If I didn’t have the worst singing voice known to mankind, and I was talented enough to earn a spot with the Tabernacle Choir, I would sing with all my heart at the Presidential Inauguration. Here’s why.
The Mormon Tabernacle Choir is America’s choir. Of course they should sing at the Presidential Inauguration. They are not necessarily singing for Donald Trump. They are singing for America. But even if they were singing for Donald Trump… would it be so much worse than so many of the other immoral men that have graced that presidency and defiled that White House with their immoral actions, extra-marital affairs, and perpetual dishonesty?
Look… I’ll be honest. I didn’t vote for Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, or anyone else on my ballot when it came to president for that matter. I loathed… no, I gagged on both choices. I did vote… but when it came to voting for President, I was completely paralyzed while standing at the booth. Judge me if you will… but I couldn’t bring myself to throw my support behind any candidate. I did not view either of them as leaders I would want to follow. I pride myself on choosing good leaders to follow… and so I withheld my vote on principle alone. Many people would argue that was stupid, and that I could have at least voted for the lesser of two evils. Maybe they’re right, but I made a personal political decision to stay neutral.
That was politics… but when it comes to being a missionary, or as Christ said, “letting your light so shine” before mankind… we are required to be “no respecter of persons” as the scripture states. I may not vote Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton for president, but I would still knock on their door, Book of Mormon in hand, smile on my face, light of Christ in my heart… and love for whoever decided to open that front door. I would mow their lawn, paint their fence, help them move furniture, feed their horses or sing at their inauguration any day of the week if it meant that I could in some way bring the Spirit of the Lord into their lives.
This list is by no means comprehensive and doesn’t mean that there are unsanitary conditions even in some of the mission apartments in Provo, Utah. Ahem…P-day cleaning! However, we wanted to come up with a list to help missionaries who are preparing to serve in some of the least sanitary countries so that they can know what to look out for and how they might avoid getting sick.
If an elder shakes hands with 20 people per day (on average) and has a 23 months in the mission field (after their time in the MTC), they have shaken hands with 13,800 people by the time their mission ends. For sisters thats 10,200! That’s a lot of hands! We don’t want to make moms nervous or anyone nervous for that matter, but there are things you can do to make sure you are keeping yourself healthy during your mission. But first, here are the missions in the countries with the least overall sanitation:
The Least Sanitary Mission Countries
Brazil (There are 34 Missions)
I listed Brazil as #1 because not because there are 39 million people without proper sanitation, but because there are 34 missions. That’s more missions than any other country other than the US (124 missions) and Mexico (tied at 34), but both the US and Mexico have much better sanitation than Brazil.
India Banaglore and India New Delhi Missions
818 million people in India don’t have access to a toilet connected to a septic tank. That’s a lot of squatters. Toilet paper? I don’t think so. And without a toilet are there places to wash hands?
The 6 Nigerian missions (Benin City, Calabar, Enugu, Lagos, Owerri and Port Harcourt)
103 million people in Nigeria don’t have access to proper sanitation
Indonesia Jakarta Mission
109 million people lack access to sanitation in Indonesia
Vietnam Hanoi Mission
22 Million don’t have access to proper sanitation in Vietnam
All the Philippines Missions (There are 21)
22 Million don’t have access to proper sanitation in the Philippines
Democratic Republic of Congo (3 Missions)
50 Million don’t have access to proper sanitation in DR Congo
Ghana (4 Missions)
20 million in Ghana don’t have access to proper sanitation
Kenya Nairobi Mission
27 Million in Kenya don’t have access to proper sanitation
This information came from takepart.com (see the infographic at the bottom of the article).
What can you do to stay healthy in these missions?
PureBioGuard is the best hand sanitizer we have found. In countries where running water is not clean or is not available, hand sanitizer is absolutely key. PureBioGuard is way inexpensive and one pack can last an entire mission (per missionary). You can read more about it here. With just one use, it is engineered to keep your hands clean all day long no matter how many hands you shake and even if you wash your hands. PureBioGuard is alcohol-free, Triclosan-free, non-toxic, and completely safe for kids, pets, and the environment. It will last 12+ hours and has been proven to maintain effectiveness through up to 10 hand-washings! It will then shed naturally as the skin regenerates a new layer. This brand is actually used by many missions around the world already who buy it in bulk (but is not officially endorsed by the Church).
