This is a great idea that my daughter Jessica found on a blog. It is a fun gift idea for your missionary. Our daughter Kathryn is collecting "Open when..." letters from all of our family members and will send these letters to our three missionary daughters.
The blog address where she found this idea is at the bottom of this post.
The following is a sample letter that you can send in your missionary's suitcase. Over the next few days I will post different letters that will help your missionary during some rough times. Create some cute envelopes and send your missionary off with some "Open When" letters for your missionary.
Embrace this day with an enthusiastic welcome, no matter how it looks. The covenant with God to which you are true enables you to become enlightened by Him, and nothing is impossible for you.
My Dear Hermana HW,
Today is your first day at the CCM (MTC in Spanish) in Peru! Can you believe you are on another continent preparing to serve the Lord for a year and a half!? It is crazy to think about, but this will be the most important year and a half of your life. This is the time that you will become the person you are meant to become. You will become a woman of Christ. This time at the CCM will only help you to begin to learn the habits that a woman of Christ has in her life. Today is only the beginning of this grand adventure you are on. Included in this letter, I have written down a few things that I learned while I was at the CCM that I wrote to share with you as you start your missionary education. I learned all of those things, some of it the hard way. I hope that my advice helps you.
Today you will get your first district and companion. Get to know them all! You will be with them all the time for the next six weeks! By the end of that time, you will be like a family to each other. Enjoy every moment at the CCM, it is like EFY on steroids, but without the dances and you can’t flirt…
Anyway, I pray that this experience is a good one. Learn to have the Spirit with you always and learn to listen to it. You will need the Spirit for every lesson you teach, and throughout the day. Have a good first day. I love you!
Your best friend and number one fan,
When we are no longer able to change a situation - we
are challenged to change ourselves.
7 things you need to know while at the CCM:
1. Having a companion is HARD. You never know what they are thinking. They follow you everywhere. Sometimes it is really annoying… But LOVE HER. Be open and honest with her. She can be your greatest support. When you aren’t getting along, have companionship inventory.
2. Your teachers are your best resources at the CCM. They have been where you are. They know what you are going through. They can help.
3. The CCM President and his wife care about each and every one of the missionaries. If you need to, talk to them. They can be a great comfort and guides to you.
4. If you ever want or need a priesthood blessing, ask your district leader or another elder in your district. They always appreciate the opportunity to use their priesthood keys.
5. DyC 10:5 Pray Always!
6. Ether 12:27 Be Humble!
7. I love you!
“Anywhere you are in the world, with prayer, faith, determination, diligence, and some sacrifice, you can make a powerful contribution. Begin now. I promise you that the Lord will help you find a way. And it will make you feel wonderful.”
–Richard G. Scott
“Let the Church be your dear friend. Let it be your great companion. Serve wherever you are called to serve. Do what you are asked to do. Every position you hold will add to your capacity. I have served in many responsibilities in this great organization. Every service brought its own reward.”
–Gordon B. Hinckley
“Without help, you are like one who can’t or doesn’t wash or bathe or put on clean clothes. The path you need to follow is in the scriptures. Read them and your faith in Christ will grow. Listen to those who know the gospel.”
–Boyd K. Packer
“Our personal journey through life provides us with many special experiences that become building blocks of faith and testimony. No matter what the experience may be, each gives us a chance for personal growth, greater wisdom, and, in many cases, service to others with more empathy and love.”
Open When... You are struggling with a companion.
Put all frustrations, hurt feelings, and grumblings into the perspective of your eternal hope. Light will flow into your soul.
If someone hurts you so much that your feelings seem to choke you, forgive and you will be free again.
My Dear Hermana HW,
Companions are so hard! Having someone constantly around for six weeks or more requires a lot of patience. My first companion and I did not get along. She betrayed my trust by telling one of the elders a story I had told to our “investigator” and had asked her to not tell others. By the end of the CCM all we did was tolerate being around each other. Both of us would have been a lot better off if we had had a little more patience.
“Life is full of difficulties, some minor and others of a more serious nature. There seems to be an unending supply of challenges for one and all. Our problem is that we often expect instantaneous solutions to such challenges, forgetting that frequently the heavenly virtue of patience is required.” (Thomas S. Monson, PMG 120)
Be patient and understanding with your companion. Have a companionship inventory. If that doesn’t work out, then you are going to have to exercise a lot of humility. One thing that I did with my companion that restored our relationship better than anything else happened after our nightly prayer. While we were still on our knees, I looked at my companion and asked her, “What can I do to be a better companion for you?” It took her by surprise and some of the things she said absolutely stung. But with the help of the Spirit, I exercised humility and listened to everything she had to say. And then I worked on them. As she saw me trying to make myself better, she began to ask me how she could improve. It worked really well for us, and it may work well with one of your companions.
I hope you can feel the love of your Heavenly Father, your family, your friends, and especially me, your sister. You are an amazing, wonderful, beautiful, intelligent person. I pray that your companions will all see that. I pray that your companions will be good friends of yours. None can be your best friend, because that is my job… But you can love them, and they can love you.
Smile and know that everyone you meet is your brother or sister!
I love you!
When you cannot love someone, look into that person's eyes long enough to find the hidden rudiments of the child of God in them.
The key to everything is patience. You get the chicken
by hatching the egg, not by smashing it.
“So much in life depends on our attitude. The way we choose to see things and respond to others makes all the difference. To do the best we can and then to choose to be happy about our circumstances, whatever they may be, can bring peace and contentment.”
-Thomas S. Monson
“We are not perfect. The people around us are not perfect. People do things that annoy, disappoint, and anger. In this mortal life it will always be that way. Nevertheless, we must let go of our grievances. Part of the purpose of mortality is to learn how to let go of such things. That is the Lord’s way. Remember, heaven is filled with those who have this in common: They are forgiven. And they forgive.”
-Dieter F. Uchtdorf
“Where love is, there is no disputation. Where love is, there is no contention. Where love is, there God will be also. Each of us has the responsibility to keep His commandments.”
-Thomas S. Monson
Except in the case of His only perfect Begotten Son, imperfect people are all God has ever had to work with. That must be terribly frustrating to Him, but He deals with it. So should we.
-Jeffrey R. Holland
This great idea came from the following blog: