Tag Archives: Salt Lake City South mission

Molly’s Missionary Message #9

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(Mom’s notes in red)

Hello everyone!

This week has been crazy! Some highs and a few lows, but a whole lot of miracles throughout! Right now Sister Tolley and I are spending a lot of time finding.
(When Molly uses the term “finding” she is referring to the process of seeking out and reaching out to others who might want to learn more about gospel of Jesus Christ)
As missionaries, we are still in quarantine and some days it can be hard, but over all there is so much great joy that can be found by reaching out to others with great love, personally growing closer to God, and being stretched every day to become a bit better than the day before. It is very humbling!
(Much of Molly’s week is spent in her apartment. Covid-19 limits the amount of public interaction the missionaries are allowed to have with others. The exceptions to that rule include weekly grocery shopping, daily exercise, service projects that can be done outside while social distancing, volunteering once a week at the Bishop’s Storehouse (a food pantry), and a once a week social activity with the other missionaries in her district.)
Here are some photos from those activities…
One day last week Molly and her companion, Sister Tolley, had the opportunity to serve their landlord by doing some yard work.
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Another day they were able to serve a woman from church by working in her garden. As a token of her gratitude for their service, she sent them home with lots of fresh veggies for their fridge!
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While walking home from that service project they passed a farm with goats.
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Anyone who knows Molly knows that goats are her all-time favorite animal. The owner was outside, and seeing Molly’s excitement, he invited her to step into the pen and feed them.
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Molly was beside herself. It made her day!!
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Every Wednesday Molly gets together with the other missionaries serving in her district. Together they share a meal and enjoy a fun activity together. Often those activities involve getting outside and enjoying the beauty of Utah! 
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One of the highlights of Molly’s week is always volunteering at the Bishop’s Storehouse. There she works with other volunteers sorting food, bagging vegetables, and filling grocery orders for those in need. This week she was on potato duty!
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Today was my p-day, I got my first perm, which was a fun adventure!
(P-day stands for preparation day. It is the day set aside for those serving full-time missions to care for their own personal needs. It is, in essence, their “day off.” This is the day Molly and her companion will do their grocery shopping, get a haircut, catch up on laundry, go hiking or do something fun in the area.)
I have always loved how my hair would look when I would I curl it, so I took the plunge and decided to perm it!
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My sweet companion waited and passed the time sending emails as I got my hair done.
Three hours later and ta-da!
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One of the best parts of my week would be Sister Tolley.
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She is such a sweetheart and everyday I learn something new from her.
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It is a great blessing to be able to motivate each other to work hard, have humor and joy in this work, experience adventures in cooking, and feel unified as companions.
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It has been really positive!
Shout out to her for being a awesome companion and friend on my mission!
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I don’t really have a whole lot to report for this week, but I am super excited for the days ahead.
It is always exciting to see what God has in store for us.
Love,
Sister McCleery

Molly’s Missionary Message #8

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Hello!! 

This week has been FULL of new changes and adventures! 

Last Tuesday was transfer day. It is crazy that I am going into my second transfer already! This transfer was full of changes. One of the biggest changes was that I got a new, reassigned companion who served in Chile for 9 months! Sister Tolley is the sweetest thing and has been a huge blessing to me! (I will be helping her adjust to this area and she will continue training me, because I have still so much to learn!) In the end we are learning together and I feel that, because of it, we are all the more unified as companions and friends. We also moved into a new apartment and have a new p-day, which has switched from Monday to Wednesday. Although all of these changes have taken a day or two to get used to, they have also brought new experiences and opportunities!

Sister Tolley and I spend a decent amount of time in quarantine because of Covid-19, but we are trying to find the blessings and God’s hand in each day. Our day to day events consist of: 

Cooking meals,

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 Trying to get into the habit of running in the morning,

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 Buying ice cream and eating it from the container,

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 Going on hikes,

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Studying, seeking, praying, teaching,

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 And all in all, just trying to keep ourselves busy!

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We are seeking to work very hard everyday to be a blessing to others and use our time in a way that is pleasing in the sight of God.

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I love the quote by President Russell M. Nelson (our prophet) “The Lord loves effort!” This quote has been a good reminder because being a missionary during this crazy time has resulted in moments of feeling drained and discouraged, but as I weigh these moments against all of the blessings we have received in return, it is well worth it! 

I am so thankful for the challenges and trials that we experience daily because it brings into contrast the light and love of God, making it shine all the brighter! God never gives us more than we can handle. 

God is good- Always good!

Sending hugs and much love,

Sister McCleery

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A Poem written by Sister Molly McCleery:

“The trials I’m given, are they meant to crush me?

My perspective is so very limited to what I understand and see.

But yet I stand firm to the truth that God is my loving Father.

Why do I let fear and doubts seep in to add to personal bother?

Trials may seem heavy to bear, yet they’ll never be more than you can handle,

They are opportunities to grow your faith, adding like the guidance of a candle.

