Friday, October 17, 2014

Week 4: It's Been an Awesome Week!!

Yummy! Cafeteria food!!

The donut that smacked a missionary in the face during the war!

Our District at the Temple
My New Name Tag!
The Tripanionship of Destiny!
The crew getting ready for an intense game of Four Square!
Are we having fun yet?!
Hallo, (Hello!)

It has been an awesome week. So much to talk about. 

First of all, thanks for the package. It was great. 

Also if you could thank Elder Jurges and his parents for the package, that would be great. It was an awesome surprise. 

First I wanted to talk about some people that I ran into. 

So I forgot to mention this in my last email, but one of the Swedish Elders was from Delta Utah. Now of course someone very special to our family was from Delta Utah, Elder Layne Larson. So I asked Elder Bliss if he knew the Larson family. He didn't, but his mother did. She new Layne when he was growing up. Small world. (Layne Larson is very special to our family...he was straight from the MTC into the Belgium/Netherlands mission the night he came to our house in Mechelen, Belgium to give us our very first official discussion by the missionaries, back in 1998. He would also be the Elder that baptized Patrick, Bryan's father.  We love Layne Larson!)

I also ran into Sister Nelson from school. It was during lunch between the Sunday Sessions of General Conference. My collegas (a little Dutch coming at you!) and I sat down next to some sisters, and I swore I knew one of them. Long story short, we figured out how we knew each other. Mutual friends at BYU-I. (Brigham Young University-Idaho) We even have a picture of the two of us with our friends on Facebook. Kinda funny. 

I also ran into Elder Higgins, another friend from school. We had two classes together last semester. We both didn't know that we had mission calls, so it was a real surprise to see each other. 

Anyway, so this week the Swedes and the Nords shipped out to the field. That means that right now, it's just Dutch speaking and two Danish sisters in our zone. Today however, we are getting 21 new missionaries in our zone. I'm glad I'm not the zone leader haha. 

Because we are halfway through our tenure here at the MTC, I got released as District Leader, and Elder da Silva replaced me. It's kind of nice not having to go to all the District Leader meetings.

So something really cool happened on Sunday. The head of media in the Missionary Department of the Church came and spoke to us on Sunday. He showed us the impact that technology has had on missionary work, and how it's helping move the work forward. 

He showed us the numbers of referrals generated from internet ads, social media campaigns, and other forms of missionary work on the internet. Through Facebook alone, the church can reach more than 20 million non members through mutual friends of people who like the page. Pretty amazing.  

He also showed us the numbers for the #becauseofHim #ItWasMom #ShareGoodness and #LdsConf campaigns. During General Conference #LDSConf was in the top ten trending hashtags on twitter. 

He then gave us training on what the church is planning next for Christmas. He showed us the draft that was just approved by the 12 Apostles. It was still a rough cut, and they are using the music from a popular song on the radio while an original track is being written. I'm not allowed to say anything more about it, but it's going to be awesome. Even with the rough cut, the Spirit of it was really strong. Every single missionary in the auditorium (about 2000 of us) got choked up. He then trained us for how we can use the things the Church will be doing at Christmas time to help teach people, and find new investigators. It was pretty awesome. 

Also some great news, we have a new investigator! His name is "Sam", and he's an actual investigator. (investigator is someone they are teaching the gospel.) We found him as a street contact yesterday, and had our first lesson with him last night. He's from Peru, so he and Elder Matos (also from Peru) clicked really fast. I have to say it's so refreshing to teach in English. It's so much easier than Dutch haha. The funny thing is that as I was thinking about our lesson afterwards, I kept thinking about it in Dutch. Weird how that happens. 

Last night we had one of the Quorum of the 70 speak to us, Elder Lawrence. He spoke about Satan, why he does what he does, what his tactics are, and how we can defeat him personally. It was really great. Our District meeting afterwards was even better. Everyone has such a strong testimony. I am so grateful for my district. We all love and support each other so much. It's going to be hard to say goodbye to them in the field. 

OK, so I was told that I forgot to tell the rest of the jumping the bed story. 

