Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Come Follow Me

This blog post was organized and edited by Jennifer Goodman. She used verse five of the hymn, "Come, Follow Me" (116, LDS Hymns) to organize the contributions made by members of Rachel's family. In October, President Monson announced that young women could submit their application for LDS missionary service at age 19. This has created a tremendous increase in young sister missionaries. Jeni felt that this was an appropriate time to review Rachel's missionary service. I agree, and I love what she has done.

We must the onward path pursue
As wider fields expand to view,
  And follow him unceasingly,
Whate'er our lot or sphere may be.(John Nicholson, 1839-1909)

Ticket from the Cotton Bowl
We must the onward path pursue
Rachel did not approach going on a mission lightly. She had considered it when she was young. As the time got closer it was on her mind more. Jennifer Goodman

At the end of 1996, She and Mark and I (plus 2 of my bonehead friends) drove to Texas for the Cotton Bowl and Jan 1 '97. BYU won, which was good, but it was a 20 hour drive there and a 20 hour drive back and it was the last time I spent a good chunk of time with her. I think she was pondering a mission then. I remember her listening to my "foundling opinions" as if they mattered. It meant a lot to me for sure. And the game was a blast, BYU will always make me think of her. Nate Stubbs

That was fun. We had 50 yard line tickets 7 rows up. We were first in line. I was a little nervous to drive all the way to Dallas, and it made me nervous to be at the Fairpark. I think the game was sealed with a last minute interception by BYU. Mark Stubbs

After praying and fasting, discussing with her family, and wrestling with the Lord, she puts her papers in. Once Rachel decided she wanted to leave right away, as in the middle of winter semester right away. Instead she is there to see her brother, Mark, graduate in April. She still lives in BYU housing near her cousins. Rachel enrolled in guitar and self-defense, helps her parents with the Independent Study lessons, and Stephen with his schooling. She gets called to Australia Adelaide Mission to report to the MTC July 9, too far away for Rachel. Luckily there were two brothers from Idaho (who her cousins call the Spud Brothers) to help her occupy her time. When she is not engaged in Nerf Warfare, making no bake oatmeal cookies, spending as much time with her family as possible going on truck adventures with her cousin, Jeni, she studys for her mission. During this time, one of her friends gets a mission call, has a farewell in Idaho (that Rachel sacrifices to go to), and then gets proposed to and declines the mission call. This was frustrating to her, as she willingly leaves the Spud Brothers behind. Jennifer Goodman

Before her mission she got super stressed out and spent a fair amount of time in my basement watching old movies to distract herself. Amy Stubbs Gibson

As wider fields expand to view, and follow Him unceasingly
Finally she has her mission farewell on June 29, 1997. While at the MTC, Jeni, Amy and family try to write on the sidewalk outside the MTC, and are thwarted by the MTC police. Rachel cuts 7 inches off her hair. Aunt Adele sends her fresh warm cookies through Mailboxes etc. Rachel wants to leave the MTC and just get to Australia already. Her family is glad she is still around, and show up en mass at the SLC airport to see her off. Jennifer Goodman

Rachel at the mission home in Australia
For the first couple of months in the mission it is especially hard, because maybe only her ever-loving parents write her, as everyone else assumes because they just saw Rachel at the airport they don't need to write for a month. That combined with the long time it takes letters to get there, she incorrectly thinks her friends/family are just glad to get rid of her. Rachel starts saying dinkum, no worries, and singing "Dancing Matilda." Her parents sell their house and move, prompting a call to the mission president. While she was gallivanting in Australia I got married. My sister and cousins sent her letters about Rex, before I wrote to her. They had differing opinions about our relationship. It wasn't until her dad met, Rex, and wrote her and told her that he was good guy that she believed the positive reviews about him. Jennifer Goodman

I didn't write her hardly at all and she brought it up often. I assumed she was having a grand adventure and wouldn't notice that I wasn't writing. I have several letters from her that I love to read. Amy Stubbs Gibson

