Not only is our service as missionaries something which is relatively new for the church, it is also something which has included a new type of missionary. Currently, all of us have different medical things which have kept us from serving a walking mission. Not only do I have my own story of how I got here, but every missionary who serves here is a wonderful example of perseverance, faith, and patience on the Lord and His blessings. This being the case, I do believe our mission fluctuates in many ways that most other missions do not. I know currently we have half of the number of missionaries with us compared to what we had at this time last year, and four more of us will be leaving before the end of Summer. Seeing as there are only seven of us here currently, we have felt a great impact when each missionary has left. The latest two who have left us were Elder Howden and Elder Moxley. As I have been thinking about them, and the support they have been I had thought it might be nice for me to share some experiences I have had while serving with them.
Both of these missionaries were serving missions elsewhere, and then because of different things were reassigned to our mission. I believe Elder Howden and Elder Moxley tell their stories better than I could, so I wanted to give my perspective on some other things.
I will start with Elder Moxley first. I believe Elder Moxley came at a time when we had a lot of surprise missionaries. What I mean is, we would get a call from the front desk of the MTC (missionary training center, where we serve), and they would tell us a missionary was here to join us. For many of those who joined us at this time, we had no warning of their coming.
I do believe Elder Moxley was one of these; at least, I don’t have any recollection of being informed of his coming. Elder Moxley actually came very late in the evening, after I had gone to bed. So, I didn’t even know he was with us until the morning after when I met him trying to get around in a wheel chair. At the start of his service here I remember right from the start his example of dedication and diligence. The original plan was for Elder Moxley to only be with us for a short time, then to return to Slovenia. We have had many missionaries who have been like this. Despite the temptation to not be involved 100%, Elder Moxley was a support and help for us from the very beginning. I remember him going to a spare room in the residence in the morning to do his studies when his companions did not. This dedication has also shown through in his work in helping our mission with statistics, recording, and developing new things for the mission. And he was eventually called to serve with us.
When I think of Elder Howden, I first think of the music which he brought for us here in the Referral Center. He is very gifted musically, and not a bad choreographer. This past Christmas was probably one of the best Christmases that I have ever had. And I know part of that was being able to listen to so many apostles from our church, and the other part was how much fun I had being a background dancer for the MTC talent show. I remember being with Elder Howden as he and another missionary were there to practice the song they were singing from the Lion King Musical. As I heard the music, it just really seemed that we needed some dancing. Elder Howden was able to choreograph a dance for myself and several of the other missionaries. He helped us with the little time we had to practice, and then put it together. I must say, we did bring down the house! Besides his help with these things, Elder Howden was one of the most successful missionaries here. He has been patient and charitable with all those we work with. I have noticed many times that he has been the one to reach out to people first, and to extend the hand of friendship.
I know I have been very blessed to be here in this mission and with the missionaries who are here. It is a blessing to be inspired by the examples they are. I know it has been a testimony to me to see how we have come here, and how much support and strength we bring to each other. I love this mission!