So two nights after Elder Hunter jumped the bed, he decided he wanted to do it again. This time he totally ate it. He jumped from the top of our bed to Elder Matos' bed, and totally missed. He bounced off the side of the mattress onto the floor. It was like a cartoon. When he hit the bed, his body went over on top, and his legs slid under making like a C shape around the mattress. He was like that for at least 3 seconds before he slid off.  He didn't get seriously injured, but it was super funny. Then he tried to do it again. This time the rest of the zone was watching (they were all hoping he'd eat it again) but this time he made it. So being the crazy Scotsman that he is, he decided to convince my companion to do it. 

It took ten minutes of talking Elder da Silva into it, but he finally took the leap.... and failed so hard. We thought he had made it, but the mattress was like a trampoline and bounced him back off. It was so funny. We were all laughing for a good 5 minutes. 

That's all I have time for this week. We get our flight plans, which is pretty scary. It feels like we just got here. I hope you enjoy the pictures, we really get into our gym time here. It's about the only time we can let loose for the whole day. 

Talk to you next week!

Elder Muller

P.S. I got my name on my tag fixed yesterday, I went to the office and asked for a new one.

Monday, October 13, 2014

"Musings of Missionary Mama - Week 3"

Well, week three is actually almost touching week four!  We will get another email from Elder Muller on Wednesday this week, and I have failed to get his letter from last week posted until today, as well as post some of my thoughts and feelings from this week.

This has been an emotional time for me because, as many of you know, Elder Muller was in the Missionary Choir that performed at our October General  Conference meetings.  The choir performed in the Saturday night, Priesthood Session.  If you have not had a chance to see this session, or to hear this magnificent choir perform, please go to this link: .  You will find links to the two days of fantastic talks, and if you look for the Saturday Night Priesthood Session, click on the icon that says music, you will be able to see the choir sing.  (If my link doesn't work, please go to and click on General Conference.)

Just for clarity sake, Bryan is in the middle section of the choir loft, on the very end chair on the right side as you face the screen.  He is the eighth seat up from the bottom!  You can catch glimpses of him in just about every song!

The special part of this performance is that it was the first time that Primary songs were sung in a General  Conference.  Primary songs are the songs our children from 18 months to 12 years old learn in our Primary Sunday School lessons.  They are beautiful, and the choir put an amazing medley together. The other special part of the performance was the closing song.  It starts out with Elder Hunter singing a solo.  Also never been done before.  This required the permission of the First Presidency!  Elder Hunter is Bryan's bunk mate, so Bryan was pretty psyched!  And he is Scottish...which is really cool to Bryan!  You will also take note that these missionaries performed all these songs sans folders with music in them!  Another pretty awesome testimony of how the Spirit can help you in all things!

Hearing this choir perform was incredibly moving.  Circumstances just happened that I was alone at home during the broadcast.  Jeremy hooked up the laptop to our TV so that I could stream the session while he and Patrick went to the Church building. I thought I was prepared for it, but once it started and I realized Bryan was somewhere there in the sea of missionaries, I guess I just lost it.  The crying turned into painful sobbing and I just wanted to reach out and hug him.  So when I actually saw him on the screen, then the wailing really started!  So glad I was by myself.  If I were technically savvy, I would be able to put some screen shots in this post so that you could see what I was able to captured as I sat snapping Bryan's phone constantly hoping to catch a glimpse of him!  Okay, so I was able to figure out how to turn the camera function on, how to snap a picture, but had no idea what to do with them then. So my sweet Jeremy uploaded them to Facebook for me. So I hope most of you have had a chance to see them there!

I am sure there were so many happy/emotional missionary moms watching that choir that night. What a thrill for Bryan to be part of it.  I asked him how he got chosen for the choir, and he simply replied "I was lucky".  I know that it was an amazing experience for him.  To be sitting in the same choir loft that the Mormon Tabernacle Choir sits in has to be just amazing!

So know that I've told you my sob story about this last week, I want to share some tender mercies that have been bestowed upon me during this time of preparation and then sending Bryan off to the Missionary Training Center.

