that struck me, if I can remember it accurately, was “Someone else’s agency is not an acceptable excuse for your own failure.” Should he be called to be a GA (which seems likely) I will be raising my hand in opposition to that. If it weren’t for John’s story of his mission experience, I wouldn’t have been prepared to deal with this experience — it was challenging.

    The new Mission President visited every stake in the mission and asked every local leader what they wanted from him, and has responded to what they said. His father and step-mother are quite good people (she’s amazing, actually, and he’s pretty cool himself). I thought well of the former Mission President’s father as well, although I never met him. But I haven’t seen anywhere near the problems from the new guy that I did the old guy, and my Ward Mission Leader friend confirms that things are much smoother than they were under the previous guy.

    Ray — My WML friend also suggests he brings something waterproof to wear during the rainy season. I’d suggest he be ready to take “no” for an answer. It sounds like he’s not dumb, and that’s a good thing, so that probably doesn’t need to be said, but, well, it needs to be said.

    Deb — We probably know some of the same people. I’ve got Mormons in Mount Vernon and Sedro, and I’ve worked for Secret Harbor for a long time, so I’ve got other folks all over Skagit.

  24. Cicero
    March 27, 2009 at 6:22 pm

    Heh… that’s home.

    Only Washington specific advice I can give is:

    1: Yes, it rains- a lot. Be prepared.
    2: While several people have commented on the “liberal” nature of Washington, the Everett mission does not contain Seattle. The Everett mission are is more old school blue collar liberal, rather than the newer white collar liberal that is commonly thought of. Lots of Boeing workers.
    3: Washingtonians are polite, but rather reserved. They are even more reserved about religious beliefs. (Unless they are one of the types who can’t stop talking about it- but you find those everywhere). For a long time Washington was the least church going state in the country (Vermont recently passed us). However, you shouldn’t mistake this lack of church going for a lack of spirituality. Washingtonians particularly enjoy nature and their own personal pursuit of God. God the Creator has a more powerful hold on the imagination up here then some of His other hats. Also, the story of Joseph Smith can be very effective- if it is presented correctly. A Washingtonian is more likely to be receptive to the message of a young Joseph Smith who wants to learn the truth for himself instead of from a preacher. A man who went to the woods to talk with God instead of a church. Followed by a challenge to find the Truth themselves the same way- by asking God directly- that tends to be more effective at getting around some of the barriers.

    Of course that’s just a tendency, as there are a diverse number of people here, just as there are everywhere in the US.

    PS: You might want to brush up on your God Makers info, as this is Ed Deckers home ground. (I still remember coming out from meetings to find his literature plastered over all the cars in the lot.)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *