Tag Archives: MTC

Molly’s Closing Thoughts

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Conversion is a Lifelong Quest: 

On Wednesday I was temporarily released as a missionary because of Covid-19, and the moment I took off my name tag, it stung. My name tag has come to mean so much to me because it testifies of my love for the Savior.  

I struggled at first but have since come to the understanding that it isn’t a name tag that should testify of my love for my Savior. It should be the daily choices I make and the effort I put into coming closer to Him. My relationship with Jesus Christ should not depend on a name tag, but should be evident through my heart. We each can wear Christ’s name upon our hearts. Jesus Christ showed His love through the greatest act of love itself-the atonement. Those prints on his hands and feet show the world his deep, abiding, and eternal love for all of us. When we write upon our hearts His name, and promise to follow Him every day, it shows our deep love for Him. 

This week I have been studying conversion. Is conversion a one-time event? Is it growth through time? Is it a cumulation of every day choices and desires?  

I believe conversion happens every moment we choose Christ.  

Every moment we choose to follow the path that Jesus Christ paved before us.  

Every moment we choose to write His name upon our hearts.  

“Conversion is not a one-time event, but a lifelong quest. It is the miraculous process by which we come unto Christ and become more like Him.”  

I love this quote because it testifies of the process, the time, the effort and the work it takes to achieve true conversion.  

I think one of the most beautiful things that I have gained from my MTC experience is a greater desire to choose this day and this moment- and every moment moving forward-to be converted unto Christ. There is no greater source of joy! 

I am grateful for this uncertain time because it has allowed me to cling tighter to our Savior. I am grateful for my Savior who can swallow up fear, pain and sorrow. He knows us. He knows our struggles. He knows our uncertainties. Through His atonement He can truly succor us. I know Jesus Christ lives and loves us personally. I know that great blessings come forth as we turn to Him. 

Deepest love,  

Sister McCleery 

 

Sister McCleery- Week 2 at the MTC

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Here are Molly’s thoughts from this week:

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Every day is a new adventure.

Hundreds of emotions are felt in a period of 24 hours.

My understanding of what I thought I understood as a kid, has grown deeper and stronger than ever before!

My love for my Savior has been edified in ways that are so special and sacred to me.

This week has been filled to the brim with a very busy schedule…two 3-hour classes daily, workshops with a hundred or more missionaries in my same position, and daily scripture study- both independent and with my companion.
I wake up at 6:30am and devote the next two hours to studying and growing in my relationship with Jesus Christ. I begin with a prayer which is key to a good study session. I have been amazed at what the Holy Ghost will guide me to read, learn, or the thoughts that pop into my head which make an impact on my heart and soul.
 I have been blessed with a great district too.
 I. Love. Them. 
They are the people that help me to not feel as alone on this uncertain journey. They are the people that make me laugh after staring at a screen for hours. They are the people that teach me so much through their bright testimonies. 
I also love my teachers! I am thankful for their willingness to serve and teach, and the hours of effort they put into what they do. 
This week was also my 20th birthday.
This was a different kind of birthday than any I have ever had before. In addition to being quarantined in my house, my day was packed with a busy MTC training schedule. I spent most of my birthday in my bedroom doing online learning, but had many wonderful experiences that made me feel so very loved on my birthday. The birthday wishes I received meant the world to me, my sister brought me lunch (which is so simple but made me swell with love that she checked up on me.) The birthday gifts were all so generous, I had my favorite foods and I got to spend time with my family in small snippets through the day which meant the world to me!! 
This week I have learned a lot about faith, humility and grace.
As some of you may or may not have heard, due to the worldwide pandemic, all missionaries training in the MTC will be released from their calling at the conclusion of their training and then will be given the choice of either waiting at home until their assigned location is ready and safe for more missionaries to arrive,  or they can choose to wait up to 12 to 18 months to start their mission.
When I received this news I felt nothing but anxiety and stress. Then came emotions of sadness over the change in what I expected. I struggled with doubts like,  “can I handle this?” and worries that I wouldn’t make the right decision. There were many evenings where I was just overwhelmed and frustrated with life itself. When I was going through all this I was very critical of myself for doubting at all. Shouldn’t a missionary’s faith be greater than her fear? Shouldn’t a missionary go forth in all things and never fear? 
At the beginning of this year I decided to work on the virtue of humility. I prayer for experiences that would build humility. God has answered that prayer through this unique missionary experience. 
Over the past few days I have done a LOT of praying, a lot of relying upon God, a lot of reading the scriptures and a lot of letting go.
Every moment is a gift: good or bad, easy or hard. I have come to know that God called me to His work for THIS TIME. He has given me personal revelation and personal answers that bring me strength and peace.
I know that God loves me and is walking with me EVERY step of the way.
I need not fear because God is not a God of fear.
Daily I give my day to Him and allow Him to guide me.
My mission isn’t about me at all.
 I will go forth with courage and in faith.
I will try to be humble and teachable.
 I will remember that it is okay to be human and to experience moments like I’ve had this week, but I also need to remember that at the end of the day, EVERY DAY, God lives!
He will give us grace to endure and do all that He asks of us.
I come before Him knowing that I am scared, broken, imperfect and uncertain of what the future may hold for my mission and my life,  but He will give me grace, and His grace is sufficient!
I testify of the reality of God because He testified that reality TO ME. I have walked a humbling journey this week. It has not been easy but it has blessed me in profound ways. Know you are not alone. God is and always will be there for you. I pray that my experience and testimony might be a source of peace and comfort to you no matter your circumstance, for God is walking your journey with you and at times may even be carrying you!
(As me and my roomate from BYUI would always say to each other) 
I love you and Jesus loves you, 
Much love!
Sister McCleery