Clothes Shopping Tender Mercy:  Imagine trying to buy clothes for your son for two years?!  It was a daunting task, because it has to also fit in two suitcases - including a winter coat!  So we started our search at Men's Warehouse in the Avenue of Viera shopping center.  We met a wonderful salesman, Fred, who took us under his wing.  He outfitted Bryan with three, sharp looking missionary suits, ten long sleeved white shirts, socks two belts, and two amazing pair of shoes.  I had already loaded Bryan up on ties and extra dress pants from my days of working at Kohl's.  But Fred went above and beyond helping us get Bryan ready.  He also contributed a winter coat to Bryan for his mission from his personal collection of men's clothing he had from the time he used to run clothing stores up north. This tender mercy saved us several hundred dollars. These coats have to be suitable to wear over suits and for wear in the elements for 24 months.  So it is water proof and has a removable wool lining. It is a long trench coat. It is an awesome coat, not a current style or model, but we felt blessed to have met this man with such a generous heart. He also gave Bryan an awesome looking pair of leather gloves!  One sharp 19 year old!

Airport Tender Mercy:  Bryan had a 07.15 flight out of Orlando direct to Salt Lake City on September 17th.  He had to report to the Missionary Training Center by 12.30.  We got to the airport with plenty of time in case that the security lines were backed up.  As we walked up to the Delta counter to check in, we encountered a very friendly Delta agent, who must have sized us up immediately.  A worn out looking mom, a Dad in charge of luggage, a sixteen year old looking pensive, and two little girls looking sleep deprived and anxious, and then one tall, handsome young man in a white suit and tie giving him his flight information.  The agent glanced at the ticket and commented it was a direct flight to Salt Lake City.  Bryan replied in the affirmative, and then the worn out mother, as always, had to put her two cents in.  "Yes, he is flying to Salt Lake City because he is reporting to the Missionary Training Center in Provo to begin his two year Church mission."  The agent smiled, took Bryan's bag and said, "So where will you be serving your mission, Elder?"  Worn out mother's mouth drops open in amazement!  "You called him Elder!"  "Do you know our Church?".  Agent replies,  "Yes, What Stake are you in?"  Tuns out he is from the Orlando Stake!  He then does something that can only be a blessing from above.  He asks me "How many of you would like to accompany Elder Muller to the gate?"  It took me awhile to understand what he was saying, and I immediately said "All of us!"  So he wrote out five passes to get us by security to walk with Bryan to his gate!  The TSA agent who checked our tickets commented "Wow, somebody must be in a good mood at Delta today - they never give out this many passes!"  Thank you Heavenly Father.  I know you were looking out for us.  We didn't have to painfully watch Bryan wind through Security. We got to wind through with him and sit with him for nearly an hour before he boarded.  This was good for Bryan, because he had been set apart the night before as a Missionary of the Church of Jesus Christ. That meant from the moment on he had to follow missionary TV, radio, internet, phone, and should have someone with him at all times.  Obviously, if we had't been able to accompany him to the gate, he would have been fine.  But it gave this super emotional Mama more precious time with her son.

Watching him board that plan was hard, but I knew in my heart he was doing what he needed to be doing. What he had been preparing to do since we joined the church when he was 3-1/2 years old.  I know he will be a blessing to many people in his mission, just like scores of young men and women who left their families to come and serve in Belgium/Netherlands had blessed my life, and all the missionaries we have known state-side that have blessed my life.  It still is so incredibly hard, but I know he will come back home in 24 months an even stronger disciple of Christ. What more could a mother ask?

Missionary Choir Tender Mercy:  What an amazing gift this is to me, to be able to watch over and over again the video's of the Missionary Choir singing at the Saturday Priesthood Session. I know there are many mothers who didn't get to see their missionaries do that, so I do treasure that.  I know that was yet another tender mercy from my Heavenly Father trying to help me transition into this new season of my life.  I have served in the Primary organization of our Church almost exclusively since we joined the Church, so singing those Primary Children's Songs has been a normal occurrence with me and the children.  So to hear Bryan singing "I hope they call me on a mission, when I have grown a foot or two.  I hope by then I will be ready, to teach and preach and work as missionaries do." a 6'5" three week old missionary, was pretty tender for me.