At times our burdens are just heavy enough to get us to our knees,

For this will open doors, because you now have the keys.

God anxiously waits for our acceptance to His hand that reaches out,

Once we do, then everything seems a bit better, resulting in a joyful shout!

If God wants us to have joy, why are there trials in the first place?

Now this can be addressed by breaking it down to the foundation base.

I believe this time on earth is an opportunity for growth and learning,

Where we experience opposition and practice the art of discerning.

I have turned more towards Christ in dark times, for I desire a source of light.

In Him I find comfort and strength, for He is my eyes of sight.

 I’m grateful that through Him I don’t need to feel alone, even for a day.

Because I know Jesus Christ can help us feel more than perhaps just “okay.”

Every time we fall down and feel that we are done,

Remember the love that is testified through God’s only begotten son!

He can and will lift you and clean you up,

Christ’s love and healing is like an overflowing cup.

This is one of the most amazing and humbling experiences to endeavor,

For that is He loves you, today, tomorrow and always, even to forever!”

Molly’s Missionary Message #7

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This week was a bit of a rougher week.

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I found myself dealing with a lot of internal worries, but even with those struggles I saw good things come from the hard moments.

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I’ve noticed that I am being stretched by God right now, which never feels good in the moment, but is always appreciated later. I rejoice in trials because they honestly can be blessings in disguise. Sweet Sister Seal has been a huge support this week in lifting me up and helping me to stress less over the little things.
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Update: Transfers are a comin’! This week will bring a new district, a new companion and a new apartment. That’s a lot of “new” in a week!
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I am a bit overwhelmed by all the changes that this week will bring but am looking forward to the blessings that will accompany those changes.
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The biggest blessing in my life is God’s continuation of tender mercies.
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During district council this week I was assigned to share a miracle that happened from the week, and the first thing that came to mind is all the pink writing in my journal.
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I keep a daily journal. This is a habit I began almost 10 years ago. Since leaving on my mission I began the practice of recording the blessings of the day, and moments where I saw God’s hand in my life, in a different colored ink. I chose to start doing this so that the blessings of the day would stand out in contrast to the rest of my day.  Doing this lets me visually see how good God is and how present He is in my life.
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It has been so humbling to see how aware God is of me. Through those moments of good, He speaks to me, saying, “I love you. Keep going. You are doing great.”
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These moments come just when I need them most. It could be advice from my beautiful mother, a testimony-strengthening experience, or even a good talk given by another.
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I know God is with each of us individually and personally. He is aware of the lows and highs of our daily life. I know that God gives us tender mercies that may seem subtle, but each tender mercy shows how much love He has for us!
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I love you all so very much and am sending hugs your way!
God is good, always good!
Love,  Sister McCleery

Molly’s Missionary Message #6

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“God is in the details of the details of the details.”

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Molly and her missionary companion, Sister Seal.

This week has been FULL of tender mercies and miracles from God…

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The sister missionaries enjoy spending free time on temple grounds.

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But before I jump into that, I am going to start with sharing some random moments of missionary life:

° On July 4th we met as a district to play sports and games at a park.

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When we were playing ultimate frisbee I got a splinter in my foot. As I was about to get it out with a knife I sort of cut myself because it was a knife that I am not used to. One of the elders kindly helped me out with Band-Aids for the blood, and another helped get the splinter out of my foot. Don’t follow my example, kids!

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This is what happens when you play ultimate frisbee barefoot. When I asked Molly why she playing without shoes, she explained that her shoes were slowing her down and she couldn’t let the boys win. Lesson learned!

° There are 45 new missionaries coming in the next week or so, which is crazy! These additions will bring many changes with missionary companionships, and there will be 4 new zones. (The mission locations are breaking into smaller areas because there are so many missionaries. Each companionship will have a smaller area to cover.)

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The joy of Jesus Christ just radiates from these four sisters!

° Today we went shopping at Costco. It just wasn’t the same without the joy of free samples, but it’s understandable with life right now. We were walking around shopping when I noticed a lady struggling to bag a package of cooked chicken. My parents raised me to help when needed (Thank you parents!), so I walked over to help her out, not thinking much of it. As we were leaving Costco, that same sweet lady ran up to us and expressed her desire to pay for our groceries. She gave us some cash and I had to resist the urge to hug her right then and there. She was so kind, and in my eyes this was a tender mercy of kindness that meant the world to me!

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God is a merciful and loving Father both in the big things but also the small things. For example, on Tuesday, the nine-year-old boy we have been teaching was baptized. So was his younger sister. Both were baptized by their father.

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Baptism day for their young investigators.

I was humbled to watch the connection and love within this  family. I really felt the Spirit! (Their baptism occurred on the day I was celebrating my one month anniversary of being out in the field. What a perfect way to spend it!)

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Another tender mercy came yesterday. I was having an off day and struggling a bit. God knew this. He blessed me with small sources of strength and comfort so I could continue to press on. This added strength came through a devotional on Sunday night called “Bears and Prayers.”

