Thursday, May 30, 2013

What is a Missionary and what do they do?

It has been a little over a month ago that I finally told everyone...outside of my family that I had turned in my mission papers and was waiting for my call. I was so excited to find out where I was going and what language I would be learning that I couldn't not share it. I posted on Facebook that I was going to Ecuador as a Missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and I was leaving in September! 

Since then I have been able to answer so many questions from people who have questions on what it means to be a missionary. It has been such an opportunity to share why I chosen to do this at this time in my life and it has been a great testimony builder and has shown me how much people are genuinely happy for me. 

This week I wanted to share what a missionary is, what it means to serve a mission, and what a missionary does on a daily basis?

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Missionary Program:

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' missionary program is one 
of its most recognized characteristics. Mormon missionaries can be seen 
on the streets of hundreds of major cities in the world as well as in thousands
of smaller communities.

Nearly 60,000 missionaries are serving missions for The Church of Jesus Christ
of Latter-day Saints at any one time. Most are young people under the age of 25, 
serving in nearly 350 missions throughout the world. By Fall 2013, there is 
estimated to be 85,000+ missionaries reporting for service.

For more details, click here.

What is a missionary?

As a missionary, I will work with a companion of the same gender, and teach the gospel and baptize believers in the name of Jesus Christ. 

How long will I serve a mission?

Young Women are called to serve missions for a period of 18 months. I get to start my mission in September this year!

Do you get to pick where you go on a mission?

Every missionary who is called and assigned or reassigned to a particular mission is called by revelation through the Lord's servants, the prophets. A member of the Quorum of the Twelve assigns prospective missionaries to one of more than three hundred missions of the Church.

Who pays for my mission?

Missionary work is voluntary. Missionaries fund their own missions — except for their transportation to and from their field of labor — and are not paid for their services.  Yes, that is right. I am leaving my job, my career to do something that I will not get paid for monetarily. I will be paid with blessings for both myself and my family. I can't wait!

How do I get to communicate with family and friends while on my mission?

As a missionary I will communicate with family and friends through letters and email on preparation day (this is one day a week that I have time to prepare for the next week by purchasing food, doing laundry, cleaning our living quarters, and emailing home). Typically missionaries are also able to call home on Christmas and one other time during the year (usually Mother's Day).

What does a missionary do on a daily basis?

A missionary's day is filled with activities that help accomplish the missionary purpose of bringing souls to Christ. One way to understand day-to-day missionary activities is to watch The District. These video segments show real missionaries, members, and investigators in non-scripted, unrehearsed, actual missionary situations. 

Here is an example of a typical day:
  • 6:30 am - Wake up, pray, exercise (30 minutes) and prepare for the day.
  • 7:30 am - Eat breakfast.
  • 8:00 am - Personal Study: Read Book of Mormon, other scriptures, missionary lessons, and other chapters from Preach My Gospel.
  • 9:00 am - Companion Study
  • 10:00 am - Language Study
  • 11:00 am - Begin proselyting. Have lunch and dinner.
  • 9:00 pm - Return to living quarters, plan the next day of teaching, write in journal, prepare for bed, pray.
  • 10:30 pm - Go to sleep.

What do you get for going on a mission? BLESSINGS!

Here a blurb about what I mean by getting BLESSINGS for going on a mission. I can't even describe it so I thought I would just grab part of a talk by an Apostle of the Lord, M. Russell Ballard. For this full talk, click here.

"Dedicated missionaries who do their very best learn lessons as important or even more important than anything they can learn in university study. I’ll give you an example. Missionaries learn how to relate to people, how to talk to people, how to help people. Whether they are going to be doctors, lawyers, merchants, or something else, the ability to relate to people can be the difference between being successful or not in that career.
A second great blessing is that missionaries become doctrinally anchored to the reality of the Atonement. There comes to them a love for and devotion to the Lord Jesus Christ that will absolutely bless them and their families in mortality and on into eternity. The most powerful learning experiences we can have are when we teach someone else. And that is what missionaries do. They internalize the doctrine; they internalize the reality of the Atonement. And this will bless them in all future Church assignments.
Another great blessing is that as missionaries reach out to rescue and pull into the light of the gospel families who are wandering in the darkness, they see what they don’t want in their own lives. The experience clarifies for them the values they want to live by, the kind of family they want, the way they want to teach their children, and the goals they need in order to claim the promised blessings of the temple. A mission is the greatest education in the world.
You know, President Gordon B. Hinckley has said many times that his mission is the foundation of his lifetime of service. He credits his mission for putting him on the course that brought him to lead the Church. I think you’ll agree that he is doing so in a magnificent way.
We’re at a time in the Church’s history when young men and young women all over the world need to rise up and serve as missionaries. They can’t assume there are enough young people in the United States to do all that the Lord needs. He needs the youth everywhere the Church is organized to prepare themselves to bring souls to Him. As they do, they will bless the entire earth and bring heaven’s blessings to themselves and their families now and forever." - M. Russell Ballard
So here is a little image that describes the life of a DEDICATED Mormon Missionary which pretty much sums it all up:

I am so excited to serve a mission and I can't wait to go. I know a lot of people will look at this and say wow how can you give up all of your stuff, your job, a paycheck, cell phone, family, friends, and your life here to go somewhere where you know no one. How can you do that?