I cannot close this post without including some explanation of Mormon terminology that might be unfamiliar to most of you!  So when Bryan refers to pre P-day activities, he is talking about the night before Preparation Day. Preparation Day is the one day per week that all missionaries get "time off"! But this is what this "time off" includes!  They still get up at 6.30 to do their studies, but during this day this also have to get their laundry done, do their grocery shopping, clean their apartments, email home to their friends and family, write letters to their friends and family...and try and find something fun and relaxing to do...and maybe, just maybe even catch a little nap!  And be back in proselyting clothes by 17.00. So the night before P-day has become a night of excitement for Bryan and his friends at the MTC!  His P-day in the MTC is Wednesday. That will mostly likely become Monday when he enters the mission field overseas.  It is the day all moms (okay, and the rest of the family!) waits with baited breath for an email to come!  It is our only connection with our missionary son or daughter-a weekly email/letter and a phone call on Mother's Day and on Christmas.  

So again, I will put my plea out there to all of  you....when you see these young men and women walking or biking, or if they are lucky enough and are in a car, please smile and wave to them!  Offer them a friendly handshake.  Don't be rude to them or ignore them!  Thank them for their service. Remember they have left friends and family to come out into the mission field to serve you, your family and your friends.  They love to serve - if you need help with anything - yard work, painting, moving, cleaning, - anything you can think of - call the missionaries! They will come and do service for you - and ask nothing in return. I would ask that you give them a drink and maybe a sandwich, but that's because I love them and want them to be taken care of!  :)  And icing on the cake would be if you let them share a message with you - it will brighten your day and theirs!

Week 3: MTC Choir and General Conference

The SurinaMEN getting ready for four square
Elder Muller's District with the Danish District

Elder Muller and his District outside of the Provo Temple
Elder Silva finding the hidden "Hayden" picture!
Elder Muller saying goodbye to his Zone Leaders, or something like that!
Elders Reber, Hunter & Gudmunson. Elder Hunter is the Scottish Elder who sang the solo in the last song in Priesthood Session)
Saying goodbye to the Danes - Elders Reber, Silva & Gudmunson (Zone Leaders)So three weeks down, three to go. Pretty crazy. 

First I would like to share something about a Sister in the other Dutchie district. Sister Twiggs had been having health problems before she came to the MTC, and was struggling with pain in her stomach almost every minute of the day. She was always hungry, but it hurt to eat. Last Wednesday night it got really bad, enough to call paramedics. 

All the Elders of our Zone that night decided to fast the next day for her, not so that she could come back to the MTC, but that she could be healthy. After the day we fasted, for the first time in years, she has not had any pain. Miracles are real, and if you have enough faith, you can make them happen. 

Something else cool that happened the day after our fast: the cereal challenge. In the MTC cafeteria, there are towers of cereal. We decided as a Zone to empty the Rice Crispy tower. Because all of us Elders had fasted for the Sister, we were even hungrier than usual. We ate three and a half towers of cereal. At one point one of the cafeteria employees came out to refill it, and everyone started yelling at him not to. It was pretty funny. About 40 missionaries stuffing their faces with cereal, Elders and Sister alike. I ended up eating a plate of steak, and 9.5 bowls of cereal. As a zone, we ate 232 bowls of cereal. That's insane. It shows just how much cereal is in those towers though. 

So much to talk about this week. Of course the big thing was General Conference. All I can say is that it was amazing. (General Conference is our semi annual meeting that is held in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City, Utah.  It is broadcast around the world so all members can participate.  It is broadcast via the internet, radio, cable, and satellite transmission.  It is open to the public to listen to as well.)

We got up early and watched the first session together as a choir, and then bussed us over to Salt Lake where we practiced for two hours backstage in the Conference Center. They fed us a quick lunch, and then brought us to the choir loft. We ran through each song once before Conference started. So we only practiced with the organ once for each song before we sang them. Pretty crazy. We were all sure that there were angels helping us when we sang, because we were all singing flat during practice for some reason. 