Sister McCleery- Week 1 at the MTC

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This week was a monumental one for Miss Molly…I mean, Sister McCleery.
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On Wednesday she logged onto her first class at the Missionary Training Center. Rather than attend the MTC in person,  she and all the other missionaries who are scheduled to do their training in Provo, Utah during this time, are now part of online classes.
Her name tag arrived in the mail on Tuesday and on Wednesday morning she emerged from her bedroom as Sister McCleery.
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Her schedule is quite rigorous with 6-8 hours a day spent online, learning, training, and attending devotionals. This is in addition to the time she has set aside in her schedule for personal scripture study and the companion scripture study that she does online with her assigned companion.
She is still able to join the family for meals and during her down time and breaks. It has been a joy watching her MTC experience firsthand and getting to hear about her experiences and the insight she’s gained that day as we gather together each evening for family devotionals.
The biggest challenge has probably been creating an environment of stillness and quiet reflection for Molly to learn in, with seven other people (and many noisy animals) running amuck.
The dogs have especially enjoyed hanging out with Molly at her own personal MTC.
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The other day Olive had to be banished from Molly’s room when she insisted on bring her noisiest squeaky toy into Molly’s room and making a whole lot of noise while Molly was trying to answer questions in class.
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But overall we are navigating this unique situation well. Molly’s faithfulness and service continues to bless our family and we are grateful she is home and safe during this uncertain season. Here are some thoughts she shared with us this week:
MISSIONARY THOUGHT: HAVING A SOFT HEART
I don’t know if I can really put into words all the emotions I am feeling. With all the changes in the world right now I have learned to take my mission step by step and day by day. I am doing the MTC online and had my first class yesterday.
I was assigned and introduced to my companion, Sister Graham, who is the sweetest person ever! I am so excited to learn and teach beside her! I am in a district with two other sets of missionaries. Everyone is very kind and my first class was quite enjoyable.
I could really feel the Spirit during our zone conference as well. We talked about the importance of the work and the blessings of the mission. It takes sacrifice, and it is hard, but the growth and gifts that come forth are endless!
I am also very grateful for being able to do my MTC experience online. The experience has allowed me to spend some more time with my family and share my MTC experience with them. I have learned that this experience is humbling and sacred whether you do it online or in person. You can feel the Spirit testify of that.
This week, as I was reading my scriptures, the Holy Ghost taught me using a metaphor which touched my heart. In the scriptures it often talks about a hardened heart. This made me think of everyday objects that could relate.
A hardened heart is like dry clay. When we are not willing to listen to what God has to say to us, our hearts become hardened, and just like clay, it becomes challenging to work with. Eventually it becomes unable to be molded. It just crumbles. But Jesus Christ, the master potter, doesn’t give up easily on us. We can choose to have a soft heart, one that is willing to listen and to obey what it is He is asking us to do. We can have a heart that desires to serve and to trust in God even during the hard times. That willingness is like adding water to dry clay. As we work with it, it becomes moldable. Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ can use us to fulfill His work and our purpose here on earth. They have the ability to mold us into strong, beautiful and reliable pottery.
Be like soft clay. Have a soft and open heart. Allow Jesus Christ to mold you into something better than you ever thought you could be. You need not fear. He is in control.
“Trust in The Lord with all Thy heart, and lean not unto Thy own understanding. In all Thy ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct Thy paths.” – Proverbs 3:5-6
Love, Sister McCleery

