Today is a big day for Morgan as she heads to the Philippines. Since she may not have a p-day for a while, here is some information about Morgans mission:
The MTC helps them make the transition from being college kids with little more than themselves to worry about to individuals who can represent the church with a spiritual message in an area that is far from home and the comforts they are used to. The mission rules are strict. The idea is that these “kids” leave their lives completely behind them to focus on serving God and others. While they are on missions looking to help convert others, they also go through a conversion process themselves. They leave behind their families, friends, books and their music (unless it is worshipful and uplifting) even their “names”. Morgan will wear a name tag for 18 months identifying herself as Sister Waldrom. She will be with a companion 24/7. They wear conservative skirts and dresses 6 days a week. On the seventh day, called p-day or preparation day, they can wear normal clothes. This is when they do all of their errands; buy groceries, do laundry, send and receive email, write letters, go to the post office, etc. They are allowed to call home twice a year (Christmas and Mother’s Day ☺).
After the MTC the missionaries go to the area they were called to serve in. Parents entrust their kids to a Mission President and his wife who oversee them. The MP and his wife arrange airport transfers and help the incoming missionaries get settled. They meet with the missionaries throughout their terms of service, and encourage, counsel and help with health or other issues that need to be resolved. A mission might have about 200 missionaries, so the MP and his wife keep very busy. The missionaries check in nightly with a zone leader (a more experienced missionary) who reports to the MP. The MP is also responsible for assigning each missionary a companion and sending them to the area where they will serve until they are switched. This switch is called a transfer.
A typical day starts at 6:30 am with prayer, exercise, showers and breakfast, followed by personal scripture and language study. After this they pray together and plan their day around any appointments they may have with people they are working with. By 10:30am they are out the door. Some days they knock on doors offering to tell people about our beliefs, or they may just talk to people in the street. On other days they might do service projects or teach people English. They are usually back in their apartments by 8 pm when they check in, have dinner, do some more language study and get ready to start again the next day - lights out at 10:30pm.
This is voluntary service. Besides religious benefits there are others too. Although it seems like she has put his education on hold, she’s learning a new language, and she’s in an accelerated course about life. All this human interaction is teaching her empathy, tolerance, awareness, dependability, communication skills and insights on human nature and relationships. It is even teaching how to deal with rejection and developing her sense of humor (which she has always said is “underappreciated”). These are skills that will prepare her to be a better employee, wife, mother and for a lifetime of serving others.
Yes we miss her. We miss her a lot, but we are also grateful that she has chosen this path.