When we were up there it was pretty crazy. The Conference Center is HUGE!!!! From where I was sitting in the choir loft, I couldn't even see all the seats. We actually had more Elders than seats, but they brought in extra chairs so that everyone could sing. 

So the two things that were really cool about what we did, is that there has never been a medley of Primary songs sung in General Conference, and normally they are not allowed to have solos in General Conference. Brother Eggett had to get special permission from the First Presidency to let Elder Hunter sing. By the way, I share a bunk bed with the guy who sang a solo in General Conference, pretty cool. And he's Scottish. I don't know if I've said that or not. 
Still Photo of Elder Muller in Choir

We were all sure that "Ye Elders of Israel" was going to usher in the Second Coming. Those chords at the end just melt my heart every time we sang them, they are just perfect. Of course it didn't, but we were all crying at the end. I couldn't even see Brother Eggett to know when to cut for the Amens. 

Anyway, it was kind of a shock to see Brother Rojas and Brother Bailey outside. (Two members of our congregation here in Florida!  They went to see Conference live and saw Elder Muller!) I don't know how they found me, but I wasn't allowed to stop and talk. One of the Elders in my Zone actually saw his dad and had to walk right past him. Must have been hard. 

On our way back to the MTC we had a testimony meeting on the bus which was pretty cool. The Church also provided us with a boxed dinner. 

When we got back to the MTC we were all still pumped full of adrenaline. Singing for five million people will do that to you. Elder Hunter decided to jump from the top of our bed to the top of Elder da Silva's and Matos's bed. Somehow he made it, but more on that later. (Elder Muller never got back to this story, so I will have to ask him to let us know about that next week!)

I am including links to the songs the the MTC Men's Choir performed at General Conference.  I hope you will take time to watch.  Elder Muller can be seen in the videos!  He is in the middle section of the choir loft. He is the 8th row up from the bottom - almost to the top - he is in the last seat on that row. He will always appear on your right hand side of your screen.  This is the Choir Loft where the Mormon Tabernacle Choir performs from!  Quite and honor and experience!  If these links don't work, please go to and look for General Conference October 2014, Saturday Night Priesthood Session.  Remember to click on icon that says to include music.

Opening Hymn:

Missionary Medley:

Hymn song with congregation:

Closing Song:

So something really sad happened this week. The Danes left us. They were our first Zone leaders and just awesome guys. Elders Reber and Gudmunson. They will be remembered. Sadly we will not be getting any more Danish Elders, just Sisters, so that will be a gap in our zone for a little bit. 

The pictures from outside the Temple, and with Reber and Gudmunson are from the night we said goodbye to them. We also took a district picture outside the Temple. 

While I'm discussing pictures, let me explain a few things. The video is of Elder Silva trying Pop Rocks for the the first time (the elder giving him the pop rocks is Elder Dixon a Swede). It was pretty great. I also added some pictures of the SurinaMENs. They are also Dutch speaking missionaries going to the West Indies mission. They live in the room next to us. The pictures are of them getting ready for four square in the morning. I wish I had a picture of the next day, cause they all had mustaches as well as headbands. 

Link to Pop Rocks:

(I am having trouble getting this link to work, so forgive me if you cannot access it!)

The picture of Elder Silva holding a picture of a girl has quite a story. It begins in our classroom. I've been reading Jesus the Christ in my spare time, but one day Elder Matos found a copy of it in our classroom. Thinking it was mine, he just skimmed through the pages. The picture of that girl fell out. He thought it belonged to me, and started joking with me a bit. Of course, I've never seen that girl before in my life. We asked all the teachers if they knew whose it was, but they had no idea. It's a ghost picture. So we've started a new thing here. We plant it on someone, either in their suit jacket, under their pillow, etc. It's kind of dumb but it's funny. That picture is right after Elder Silva found it on himself the first time. His face is priceless. 