Just say NO to meals that are not sanitary.
Be kind to members who cook, but if it comes down to it, it really is okay to say no to a meal that you know was not prepared with properly sanitized hands or in a sanitized home. This can be very difficult because you don’t want to offend the members or investigators. However, remember that over 10,000 hours of proselyting time were lost in just 4 months (according to one study from the BYU department of health sciences) because of illness/injury. Prayer does work, but God expects us to be as wise as serpents so we shouldn’t eat food that we know is not clean.
Keep YOUR apartment clean.
Even in these countries, mission presidents do all they can to find apartments that are in good places and that have access to sanitation. Take advantage of that! You don’t have to live like the people to come to love the people. Yes, the Lord will bless you, but you need to do all you can to be part of the answer to your parents’ prayers to keep you safe and healthy. Do your laundry, shower, keep the mission rules about hygiene.
Obedience. Yes. It works. If you take the time to exercise each day, your immune system will be much more prepared to fight off anything you do pick up while shaking hands or using a random bathroom while in a pinch in your area.
Yes, please keep asking for help to stay healthy and strong. You are being prayed for in every temple around the world. You are being prayed for in your family’s and friend’s and ward’s prayers. Add your prayers to theirs.
Elders and sisters, please, be wise. The Lord needs you to be healthy and strong and you can do your part by staying clean. We hope this helped you.
On the peaceful side of Oahu, in a place not very populated, are three Church-owned entities—the Laie Temple, BYU-Hawaii, and the Polynesian Cultural Center that together are acting as a quietly powerful gateway to missionary work in Polynesia and Asia.
Not very many people realize what is happening for it is a movement beneath most of our radars, but the Laie Temple Visitors’ Center is the second busiest LDS visitors’ center in the world and much of the strength of the Church in Polynesia comes through Laie.
Why Laie? It is not entirely clear, but like so many things the Lord does, it has been in the works for a long time. In fact, in 1865, Elder William W. Cluff was walking along the beach early one morning in Laie when Brigham Young appeared to him in a vision and said, “This is the place, and upon this land we will build a temple unto our God.”
To understand how unusual this is—Brigham Young was still living. At that time the Church had no temples beyond the one that had been abandoned in Nauvoo. St. George, the first temple completed in Utah, wouldn’t be announced until six years later in 1871. Hawaii was just a set of tiny islands in the most remote place in the Pacific.
Every American remembers exactly where they were on September 11, 2001. Some were in school. Some were at work. Some were driving. And some were on full-time missions for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Very few of those missionaries were serving in New York City and this missionary and his companion were serving in the area where the twin towers fell. The following is the never-been-published, firsthand account of the missionary in this historic and haunting photo: Elder Joseph Seymour. 15 years later, he gave us permission to publish this image and his personal account.
It’s hard to believe it has been 15 years since 9/11. The experience Elder Fillmore and I had taught me lessons that have blessed me ever since. Our day started like any other at the time, getting ready and leaving early to go so service at Ellis Island. On the subway trip to the south of Manhattan we were alerted to “police action” at the World Trade Center and that we would be skipping that stop. Which was answered by loud groans of those who were inconvenienced by the change in plans (little did they know).
We arrived at the south of Manhattan to find both World Trade Center towers engulfed in flames. Obviously the result of a terrorist attack. We soon found out the weapon of choice were airliners used to crash into the towers. The plans for our day changed as we learned that all subway trains and busses stopped running, leaving us stranded. We met a member of the church who offered to take us to his apartment that was close by until we figured out our next step. We naively followed him closer and closer to the towers, the smoke pouring from each building growing larger and larger.At the apartment building we were prevented from going past the lobby due to the danger, being only three blocks away. As we waited an enormous rumbling shook the ground like a lightning fast earthquake. The building began filling with dust, the first tower had fallen just a stone’s throw away from us. As we left the building to be enveloped in the dust cloud there was panic in the street, but Elder Fillmore and I were as calm as a lake on a clear day. We knew we were on the Lord’s errand and had his protection.