Big Changes

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When I first began this blog, with the purpose of recording Tyler’s first year with our family, I discovered quickly the importance of recording the moments of success as they happened, because the tides could turn without notice. That first year was everchanging and the atmosphere could turn from calm to volatile with little to no notice. I found if I delayed recording the simple joys they would soon get buried under piles of raw emotions, simmering resentment, or feelings of defeat. If I waited too long to blog about little successes those stories would lose their relevance in light of the bigger issues that had taken hold.

In much the same way I have found myself uncertain of what to record about the last month of life here at Patchwork Farm given the worldwide crisis we are facing. It seems frivolous and irrelevant to post pictures of our latest craft projects in light of a worldwide pandemic sweeping across the land. Much like those first months with Tyler at home, I find myself avoiding blogging, as I don’t even know what to write in light of all that is changing day by day…minute by minute.

It has been a crazy 6 days. On Friday the girls and I made preparations to head out to Ohio to visit my parents for our annual girls’ weekend. At that time my parents commented that it was probably our last visit for a while. It all seemed a bit alarmist at the time.

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Who knew that in a matter of days schools would be closed, food shortages would be seen across the country, restaurants and entertainment venues would be shut down, and gatherings of people would be restricted.

The numbers changed daily.

First we were told no more than 250 people could gather, then 50, and now 10. Day by day new emails are coming through, canceling all upcoming events and regular commitments, wiping my calendar clean. No physicals for the kids, orthodontist appointments postponed, tutoring on hold until future notice, no therapy, no church…no need to leave the house.

Ozzie is currently on lockdown at his facility. None of the boys are allowed to leave the facility for home visits or even day passes, and no family is allowed to enter. My weekly therapy appointment and visit with Ozzie is now happening over the phone.

G.G. is also on lockdown. My Grandmother wasn’t able to join us girls for our girls’ weekend activities, as her home was proactive in locking the doors early in light of this global pandemic. All residents are being kept safe through isolation from any outside visitors. Employees are interviewed and checked for symptoms and fever before entering the facility.

Grace is now out of work, as the daycare she is employed at has closed in accordance to the latest restriction on gathering.

It is all a bit surreal.

Even Molly has felt the impact of the pandemic in her plans to serve as a full time missionary. The Missionary Training Center (MTC) in Provo, Utah, where she was scheduled to do her training in the weeks leading up to her heading out into the field, has been shut down. Molly will now be set apart as a missionary on March 31st only to do her training at home and online. Our home will become her MTC. Here at Patchwork Farm she will be serving with a companion across the globe that she will study with remotely through the computer. She will attend classes and devotionals online six hours a day, all while observing the rules and standards of missionary life (no tv, movies, secular music, etc.) She is navigating the mixed emotions that have come with the news, bracing for the possibility that her service to the Lord may be delayed even further in light of the daily policy changes being issued by government and the church, and trying to figure out how to manage it all in a home environment with five other people who are also living a sequestered life.

I think we are all still trying to figure it out, as I’m sure you are too. We are living in unusual times, historic times, times that will alter our trajectory as a nation…

And in the midst of it all we are trying to individually figure out our new “normal”, in the midst of an every changing world.