My answer is simple. This is what I know is the right thing for me to do right now in my life. I am leaving my family for 18 months so that others can be with their families for eternity!  

If, you have specific questions, post your comments below and I will respond.


Hermana Weller

Friday, May 17, 2013

Finding the Perfect Mission Bag
There are so many items to buy and find and it has been hard to find a good bag that will be durable and doesn't stand out too much. I am going to Ecuador and missionaries get stolen from a lot. So I have been having a hard time finding a bag that is dark, durable, and will last a long time. So I thought I would write a post about finding the perfect bag!

According to the LDS Missionary Guidelines:
For safety and security reasons, handbags, jewelry, and other accessories should be simple and conservative. You are encouraged to choose shoulder bags and purses that are both professional and durable: backpacks are not professional.
I have been looking for something that is:
  • Water resistant
  • Durable
  • Minimal Logos
  • Solid Color
  • Big enough to hold pass along cards, Preach My Gospel, my scriptures, a few snacks, and my water bottle.

Here are some bags that other sister missionaries have suggested and the links on where you can find them!

REI Brookdale Mini Messenger Bag - Women's - $44.50

Ogio Brooklyn Women's Purse - $40.00

Timbuk2 Classic Messenger Bag - Prices range from $50.00 - $180.00

Tip: Great for missionaries going to biking areas

Vintage UK Style Faux PU Leather Shoulder Bag Handbag Messenger Bag Cross Body - $20.83

Baggallini Messenger Bag - $40.99 

I plan on getting the last bag. It looks like it will be the most comfortable and durable. I plan on getting it this week. Plus I have Amazon Prime so I don't have to pay for shipping!

Good luck finding your perfect bag.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Missionary Outfit #3

Thought I would share some ideas for sister missionary outfits! You can easily change up these looks using different colored cardigans, blouses, shirts, or flats.

Cardigan = Mossimo (I got mine from Goodwill $6.00)
Shirt = Oldnavy $5.00
Skirt = George from Walmart $12.94
Flats = Mossimo from Target $9.00

Get this look for under $35.00!

Missionary Outfit #2

Thought I would share some ideas for sister missionary outfits! You can easily change up these looks using different colored cardigans, blouses, shirts, or flats.

Cardigan = Old Navy (I got mine from Goodwill $5.00)
Shirt = Ross $4.99
Skirt = Goodwill $6.99
Belt = Goodwill $2.99
Flats = Mossimo from Target $9.00

Get this look for under $30.00!

Missionary Outfit #1

Thought I would share some ideas for sister missionary outfits! You can easily change up these looks using different colored cardigans, blouses, shirts, or flats.

Cardigan = Mossimo (I got mine from Goodwill $6.00)
Skirt = Old Navy $14.99 (This is a print from a few years ago)
Flats = Walmart $5.00

Get this look for under $30.00!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Applying for your Passport for the First TIME!

Image via

As many of you know I am heading to Ecuador in a little over 4 months and I will need both a Passport and a VISA to leave the US and come back. I have never traveled outside of the US so I was super excited to finally apply for my Passport!

I decided to write a post about tips to making the process of getting your passport more smoothly so you don't get stuck having to wait longer to apply for it. I have seen people at the Post Office get sent away because they forgot something or filled in the form wrong. Talk about stressful!

So here are some tips!

  1. Determine what form you need to fill out. Are you renewing a Passport? Or getting a Passport for the first time? Note: If you are going on a mission, you will get a copy of the form in your Mission Call.
  2. Follow the instructions on the form and fill in the information. Do NOT sign the form or attach the passport photo. 
  3. Get a passport photo taken - The photo can only be 2 X 2 inches wide.
    • You can get passport photo's at Walmart, Walgreen's, the Post Office, or Costco.
    • Costco was the cheapest in my area. I paid $4.99 for 4 passport photos!
  4. Locate your evidence of U.S. Citizenship. Evidence accepted is:
    • Previously issued, undamaged U.S. Passport
    • Certified birth certificate issued by the city, state, or county. The birth certificate must include:
      • Your Full name
      • Date of Birth
      • Registrar's raised, embossed, impressed or multicolored seal
      • Registrar's signature
      • Date the certificate was filed with the registrar's office, which must be within 1 year of your birth. 
    • Consular Report of Birth Abroad or Certification of Birth
    • Naturalization Certificate
    • Certificate of Citizenship
  5. Locate your Government ID & make copies of the front and back on 8 1/2 X 11' paper
    • Photocopy must contain images on only one-side of each page submitted.
      • If copies cannot be made on the same side of one page, you may present two separate pages; one displaying the front of the ID and the second displaying the back of the ID.
    • The paper should be free of other images and/or markings.
  6. Put everything in a manila envelop that you will need to apply for your passport
    • Passport Application
    • Passport Photo
    • Copy of your Government ID - the original must also be present when you apply 
    • Original copy of your U.S. Citizenship evidence - they will take this away from you and send it back in the mail
  7. Locate a Passport Processing location near you. You can find the closest location by clicking on the link:
  8. Travel too and apply in person at the Local Passport Processing Center. You will need to apply in person, if: 
    • You are applying for your first U.S. passport
    • You are under age 16
    • Your previous U.S. passport was issued when you were under age 16
    • Your previous U.S. passport was lost, stolen, or damaged
    • Your previous U.S. passport was issued more than 15 years ago
  9. Pay for your Passport and wait for it to come in the mail!
    • To apply for a first time Passport I paid $110.00 and a $25.00 processing fee at the Post Office.
    • I am also leaving on a mission and in the call packet, it requested that I pay for the Expedited Service which costs an additional $60.00. The good news is you will get your Passport in 2-3 weeks (expedited) instead of 10 - 12 weeks (regular)!
If you have additional questions about Passports visit:

