Top Ten Reasons I’m Grateful for My Mission: 2

You can find the earlier post in this series here.

2) The Mother’s Day Lesson

My last companion was relatively new to her mission. The child of a recently widowed mother with several teenagers at home, one of her biggest worries as a missionary was that her mom would need her back home and she would be powerless to help.

One day, shortly before Mother’s Day, she received a letter from home filled with good news after a long interval of anxiety-inducing silence. Her mom and family were doing remarkably well. Things were as smooth and happy as they had been since her father passed away. After reading the letter she brightened visibly, and remained noticeably relieved and relaxed for some time afterward. And, since she had been asked to give the lesson at District Meeting that week, she chose to speak on mothers. It was a simple, brief lesson, consisting mostly of her expressions of gratitude for the sacrifices her mother had made for her. Neither then nor ever did she tell the other missionaries in our district that her father had died.


As she spoke, the feeling of the room shifted. I feel a little sheepish to admit this, but I didn’t realize it was happening. I loved my companion – she was and is a really mellow, chilled out woman, savvy and street smart (she’s the one I lived with for three years after the mission). But at that moment I didn’t have a sense of the effect of her words on the other missionaries in the room.

I looked up and noticed that none of the Elders had dry eyes. One Elder – a smart, sweet guy from rural Wyoming known for his exhaustive knowledge of agricultural equipment – had to excuse himself to the restroom because he was overcome to the point of sobbing. When she finished her lesson, the room was quiet for an extended period of time as the rest of the district collected themselves.

The one Elder returned from the bathroom, and opened the post-lesson testimony meeting in a broken, wobbly voice. He thanked my companion profusely for her words, and then said that while she spoke it hit him for the very first time that his mom probably had dreams of her own. The woman who got up to make a hot breakfast for him every morning before school probably had wanted other things for her life, too. It washed over him all in a single moment that she had sacrificed her own ambition in order to be his mom. He choked up mid-sentence and had to sit quietly for a minute. The other Elders were silent, wiping their eyes.

Up until I left to go home – and even at some mission reunions afterward – Elders who had been there would come and thank my companion for that Mother’s Day lesson.



  1. Wow, Galdralag, what a great story! I guess it’s always difficult for kids to imagine their parents as fully people, as having their own lives outside of being parents. It’s likely especially true for mothers, particularly when they’ve been the primary caregivers and SAHPs. Good on your companion for helping the elders realize this. I can also use the reminder myself.

  2. For several years before I started high school I had a paper route. I had to get up really early; when I started early morning seminary and quit the route, it was a relief to be able to “sleep in” compared to what I was used to. I don’t remember exactly, but I want to say I got up at 4:00 a.m. The route was seven days a week, every day, no holidays. Every morning my mother would get up and make me some toast and hot Postum to steal me for the route. In the winter on the worst weather days she would drive me around the route. I never asked her to do any of this, she just did it. So yeah, I probably would have reacted like that Wyoming farm boy to your companion’s lesson.

  3. Oops. I’ll try again:
    Fantastic story. Thanks for all the detail. (You must be a journaler.) I read it once, but because it was so good, I went back and ‘re-read it a second time aloud. Powerful.


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