We now have two onderzoekers. (people we are teaching) "John" and "Tony". They are both moving along quite well, and we taught them both about the Atonement last week. We are close to asking "John" to be baptized, but we have to teach him how to pray first. We ran out of time in our last lesson. :( 

So I would like to share one more story. This happened last night, on the hallowed "P-Day Eve". It started with a spark that ignited into a war. 

So our Zone is made up of all Dutch speakers plus Swedes, Nords, and Danes. We've been having a grand old time together, but yesterday, a war started. 

Early in the morning, we were still sleeping. We hear a knock at the door. My comp, Elder da Silva, still 75% asleep goes and answers it. It's the Swedes in full battle array with squirt and dart guns. They totally blast him in the face as he opens the door. They lit the flame that began the war.
All day we plotted our revenge, if you mess with one Dutchie, you mess with all of us. We enlisted the help of the Surinames (Dutch speaking 
West Indies Mission) who the Swedes thought were their allies. As soon as we got home from devotional and changed out of our suits, we prepared for war. Elder Silva and Elder da Silva painted their faces with shaving cream, and Elder Silva donned a hood from a winter jacket (it looked hilarious) Elder Hunter filled several water bottles in preparation for a good dunking on a Swedish head. I prepared our diversion to draw them out of the room.
As I began the diversion, the Swedish lookout spotted my companions as they left our room and alerted his Swedish brothers. They all piled into the Zone Leader's (a Swede) room, and barricaded themselves in. This is where the Surinames came in. After sweet talking the Swedes, the Swedes opened the door just a crack to let them in, thinking them to be their allies. That was all we needed. We pushed the door open the rest of the way and began unleashing our fury upon those who dared squirt a fellow Dutchie in the face at 6:15 in the morning. Elder da Silva smacked a Swede upside the face with a handful of shaving cream, while Elder Hunter dumped bottle after bottle of water on the enemy before being taken out by a cookie launched by one of the Zone Leaders hiding behind a bed. The leader of the Swedes, Elder Dixon (he was the one da Silva smacked with shaving cream) grabbed my companion in a headlock, so I did the only thing I could. I threw a donut at his face. It smacked him right in the cheek icing side first. This shocked him enough for my companion to slip away. As we ran back to our room, the Swedes, filled with fury at their defeat began to storm after us down the hallway. When we got back to our room, we realized to our horror that we were locked out, with an army of angry Swedes 10 paces behind us. Luckily Elder Matos had a spare key, and we tumbled into our room. One of the Swedes (Dixon) wedged himself in the door and started spraying us with a squirt gun. We batted his hand down with a shoe and closed the door. As he turned to run away down the hallway, Elder Hunter burst from our room and rat tailed him with his towel. The Swedes will never attack us again. 

It was an epic night. 

Everyone had a great time, and right afterwards, the Zone Leaders invited us over for chips and salsa. The whole thing took like 2 minutes. We have several war trophies, including the donut that smacked someone in the face, and we are planning on handing out Medals of Honor tonight. Our Zone is the best. 

Anyway, I hope this email was long enough ;) I had more time today because we got our laundry done early. I'm going to go grab lunch and get ready for the Temple. 


Elder Muller

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Musings of a Missionary Mama--Weeks 1 and 2

So this is Elder Muller's mother, Amy Schaefer.  I am the one who is posting Elder Muller's letters and pictures to this blog.  I decided that I might add to this blog by sharing my thoughts and feelings as a mother of a missionary son.  

Since this blog is being seen by many of my friends and family who are not members of my faith, I thought it might be helpful if I share some explanations of the things you are reading here.  And not only will I share explanations of words and things, but I will also share my feelings as a mother of missionary who is devoting the next two years of his life to serving the Lord, and to serving our Brothers and Sisters in Belgium and the Netherlands.

