Saturday, January 24, 2009

Reflections of A Mission President's Daughter: How Are Mission President's Children Affected

Today I was trying to find out information about Brazil Campinas Mission and I fell across this blog entry from Tiff Platt, whose father Edward L. Platt served from 2004-2007 in the Brazil Goiania Mission. She came up by serendipity because she went to the Campinas Brazil Temple. I was really intrigued at her long distance romance with a Brazilian fellow who keeps dragging out their engagement. She served a mission herself to Panama. But the fascinating post I read was her remembrance of spending a few months with her parents during one Summer. On her Tiff Place blog she shared in a post entitled O meu segundo lar:

Today has been quite the interesting day. I found some of the photos that I took while I lived in Brazil with my parents. They were there serving as mission presidents of the Goiania Mission. I was fortunate to be with them for three months, in between my two degrees. This first picture is of the city of Goiania, looking out of my parents apartment. I think that my time in Brazil was for healing and for moving on from a difficult time in my life. For three months I was given the chance to really focus on the important things; family, my testimony, sharing the gospel, and resting. The last one really is important. I found myself in Brazil. And I have so many fond memeories of my time there.

I remember that we were always traveling. There was rarely a time that we were in the apartment for more than a few days. We were able to see Brazil and all the beauty that it has to offer. Some of my favorite sights were the newly planted fields. They were so refreshing, as it always reminded me that we can start over doing the important things in our lives. Goiania was a farming area, and everywhere we went there were crops being planted or harvested. This was one view that amazed me! This field was planted right on the edge of the freeway (if you can call it that). It was just so perfectly planted.

Often times I found that I really struggled with all of the road trips. Sometimes I was not a very fun traveling companion. Amanda was with us in Brazil at the time, and she was the BEST traveling companion. All she did was read and listen to music. Well, I could only do that for so long, before I just couldn't take it anymore. There was one time that we had been gone quite some time and I couldn't take it anymore. Dad, being so great, knew that I needed to get out of the car. So he pulled over and told me to go take some picutres. I was a little grumpy about it and wondered what to take a picture of. He pointed out my least favorite tropical fruit to eat, but turns out to be one of the most photogenic of the fruits. To tell you the truth, I can't remember what they call this fruit in spanish, but this is the cashew fruit. If you will notice the little cashew nut on the bottom. This picture saved me from killing my poor family in the car. I really didn't think that it would turn out. But more than being a beautiful photo, this reminds me of the love that my dad has for me and that he knows how to get me out of my ornery moods.

Brazil, just like any other place in the world, has some stunning sunsets. I felt like I was able to enjoy many of them as we traveled so often. We were always able to enjoy them from the car or getting out and really watching the fantastic colors that show up. I think that when a person is really learning about themselves, they are more open to the beauties around them. It is a time of reflection and we are able to really learn about God and His plan for us when we are willing to stop and listen or look around us. This sunset was one that really struck me as beautiful. So, once again, dad stopped the car so that I could take a picture. I had to run about 100 yards down the freeway to get the tree that I did, but it was worth it. There are times when I look at all of the pictures that I took while there, and would give anything to be able to re-live that time in my life. It was so full of love and warmth and I fell in love with the country of Brazil.

One of the greatest opportunites that I had while there was to spend a week with members of the LDS church on a temple caravan. The closest temple was in Campinas, about a 12 hour bus ride. They were plannning this trip and fortunately for me, it was about the time that I was to leave Brazil. So, I spent close to my last week, the only white girl, traveling to the temple with these wonderful people. They were so good and patient with me, and my very much mixed with Spanish Portuguese. However, during that week, I realized for the first time the real sacrifice that some people have to make to go to the temple. They save all their money and do what they can to make it to the temple. Some of them only go once or twice in their lives. And I take for granted the fact that I have so many temples near my home. I was amazed at the beauty of the building and the surrounding gardens. I was able to spend much time alone really pondering life and what I wanted to accomplish, and for the that I will always be grateful. This time for me at the temple was the best way to end my stay in Brazil. It was hard for me to leave, especially knowing that I wouldn't be able to go back. I will always have a tender spot in my heart for Brazil and for the way that it changed my life. I am a different person now, and would never want to go back to who I was before.

I am very interested in researching the experiences of mission president's children and seeing how they are affected by going with their parents on a mission. I read recently of one little girl smiling that affected her friends with her cheerful nature. I am sure several others just see their parents serving a mission like any other job. It is an interesting dictomy.

1 comment:

S.Faux said...

You have hit upon another important issue: How are young children affected by missions?

I suspect you are correct that young children just perceive missions as another job like any other job.

Given the service demands our Church requires, there is a need for much organizational psychology research. Your blog has raised many such issues.

Given that Elder Bednar has a Ph.D. in organizational behavior, I have wondered whether some of those research skills might be put to work.