It all started with the directive for all missionaries to self-isolate and stay in their apartments.
Suggested Activities for Missionaries Working from Their Apartments
As representatives of Jesus Christ, missionaries should strive to always focus on their missionary purpose. Even during difficult circumstances, like we are experiencing now with the COVID-19 virus, missionaries should strive to find, teach, and “invite others to come unto Christ” in new and creative ways. This document is intended for mission presidents as they consider the circumstances of their missionaries. Based on missionary needs, mission presidents may select activities from this document to share with missionaries. The intent is to provide ideas that can help missionaries stay purpose centered, safe, and effective. Click on the link below to see how our young missionaries are going to stay busy and focused on their missionary purpose:
And then we received additional information from the Church on our Missionary work. (Take note, we are one of the 6 Missions in the North America Northeast Area that is referenced.):
More Temporary Adjustments Made to Missionary Work
Missionary Work (Updated March 18)
Missionaries will continue to be called to serve and assigned to labor in missions worldwide. Missionary recommendations will continue to be received, and missionary assignments for worldwide service will continue to be made. However, some missionaries may be reassigned, and young men serving in the United States and Canada may conclude their service three months early.
All missionaries scheduled to enter missionary training centers in Provo, Utah, or Preston, England, will be trained remotely by video conference. Missionaries from regions where government officials are restricting activity will also be trained by video conference.
The Church is taking steps to reduce the number of missionaries in areas where coronavirus is of particular concern. These steps give mission presidents more flexibility to ensure missionaries are effective and safe and that there is adequate space to house missionaries if they are moved out of cities where there are greater concerns about infection.
Young missionaries with health issues and senior missionaries may be released from service. These exceptions apply to the following areas:
• 2 missions in the Europe East Area (as of March 18)
• 6 missions in the North America Northeast Area (as of March 16)
• 22 missions in the Europe Area (as of March 12)
And then the dreaded phone call from President Vest: I have just received word that your mission has been cut short - you are to return home as soon as you can - it's okay if it takes a few days, but you should quickly make arrangements to go home. President Vest told us no negotiating, he had already tried to keep us and the church said NO. Below is a copy of the email that our Stake President, Brent Byers received from the church that he forwarded to us:
Here are the referenced Guidelines for Self-Isolation
for Senior Missionaries:
We started packing Wednesday, March 18th, the same day that we got word that we were going home:
One Last Discussion with Chazia:
Chazia, Elders McOmber & Nielsen and Elder & Sister Spear – Teaching on a conference phone call. (Wednesday night before we left on Thursday.)
How did your reading go in the Book of Mormon this week?
I’ve been lazy. I read in the Bible, but not in the Book of Mormon.
What did you read in the Bible?
I read something that stood out in Hebrews Chapter 11:
We can’t trust without faith.
We have to follow the commandments and seek God in faith. God is a God of faith. It’s wonderful.
We want to talk about the Doctrine of Jesus Christ today and it fits in with what you read in the Bible this week. The Doctrine of Jesus Christ consists of:
The Holy Ghost
Enduring to the End
We access the atonement of Jesus Christ by faith.
Let’s read Hebrews 11:1
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things seen.
When I talk to God, I have a feeling – a good feeling. But I also need to have faith.
Faith is a belief and action.
When we have faith, it will lead us to repentance.
DEFINITELY! Not because we are bad; but we need to renew ourselves.
We need to be baptized by one holding the authority or Priesthood of God by immersion.
And then we can receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. Jesus didn’t leave us to be alone, He left us the Holy Ghost.
Baptism is a beginning of a new life, which leads to Eternal Life – where we can live with God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ.
They cut off my sister’s lights & electricity. She’s afraid of the virus – that we are at the end of the world. But I know if I die, I go to Heaven, to our Father’s House.
Let’s read Alma 34:32
For behold, this life is the time for men to prepare to meet God; yea, behold the day of this life is the day for men to perform their labors.
It says this life is the time to prepare to meet God. One of things that we must do to prepare to meet God is to be baptized. Will you be baptized?
YES! I have been expecting that question!
(BIG SMILE on everyone’s faces! I know we were talking on the phone – but take my word for it – there were BIG smiles all around!)
It will make such a difference.
AMEN! Thank you for teaching me and giving me the Book of Mormon. I love you guys…that you came into my life to help me be straight.
There was such an incredible sweet spirit. Chazia closed with a humble prayer. It has been our privilege to be able sit in on her discussions and to be there when she committed to baptism...just totally awesome. What a special end to our mission!
Sadly, we did not get a picture of Kiza and his family. These are the 4 mainstay families of the Swahili Group.
Jack’s Counting Story: Who would you trust?
With kids everywhere home from school because of the coronavirus, I think we are all gaining a new appreciation for teachers.
Our grandkids Jack and Annie had an assignment to count to 200. Annie struggled at first but caught on and could do it.
Jack breezed to 100, no problem at all:
95, 96, 97, 98, 99 – then he got a little confused:
100, 200, 300, 400, 500, 600…
No matter how hard everyone tried to tell him that it should be:
100, 101, 102, 103, 104, 105…
Jack would not believe them.
Finally, Jessy (his mom) asked, Jack WHO WOULD YOU TRUST?
Jack answered: Alexa
So, they asked Alexa to count from 100 to 200.
Alexa counted: 100, 101, 102, 103…Jack said, OK, I get it. And he did!
You just have to ask the right source! He believed Alexa!
With heavy but grateful hearts, our full time mission has come to a conclusion.
We loved our mission. It was hard at times. It was disappointing at times. It was discouraging at times. We were under-appreciated at times. But we wouldn't trade our experiences for anything. Because we learned and grew stronger from these challenges. Yes, old Senior Missionaries still have plenty of room for growth. Our joy far outweighed any negatives. We loved serving the members in Massena and Buffalo. We loved being a part of those who listened and learned and embraced the gospel of Jesus Christ. We loved the missionaries that we served with - these young servants of God are remarkable. They are dedicated. They are so obedient. They are so strong and stalwart. We loved our mission president and his wife, President and Sister Vest. We loved constantly feeling the spirit.
We received so much more than we gave. We are so grateful for the blessings that were poured out upon our family as we served. The Lord has been so mindful of us and our family. We are so grateful to live in a time when the gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored upon the earth. We know that Russell M Nelson is a prophet of God. He has been called in this time and this place to prepare us for the second coming of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. President Nelson is inspired and is a lighthouse on a hill helping us negotiate these challenging times. We invite all to come and listen to our Savior and Hear Him. You will feel peace. You will experience joy. You will feel safe. You will feel loved. Come Follow Him!