These last two weeks have not been easy for me!  I will just put that out there!  My heart aches for my son  I still haven't been able to face going into his room and straightening it up.  I still have time, right? I go to my phone to call him or text him, and realize that I can no longer do that.  I reread the last few text messages that I had from him!  I don't have a smart phone, so on my little flip phone I have to erase my text messages in order to have room for new ones!  So if you were to look at my inbox, you would find text messages from "Bryan Muller" that are really old, but I have saved them because they are the last "communications" I have had with him. Some of them are as old as last year when he first went off to college and he sent me a text telling me he loved me!  Or simply just texted "Good Night!"  Yes, I am a sentimental fool!

That is probably the hardest part of the mission for me...not being able to talk to my son.  In order for them to stay clearly focused and dedicated to their work, they call home only twice a year....Mother's Day and Christmas.  The only other communication we have is the weekly email that you see me post on this blog.  That is what makes it so difficult for most mothers!  Myself included.  

Let me get to some of the questions that I have been asked by people.  

Perhaps I should begin by explaining just what Bryan, I mean Elder Muller is doing.  Elder Muller was found worthy, both spiritually and morally, to be a representative of Jesus Christ. He has put his life on hold for two years.  The Lord has called him to labor in the Belgium/Netherlands Mission.  He reported to the Missionary Training Center (MTC) in Provo, Utah on September 17, 2014.  I believe our Church has 15 Missionary Training Centers around the world.  Elder Muller will be in the MTC for approximately six weeks.  In that short time, he will learn the Dutch language.  Yes, these young men and women learn languages in a short span of time.  I think one might call that "the gift of tongues"! Obviously, he will still need to refine his language skills in the mission field, but he is in a complete immersion setting right now.  His first week in the training center he was already teaching lessons in Dutch to Dutch speaking people!

So what is a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?  It is the time in the life of a young man or woman in which they put their lives on hold and, instead, devote their lives to serving the Lord.  Young men are able to go into the mission field as early as 18 years of age.  They serve for 24 months.  Young women are able to go into the mission field as early as 19 years of age.  They serve for 18 months.

These missions are funded by the young man or young woman and/or their family.  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints does not pay for the over 83,000 missionaries serving in the world today.  We also have senior missionary couples who can also go into the mission field and serve.  Having a son or daughter in the mission field is a great blessing to that young man or woman and also to their family, but it is also a sacrifice in the sense that it isn't "free".  Elder Muller has been working since he was 16 to save the necessary funds he needs to be able to serve.  I am incredibly proud of him for all the hard work he put forth to be worthy to serve a mission, both spiritually and morally.  But I am also grateful that he was willing to work, be a full tithe payer, and still save money for his mission. 

He is in a trio companionship.  Typically our missionaries have only one companion, but Bryan is lucky enough to have two!  Several companionship are then put into groups called districts.  Elder Muller's district is comprised of his trio and six Sister missionaries. Elder Muller has been called as the District Leader for the first few weeks.  That means he is responsible for making sure those missionaries in his district are okay.  The District Leader (or DL) will report to a Zone Leader (ZL).  A district of missionaries is put into a group called a zone.  The two leaders of this zone then report to the Mission Presidency.  This is done so that all missionaries are looked after and helped while on their mission.  These young men and women learn so many skills while in the mission field!  

A mission is also made up of transfers.  A transfer is when missionaries will be moved around their mission area.  These are done every six weeks.  It doesn't mean that a missionary will be reassigned every six weeks, but there is always a lot of things going in in a mission!  The Mission President prays and receives inspiration as to which missionaries should be put into a companionship and to where they should serve.  It is not done by pulling names out of a hat!  It is done with much prayer and inspiration.  So you can imagine how grueling the life of a missionary can be.  They learn to pack their bags quickly, say good bye to people and places quickly, relocate and start all over with new companions! And missionaries are never without their companion.  They must always be within eye sight and hearing distance of each other.  This, again, is for their safety and protection.  All these "rules" can seem very harsh to people who do not understand what a mission is all about.  But these young men and women have to learn to adapt to living with roommates 24/7!  It teaches them good people skills....and humility to adapt to whatever their new situation may bring.  

The Mission Presidency is made up of three men and their wives.  A Mission President and his two counselors.  These men and women also are devoting three years of their lives to serving in this calling.  None of our leadership is a paid position.  These men and their wives will be called by our First Presidency of the Church to serve in different mission areas around the world.  Their calling is usually a three year assignment.

