Formerly "Neil Stone Updates"

Monday, July 23, 2012

Notes From Neil

Photo by Amy Pond

If you're familiar with the way a Mormon mission works, you understand that communication is limited between a missionary and his or her family.  Email is allowed once a week, and that is only supposed to be with immediate family, but letters can be from any one.  The only phone calls permitted are one hour to family on Mother's Day and Christmas.  It seems harsh, I know, but it's amazing how these young Elders and Sisters can lose themselves in the service of God when they don't have distractions from home.

We're trying to get this email thing figured out so that we write a note on Friday night and Neil can read it on Saturday (his preparation day) and respond to our questions.  Sometimes his responses lead to more questions we'd like to ask right away, so we came up with a plan for this past weekend's mail. I waited at my computer all day Saturday until he wrote so that I could write back immediately and maybe get more than one email exchange in during his allotted computer time.  After we had had a couple of delays and crossed messages, Neil finally wrote this in part:

i just realized, we probably shouldn't. It'll make my being away harder for you, and being away from home harder for me. This is why we can only email once a week and talk on the phone only on mothers day and Christmas. ... I should turn my heart over to the lord, not only half or 99%. ... Sorry, but you shouldn't get your hopes up and have full conversations, it's not good for you emotionally to talk every single day, or put hopes in being able to do something like this. I want to be the best missionary I can be. Sorry,
Neil. I hope you understand?

I understand and I love him for it!

Let me tell you what I know about how he's doing:

He just finished his training on Friday.  He loved the experience of learning about genealogical research by doing some for his own family tree.  He sent home some great information for our files.  He told us that his trainer was "AWESOME!"

He's enjoying his roommates/companions.  There are four of them in his apartment.  He's getting a chance to work out almost every morning before work to stay in shape.  His first week of shopping he almost ran out of food, so he's learning to plan his meals better and buy enough to last all week.

Now that his training is done, he was assigned his first job or "zone" as they call it.  He will be working in Church History Collections starting today.  When he wrote on Saturday he didn't yet know what that entails, so we can't wait until this weekend to find out how the week went.

He's keeping his fun sense of humor and his letters are happy and upbeat.

Now let me tell you how I'm doing:

It's hard and I miss him!

But I'll be okay.  He's in the best possible place. He has a chance to be independent in a safe environment.  His faith is growing and he's developing a relationship with the Lord that can only come from turning his life over to God.  We are all being blessed.


Quincy Sorensen said...

I am so proud of Neil, and he doesn't even know me! I love to read updates about your lives and find inspiration as I read about the real successes and struggles you have encountered. I hope many, many blessings continue to come your family's way!
Quincy Sorensen (my sister Jeannie is Meredith Simpson's sister-in-law)

Aunt Jenni said...

Good for Neil! We're all proud of him and know that his choice to be a missionary will bless our whole family. I appreciate his example for the future missionaries in my household.

BaileyZimmerman said...

Lori....what exciting news....such wonderful leaps of faith!!
You have all worked so hard for this joy!!!
Peace to all of you!!
Linda & Paul Z