Saturday, September 27, 2008

Trading Ties, An Interesting Tradition

I read an unusual custom that a local California bishop came up with to motivate young men while on a mission. The bishop trades ties with young men going from his ward. The following piece in the Church News explains it in more detail:

David Veirs made up his mind as a 12-year-old to serve a mission. Later, when he was 18, he took added confidence that he could endure the rigors of missionary life when he worked with full-time missionaries in the San Bernadino mission near his home.

"Then I knew I could do it," he said, speaking from the Provo Missionary Training Center during the last hours of his training with his companion, Elder Bryant Soloman, before departing to the
Alabama Birmingham (Spanish-speaking) Mission.

Elder Veirs gained early training in leadership while working with other young men in the Rancho Cucamonga California Stake with President Hadfield. Serving as an assistant to the president in a mock-missionary leadership setting, he exercised initiative in befriending and including other young men who were less interested.

Other factors that influenced his desire to serve came from his father who taught him to love the scriptures, and a close rapport with the bishop who cared for him like a big brother. "Seems like I was always eating dinner with his family," he said.

"What didn't the bishop do for me," Elder Viers said. "He did everything."

"I'm the first to serve a
mission from our ward since it was divided. The bishop said he was starting a tradition. We trade ties before leaving. We are to wear the ties when we speak, as we depart, and again when we return. The bishop will wear the tie after my first baptism."
("Develop A Loving Rapport," Church News, [Saturday, 8 December 2007]: 10).

I know that missionaries have a fixation on ties. Some missionaries actually burn their ties at the six month mark. Others trade ties in the MTC with other missionaries. If you think about it their ties can represent their personalities. Most of their suits are pretty uniform being blue, black, grey, and occasionally brown. But their ties vary from designer to just plain ugly. Their ties are an expression of their different tastes and preferences. I hope the bishops who trade ties with them have a sense of style.

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