Sunday, September 29, 2013

Christmas Letter from President Mecham

Dear Parents:
It is time to think Christmas already!  Christmas zone conferences are scheduled for December 17 (Billings) and December 19 (Helena).  In our SURPRISE care package we are making for the missionaries, we would like to include the following.  If you are sending both the letter and photo by mail, send them in separate envelopes so that I won’t disturb your private letter by searching for the photo.  Our zone conference will be centered on Christ; your testimony of Christ would be a great addition to the letter.  We want every missionary to have at least one letter from home.   Help us save time in repeated communications by following the directions completely.
 DEADLINE OCTOBER 31-HALLOWEEN. With 230 plus missionaries these packages and DVD will take some time to create and assemble.   WHEW!!
1.       Letter (no packages for this purpose) from parents and other family members you invite to participate.  These can be individual letters or a combined letter.  I can assure you from last year’s experiences, these are treasured gifts!  Address the letter as indicated below so that we can properly intercept them and save for their package, otherwise they might accidently get forwarded to the missionary. Keep the letters to the size that could fit in a large lunch sack.

Sister Mecham/Missionaries Full Name
December Zone Conference-Indicate “Letter” or “Photo” (Separate mailings for those)
1848 Rimrock Rd
Billings, MT  59102

2.       Photo of your missionary individually or together with family members in a Christmas setting or winter activity of any year of your choosing.  Provide the year. Last year they all loved the younger photos.   Make sure that at least the missionary can be well identified (such as no back to the camera or face hidden  by object or person).  In a group photo, describe which one is the missionary. We will be making a DVD with these photos to present at the zone conference.
Best Option:  Scan and email a .jpg version (not PDF) of the photo to:, put Christmas Photo in the attention line. Provide date.  In a group photo, describe which one is the missionary.
Mail Option:  Send original photo that we can scan and return or give to the missionary.  Indicate your preference.
3.        When is the DEADLINE? OCTOBER 31-HALLOWEEN
4.        What if I sent a photo last year?  We will use the same one, or you can send a different one. Let me know your preference.
5.       What if my missionary is coming home before December 17?  Participation not necessary.
6.       What if my missionary is a visa waiter?  Send the material and if they are still here we will use it or return it.

 About 10% of our missionaries have received their flu shot at this point.  October 15 is the deadline.  Support us in this cause.  We had so many sick missionaries last year that prohibited them from working up to weeks at a time.    We are keeping a log of those that have received the vaccination.
Much of our training consistently stresses how important the companionship of the Holy Ghost is for our missionaries to be effective in their work.  Training sessions have been centered on the dignity and decorum of their example; obedience to the missionary schedule;  proper language and attire (especially on preparation days); proper media and music;   and cleaning, caring and respecting property that has been provided for them through parent donations (in the case of the bikes), sacred tithing funds (cars, DVD players) and the generosity of members hosting missionaries in their homes.    The missionaries themselves have been teachers in these sessions.  The principles regarding these areas are clearly defined in the Missionary Handbook.
Despite this consistent training, there are some things that continue to be a distraction and concern—mostly related to their use of the internet, media and music.   In our recent mission leadership council which involves the mission president, his wife, the assistants, zone leaders, and sister training leaders, we came to a unanimous decision to create a list of approved music , (the Law of Moses, so to speak) since several missionaries struggle with making appropriate choices. 
Please review the attached document, and encourage your missionaries to remove inappropriate distractions and focus on obtaining the spirit full time. Consider those things that you send to the missionaries in their packages that can distract from the spirit of missionary work.  Consider providing them access to excessive additional funds that gives them the capacity to purchase distractions.
The council also unanimously voted that missionaries remove all weight benches from their living quarters and eliminate commercial work out videos.  While we recognize and emphasize that exercise is an important element in maintaining weight and reducing stress, excessive focus on workouts involving these mediums are not needed during their mission.
We love our missionaries and know their lives will be richly blessed by making this sacrifice during the time they have devoted to serving the Lord.  We have faith that miracles will happen in this mission through our concerted effort to be more obedient and covenant keeping.
President & Sister Mecham

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