We flowed into the human mass migrating south, away from the source of the choking dust. Arriving soon at the unyielding ocean, blocking any further escape. As we waited and the dust slowly cleared we watched as the second tower fell and a second dust cloud flowed out to envelop the crowd again. We met a new member of the church who decided the safest place would be wherever the missionsaries were, so we added a third companion for the rest of the day.
We were evacuated across the river to New Jersey and spent the rest of the day trying to contact our mission president and then figure out a way to get back home. At each step of the way we were remarkably calm and knew that everything would work out, which it did. We helped our new member friend get to an essential doctor’s appointment the next morning that they probably would not have made if not for our intervention.
I learned the Lord looks after his servants, both in times of duress as well as in times of ease. I’ve been able to rely on this lesson again and again in life, knowing that if I follow the Lord everything else will work out, just as it did on that fateful day 15 years ago.
As I contemplated serving a mission, I made a mental list of all the fears that could possibly plight me and my fears nearly buried my desire to serve. The list included having to be with another sister 24/7, never having alone time, never taking a nap, and finding myself stuck in a place or situation that made me sad. I had this strange vision and expectation of tear-stained pillows and prayers every day—the picture of hardship. What I didn’t expect was how much joy I would find in the midst of great challenge.
My Mission President once said about missions, “If it is not trying, it is not complete.” That one line got me through my initial fears and helped me overcome the number one fear we all have—rejection.
Rejection is one thing you can absolutely count on when you serve a mission. But the secret is that rejection is not a bad thing, it’s just part of the experience that actually ends up blessing you in numerous ways. Here are some ways you can turn rejection into refinement:
1.Say a prayer with your companion for the person that rejected you. The natural man’s reaction to rejection is to get angry or annoyed at someone who has just treated you rudely, but pausing to pray for that person is a reminder that they are not just an obstacle disguised as an investigator but they are a child of God and they are loved, no matter how rudely they turned you and your message away. “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you,” (Matthew 5:44).
2.Take a moment to invite the Spirit again. Christ said, “he that hath the spirit of contention is not of me,” (3 Nephi 11:29). Contention puts a pit in your stomach that makes it hard to teach any other person with the Spirit. It’s ok to take a moment of silence to read a few verses of the scriptures, pray, or share thoughts with your companion. Sticking to a schedule is important, but having the Spirit is more important than anything else.
Upon returning from two years of missionary service in Chile for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Stanford football player Dallas Lloyd began to wonder if his mission was a setback for his football career. A quarterback, Lloyd watched from the sidelines during the 2012 season and struggled in limited playing time during his sophomore season.
“It was really frustrating,” Lloyd, a Pleasant Grove native, said in an article published by The Stanford Daily. “I was upset at myself and I let these thoughts of doubt come into my mind, like, ‘If I (hadn’t) gone on a mission, then I would have been able to come straight to Stanford.’ … I realized they were all just excuses. They were justifying the fact that I wasn’t getting it done.
“It’s really sad that those two years, the best two years of my life, became an excuse for why I was so frustrated. Looking back, it had nothing to do with those two years. I was a better person and football player because of those two years.”
A man had an incredible vision of the world while hiking in Russia. In his vision he saw white men with nametags and blue books. After the vision he searched online to try to discover who were the white men with nametags. After a while of searching the man came across Mormon.org and referred himself to the missionaries.
Such a cool story! God is a God of miracles and can be in our lives, if we let Him. Enjoy the video!
The top ten mistakes that will ruin an LDS mission. That’s what one psychologist is putting in print after helping hundreds of missionaries deal with mental challenges while serving.
Dr. Gary Taylor, who spent 40 years in practice as a psychologist, and recently served two LDS missions as an area health advisor, says missionaries all respond differently to what he calls the three “Rs” they will face. Those are: Routine, Rejection, and Restriction. That’s why Taylor says future missionaries need to prepare not only physically and spiritually, but mentally.
“Missionaries typically really do come home with stories of changed lives and wonderful experiences. But all of that good stuff often comes at the expense of daily routine,” said Taylor to 2News. “So it’s a high-stress environment within a high-stress world.” . . .
From his years of counseling and experience in the mission field, Taylor is writing his sixth book. This one is geared towards young LDS men and women who are preparing for missionary service. It’s called, “Serve with all your Heart, Might, Mind, Strength, and Sanity: 10 Mistakes That Will Ruin Your Mission.”