As uncertain and ever-changing our lives are at the moment, I find myself shying away from blogging. I find myself struggling to find the balance between acknowledging the crisis that is overtaking the globe, while sharing the daily details of life. I am trying to figure out how I do that without it seeming frivolous and out of touch with so many people’s current reality…especially in light of the many readers who are spread across the globe. I don’t want the daily fluff of my life to seem dismissive to those facing true and heartbreaking hardship at this time, so I find myself shying away from writing anything at all.

But perhaps what is needed more than anything in the world right now is connection and feelings of normalcy. Maybe the stories of every day frivolity are what we are all craving in the light of so much darkness. At the very least I feel convicted to record this season of life, as it is part of our story. This blog has served as a recording of our family’s history through the high moments and some very low moments,  will continue to share the moments of life here at Patchwork Farm…the good, the bad and what could be very boring moments of self isolation.  I hope that you recognize it for what it is: my efforts to maintain connection with friends across the world, to hold onto some semblance of normalcy, and as a means of sharing light in a season of darkness…

Certainly not a dismissiveness of the tragedy that surrounds us.

So, to my friends near and far:

Be safe.

Stay home.

Wash your hands.

Rise up.

Be a blessing.

Find the good.

Pray.

Share with others.

Hold onto hope.

Much love to you all, from Patchwork Farm!

 

Molly’s Mission News

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Last fall Molly called us and confirmed news that we anticipated would be coming shortly…

Our sweet girl had prayerfully decided to answer God’s call and devote 18 months of her life to His service as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Her papers were submitted the week before Christmas and her call came February 5th.

On Tuesday morning she received the text that her mission call was ready to be accessed via the missionary portal, and there she would find the letter from the First Presidency of the church informing her of where she would be sent to serve and when she would leave.

Due to situations beyond our control, she opted to wait until Wednesday evening to open her mission call. This allowed everyone to be available and allowed us the time to prepare everyone for the emotions they might feel upon facing Molly’s departure for 18 months.

The 24 hour delay also allowed us to amp up the hype and allow others to join in on the anticipation of wondering where in the world Miss Molly would go. By making it a competition we were able to lessen the struggle for our sons that were already mourning the “loss” of another sister (this one to a mission rather than marriage) and make it a game of guessing where the Lord would be sending Molly.

We posted two maps on the wall…

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A world map and a United States map,

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And let everyone lock in their guesses.

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“Where in the World would Molly be going?!”

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The promise of a prize for the correct guess spurred on friendly competition, helping to make the evening celebratory rather than sad for the boys.

Others locked in their votes as well, as friends and family across the country posted their guesses on social media. We added each guess to our map, and the guesses kept rolling in until the big reveal at 7:00.

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We arrived home from equine therapy minutes before we were to go live on Facebook. Grace and Zach were already there, ready to support Molly and celebrate her exciting news.

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At 7:00 she opened the missionary portal and began reading…

We waited with bated breath as Molly revealed where she would be serving as a full time missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

Drumroll, please…

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Salt Lake City, Utah in the Salt Lake City South mission!!

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And she reports to the Missionary Training Center on April 1st.

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Which means I have exactly 47 days with my sweet Molly before she spreads her wings once again and soars. She will be an amazing missionary! Her capacity for love and selfless service will serve those in the Salt Lake City South mission well.

Change is hard, especially for my sons who associate change with trauma and loss. We are working hard to emotionally prepare everyone for the adjustment of Molly’s absence, while also preparing Molly for the experience of a lifetime. These are the moments we prepare our children for. We invest everything in the hopes they will grow into good and Godly people who love others and faithfully follow God’s leading in their lives, even when that leading takes them down unknown paths. I pray my children will all grow into people that humbly and courageously say, “Send me, Lord. I will go and do what You command,” wherever that may be.

Miss Molly, you fill our hearts with joy. I know you will be an amazing missionary and that your life story and the struggles you have had to navigate will be a source of strength for many. The light you exude will draw others to Christ. Thank you for your example and your faithfulness.

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We love you!