The water was terrible on her mission her hair started falling out...she saw the wiggles in concert and sent Zack and Josh the tape. She said her famous ap-ness joke. She brought back stuff for my boys and when she talked to Zack on the phone she said he sounded like a hick...he was so little. She said Mormons were terrible Christians and had an argument with Aunt Marilyn about it. Amy Stubbs Gibson

Rachel said the people in Australia were happy with how they were and not much interested in hearing about a different religion or any religion. The "no worries" attitude. She liked their positive and relaxed feeling but wished they were more open to hear about God.
She loved the Australian Aboriginals. There were some who were her friends. One painted Aboriginal pictures and she brought some home. She used pictures of her family in her missionary work. Often there were children who she sat with in Church or in missionary lessons and she showed them all her family photos that she carried in her wallet and talked about who they were and what they were doing.
She worked sometimes at the family history center there. It was a way for the missionaries to connect with the people. She also did a lot of service with her companions. She had some really great friends for companions and some (one at least) who drove her crazy. Rachel wanted to work really hard and this companion wasn't so focused. That was also her problem with the members. She didn't think they wanted to help the missionaries in their work enough. Some members she was great friends with though.
One experience she had tracting was when she and her companion were very discouraged. No one would listen to them--even give them a chance to say anything. They decided that the next place they tried they would sing instead. They knocked at a locked gate. A woman came out and yelled at them to go away. Rachel's companion turned to her and reminded her they said they would sing. She didn't want to but bravely started in on "I Am a Child of God." The woman listened to their song and invited them in.
One time she and her comp didn't have much money. They had spent it all on medication for her companion's acne problem. They were on the street when a bus driver stopped them and gave them some money. Also that day one of the members gave them food. They were fine. She felt competitive with the elders and she enjoyed working with them.
She had to ride bikes most of the time. It was hard to ride a bike in her skirts and she worried that she was getting big muscles in her calves. Her mission president helped her with her wardrobe. He taught her that it was better to spend the money and get quality clothing than to try to save on lesser quality clothes. She taught me that principle when she got home. I still wear a few of her mission clothes. Joy Stubbs

Whate'er our lot or sphere may be
I met her in San Francisco at the airport on her way home from Australia. We were the first non-missionary people she had contact with on her way back to the real world. Anna Kendall

Amy & Rachel after she returned home. She is wearing
a type of lei given to her when she left Australia.
Other family see her at the SLC airport. Rachel lived with her parents after her mission, sharing a room with Julia. She enrolled in institute (where she met Wally the guy who can crack wal-nuts with his pecs). Beyond whatever she was learning at the institute she took a D&C class with her mom. She also showed me all types of makeup tips/tricks she learned on her mission. In addition, she explained to one of my younger siblings that if you take your dress clothes out of the dryer right as it stops then you may not have to iron them (another mission field tip/trick). Jennifer Goodman

When she came back she showed us the TimTam challenge. You sucked up milk in those yummy Australian cookies until they broke and then ate them. She also came home liking barbecue pizza. She said they had barbecue everything there. I loved being at BYU with her when she was home. We would "eat out" together at the Family Living Center where they ran a practice restaurant.
I remember a home evening lesson she taught us when she got home about the plan of salvation. She explained the Atonement as a bridge and also used money in the lesson somehow. It was so beautiful. I wish I could remember how she taught it. Julia made visual aids and learned it too. Rachel taught me some things she learned from her mission president about principles and doctrines. I loved talking about the gospel with her. She told me to never be afraid to tell the Joseph Smith story. Even though it seems too incredible to believe, it carries its own spirit and those who are tuned into it can feel its truthfulness. Joy Stubbs

Pages from the family newsletter, Glimpses of Heaven, from Rachel's mission

1 comment:

  1. When Rachel was in the MTC There was a special program that the motab was involved in at the stadium. during rehearsal it wasn't clear at one point what was going to happen but a rumor was it involved missionaries from the MTC. sure enough, during the program they came in carrying flags from all.over the world.singing "Called to Serve." It was an incredible experience and brought the house down. it reduced me to tears.