I followed all of the steps above and had everything in a manila envelop and ready to go when I went to my local Post Office. It took me less than 10 minutes to go in, walk through the form with the postal worker, and pay. 

Good luck getting your Passport! 

Hermana Weller

Friday, May 10, 2013

Social Media brings future Sister Missionaries together!

Since I have been called to Ecuador I have been searching online for anything I can learn about the area I am going too! I know it will be really hot there but I want to know things like:
  • Is there every a need for a cardigan when you are living at the Equator?
  • Will flats do or do I need boots?
  • Are tights really needed?
  • What are the best fabrics to stay cool in the hot heat?
  • What can I do to prevent being bitten by mosquito's?
These are very important questions that I have! :) I am the first person in my family to go on a mission so I am learning everything for myself and relying a lot on return missionaries and family friends to find out what I can take, what is realistic, what to expect ect. The place that has helped me the most so far are friends online! 

I have been reading a lot of BLOGS and joined Facebook Groups in the past few weeks. I have been able to read other sister missionaries struggles, inspirational stories, and uplifting thoughts as future sister missionaries wait to report to the MTC!

I stumbled upon a few blogs that I would love to share. 

  • Facebook Group - Many are called...few are sister missionaries - This is the best site I have found so far. You can also get a lot of tips on any questions you have and find others sisters going to the MTC the same day as you or that have been called to the same mission! I have already found three others sister missionaries who are reporting to the Peru MTC the same day I do.
  • Blogs:
Hope this helps!

Hermana Weller

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Book of Mormon Challenge - 65 days!

LDS Images from
El Libro de Mormon  65 day Challenge!

Joseph Smith, the first prophet of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter - day Saints translated the Gold Plates to English in 65 days! Yes, that is right, he translated the best book on Earth from the Egyptian language to English. The first Book of Mormon was published in 1830!

So the challenge is to read the Book of Mormon in 65 days. That means you need to read 4 chapters a day starting in 1 Nephi and ending in Moroni 10. 

To start the challenge, write your testimony of the Book of Mormon in the front cover or back cover. Then at the end of the 65 days, write your testimony again. Then compare the two and see how much you have grown!

I started my 65 day challenge on May 1st and my goal is to finish by the 4th of July. I will let you know what my first testimony was and share how it has grown at that time.

I love the Book of Mormon so much and am glad that I still have my first one. I got it after my 4th birthday from my father! 

I hope you join my challenge. If you do, respond with your thoughts or your testimony if you would like to share!

Love, Hermana Weller

Thursday, May 2, 2013

South America = Must learn SPANISH

Since I found out that I will be teaching the people of Ecuador in Spanish last week I have been looking for free resources online to learn Spanish. I have taken about 7 years of Spanish in Middle School, High School, and 2 additional years in College but it never stuck. I was pretty fluent after High School when I worked at Taco Bell but that was really the last time. Most people think I speak Spanish but sadly I do not. My sisters and mother are all fluent so I guess this is Heavenly Fathers way of telling me IT IS TIME to learn. :) I am excited because it will help with when I get back from my mission with employment, family history, and conversations with my mothers family!

So here are the resources I found online and what I decided to actually use. The first program I thought of was Rosetta Stone however their program is around $500 dollars. Way too much! I also looked at a program called Fluent but it was the same price. I also checked out the local community college but I would then have to pay tuition and would not learn Spanish at the pace I needed it.

Anyways after looking around today I found some great FREE or under $10 resources to learn Spanish!

Church books/resources:

  • Preach My Gospel in Spanish - Ordered online for $6.00
  • El Libro de Mormon - Free (I already had this)
Other resources under $10:
  • Learn Spanish - The Fast and Fun Way 3rd Edition - Online @ Amazon new under $10.99
  • Spanish in 10 minutes a day with CD - Online @ Amazon used under $10.00
Free resources online:
  • Mango Languages - You can learn 30+ languages online through your local library
  • - Great site with games to learn phrases and they have an APP

So far I am loving the Mango Languages site, it quizzes you, gives grammar information, and cultural uses. I called my local library and found out about the site. All you need is your library card number. Check with your local library to find out how to get to it on their site!

Don't worry too much if you have not started to learn Spanish just yet, the good news is at the Missionary Training Center (MTC) new missionaries will have 6 - 9 weeks to learn the language. I just want to get a head start!