Saturday, December 7, 2013


Getting all of the things done to complete the missionary application seemed like a lot, but it was nothing compared to the many tasks that need to be done once the call has been received. When we submitted our application, we put as our availability date the first day of November. We would have put even an earlier date, but we wanted to be sure to be here to greet our newest little grandson, Peter.

When our call arrived with the date of January 20, it seemed like forever away, but now after the months of preparation, I can see that we could never have been ready by November 1. The immunizations had to be spread out and we won't finish the last until the first of January. Also the FBI clearance required for the VISA has taken a long, long time. Frank finally got his OK a couple of weeks ago, but my fingerprints came back as "unreadable" and had to be re-submitted. We're still waiting for those results. Hopefully, we'll have everything in order to go on the assigned date!

Here is a list of some of the things that we've done to prepare to go. I'm sure I've forgotten a few, but you can see that the tasks would keep you busy for a number of months :)

Acceptance: Writing our missionary acceptance letters

Profile: Creating a profile on

Family History: Have a four generation sheet complete and printed for both of us.

Temple recommends: Have our temple recommend renewed

Study in preparation: Read the Book of Mormon, Preach My Gospel, Jesus the Christ and current conference talks and Ensign articles. Also watch episodes of a series called “The District” that follows the daily lives of missionaries.

Medical preparation: Complete medical tests and treatments—physical, dental exam, eye exam, and any other treatments needed before we go like dermatology appointments, podiatrists, etc.

Prescriptions: Arrange for twelve months of prescriptions

Immunizations: Make sure that we have required and suggested immunizations. These include Tetanus-Diphtheria-Pertussis; Measles-Mumps-Rubella (if born after 1957); Hepatitis A (2 doses) and Hepatitis B (3 doses) These are available in combination shots, but since I had had one of them I had to do the separate ones; Polio; Typhoid; Pneumonia; Shingles; and Meningococcal Meningitis.

Emergency: Making sure that our advance directives are complete and have been recorded where they are accessible in the event of emergency.

Passport: Making sure that our passports are current and won’t expire when we’re in South Africa.

Obtain a VISA: Complete the FBI background check form and be fingerprinted in order to get a VISA to enter South Africa. This takes a number of weeks to be processed and the fingerprints often have to be repeated.

Insurance: Sign up for Aetna International insurance that offers a more complete coverage for missionaries serving abroad.

Finances: Make sure that financial obligations will be taken care of during our mission—putting as many things on automatic pay as possible, arranging for our son to receive our mail and transmit information on how much to pay for the ones that can’t be (like the water bill.)

Notification: Communicate with bank, credit card company or debit card company that you will be out of the states for 18 months so that you will be able to access funds.

Driver’s license, etc.: Making sure that drivers license, credit cards, etc. will also not expire while we’re there.

Clothing, etc.: Getting clothing and other needed items ready to go. Also assemble first aid kit, sewing kit, personal items. Two kinds of insecticide are required. One to spray on as needed, the other to spray on clothing, even before we arrive at the MTC.

Decisions on home, car: Decide who will watch over our house (Dan will be in charge) and what to do with our truck (Rachel and Rick will purchase and we will get a newer one when we return.)

Learn about destination and responsibilities: Read and talk to people about South Africa and/or about senior missions, CES missions, etc. trying to get a picture of what we will be doing. In truth, we really won’t know until we’re there, but we excited to find out!

Family Time: Spending as much time with family as possible. This includes a “holiday tour” where we will travel to see all eight of our children during December or early January.

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