So this is probably enough for now.  I don't want to overwhelm you!  But perhaps this gives you a better understanding of some of what these young men and women are doing.  So when you see these missionaries, either on foot or on bikes, please be nice to them!  Offer them a drink or a sandwich or even a hello!  Just a smile and a hello will make their day! There are enough people yelling at them, calling them names and generally just being rude to them!  A smile can make their day a better day!  They are out in the elements all day long--wind, rain, snow, sleet, heat, you name it...they are working in it!

Till next time.....keep these missionaries in your prayers as well as their families!  Our sons and daughters are leaving their families for 18 to 24 months so that they can show you how your family can be together forever!

The Book of Mormon is true!  It has changed my life, and it can change yours as well. Check out or for more information.

Sister Amy Schaefer
A Missionary Mama

Week 2 from the MTC! "Boy Did It Fly By!"

Elder Muller and his District at the Provo Temple (check out Elder Muller's has pigs on it....a special memento from Brother Bair in Wadsworth, Ohio!) 

Another beautiful day at the Provo Temple
Elder Muller with his two companions on the grounds of the Provo Temple

What a beautiful sky.  Again, Provo Temple Grounds

Elders Hunter, Silva, Matos, da Silva and Muller.  Elders Matos and da Silva are Elder Muller's companions, and Elders Hunter and Silva are the Zone Leaders.

Elder Muller's desk and study materials.  So awesome to see him writing in Dutch!  And even more awesome is that I can read and understand most of it!!!

  • Piception! A picture of Elder da Silva taking a picture of Sister Hanson taking a picture of me taking a picture of... you get the idea

Hallo van de MTC! 

Week two is done, and boy did it fly by! 

My Collegas (companions) and I now have two investigators (this is the term used for those people they are teaching), "John", and "William". We are teaching "John" about God and Jesus Christ. His father is Islamic, and his mother was Christian, so they didn't talk religion very much. "William" has had some trouble with the law and substance abuse, so we are helping him turn his life around. Very fun.

Last night we had a ton of fun, we try to have a good time because it's P-Day eve. We got a big group of Elders together and sang some good old fashioned gospel music. 'Tomorrow is P-Day, Oh Happy Day!'. We have too much fun :).

So the other Dutchie Elders are just amazing. Elder Hunter (the Scottish one) is just amazing. We found out that he actually helped write the song 'Come unto Christ'. If you watch the music video, he's the guy playing the piano. You can see his face for like two seconds. Pretty cool. 

Elder Silva is just super funny. Every night he tells us a bedtime story before we go to bed. They are all true experiences that he's had that are just crazy funny. 

Elder Matos and Elder da Silva are great. They both speak English, Spanish and French. The other day we ran into some international Sisters/Elders, and within 30 seconds we had 3 different languages going at once. 

As a companionship, we have been focusing more on teaching/relying on the Spirit. We've really seen an improvement in our lessons, and our investigators are moving a lot faster. 

The Sisters in my district are awesome as well. You can see the Lord's hand in putting them together, because each companionship is just perfect. We have some great district goals, and are working together really well. 

So about the choir. (This is the choir Elder Muller will be singing in this Saturday night, October 4, 2014.  It will be during the Priesthood session of our semi-annual General Conference...the best two weekends of the year! It is held in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City. You can watch on some cable TV outlets, or stream it on  )   It's been amazing! We are going to be doing something special which has never been done before in conference. I can't say what it is, but it is so good. Apparently they are going to record us singing it, and use it in Church other church media. Pretty unique experience. 

In closing, 

Ik weet dat Jezus Christus mijn Verlosser is. (I know that Jesus Christ is my Redeemer)
Ik weet dat God onze Hemelse Vader is. (I know that God is our Heavenly Father) 
Ik weet dat de verzoening echt is. (I know that the Atonement is real)

and I don't have time to type out the rest. 

Till next week!

Elder Muller

I think I have this translated correctly!  --Amy