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It was all about prayer and communication with God. It was a powerful devotional and it helped me to feel God’s love for me personally and individually.

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I know God loves each of us and He truly is in the details of both the ups and the downs of our lives.

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A visit to the Asian market for some fun international treats.

“He is in the details of the details of the details.”

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Molly ended her day, on the 4th of July, by watching fireworks from the balcony of her apartment. A beautiful view of the valley!

I love you all!

Never forget, God is good. Always good!

Molly’s Missionary Message #5

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I made it!

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 I can’t believe I have been on my mission for a month…It has been truly extraordinary!

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This week has been filled with great joy, learning, and laughter. This week I had my first baptism. It was a young man who was a miracle referral. It was a beautiful event that left me teary eyed.

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There was great love and support for him which was such a blessing.

We also had our first service opportunity (other than volunteering at the Bishop’s Storehouse.)

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We got to weed the bishop’s yard with his family. It was such a treat because with the pandemic, missionaries are in quarantine and have few opportunities to get out of the house. It is the greatest feeling to serve and bless the lives around you! After we were done weeding, the Bishop ordered pizza for us to pick up and take home.

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This act of kindness overwhelmed me with gratitude. Honestly, the smallest acts of kindness can mean the world to another!

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Sister Briones got a new companion this week, which was bittersweet.

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Luckily, we still get to see her a lot since Sister Seal and I have a car and drive Sister Briones and her companion where they need to go. We honestly get to see each other quite a bit. Her new companion is Sister Ayers. Sister Ayers served in Japan for 8 months before the virus got really bad and she was reassigned to the States.

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(Mosiah 2:17) “When ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God.”

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It has been so humbling to see this scripture come to life. As I have served those around me, I have been blessed with great love towards them. I am filled with the Holy Ghost, which gives me joy! It has been such a blessing to have the opportunity to serve so many people even with, and despite, the virus. Moments of serving others and being served is a continual reminder that God is good, always good. He is aware of us and is always watching out for us! We are His children. He is our father.

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And He loves us more than we can even comprehend!

Sending big hugs your way,

Sister McCleery

 

Molly’s Missionary Message #3

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Hello friends and family!

I’ve always loved the declaration: “God is good, always good!” It is a truth I hold dear to my heart and one that I often recite. I find comfort in this reminder and bear testimony of the truthfulness of this statement. This week consisted of some amazing miracles and moments that added to my testimony of God’s goodness.

Here are some of the highlights from my week:

– We got a miracle referral for a little boy who desires to be baptized. He is the sweetest thing and I am humbled by all he teaches me during every lesson we have with him.

– We had another miracle call from a young man who has desired to be baptized for a while!

– Seeing the temple and the mountains off into the distance every day is amazing! I am in awe and feel so humbled to see God’s love illustrated through the beauty of the world around us.

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– Every lesson we teach (which is often at least once a day) is humbling to me.  I love teaching about Jesus Christ, and I love feeling God’s hand in the work!

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– I am grateful for every day…every day that God teaches me something new. Every day that I am stretched in a new way. Every day I get to be a missionary. A mission is hard but the greatest feeling! I rejoice in the great goodness of God!!

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Update on me and the mission:

Today is P-day, which is preparation day, and this is how I have spent it…

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My two companions and I went Target shopping. I spent the entire time trying to convince myself not to buy what I don’t need, and I was actually successful, surprisingly… I love shopping!

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We ate tasty food out as a treat,

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We volunteered at the bishop’s store house,

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Called and talked to family,

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Love from home!

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And did some self-care.

P-day is a good recovery day after a busy week, because it is focused on caring for yourself.

Everyone needs to have a personal lift-me-up day to go strong the rest of the week.

I also did my laundry today. I was so excited to have clean clothes (which my landlord even folded for me.) It is truly the simple joys in life that bring the greatest happiness!

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God is Good, always good!

Love you lots!

-Sister McCleery

 

Molly’s Missionary Message #2

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I have been here almost a week and I can’t believe how much I have learned and gained in these past few days.  

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More than anything I am so humbled. Daily, I feel my faith grow and deepen.  This has come from personal scripture study, spiritual teaching experiences, and experiencing a more sincere relationship with God grow as I turn to Him throughout the day. 

If anyone was curious what my days are like as I serve in the Salt Lake City South mission during quarantine, here you go: 

At 6:30 I wake up! 

6:30-9:00 am is spent exercising, eating breakfast and planning out our day.  

9:00-10:00 am is when I have my own personal scripture study. This is my favorite time of day.  There is something so special about taking personal time to talk to and get to know Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father. Every morning we receive a list of spiritual reading tasks to focus on which provides wonderful opportunities for learning!  

Throughout the day there are blocks of time that are set aside for specific tasks.  12:00 pm is lunch, 5:00-6:00 is dinner time, and 7:30- 9:00 is companion study. Companion study with my two awesome companions provides a fun opportunity to do role play practice, share what we learned, and review rules and goals.  

My day ends with bed at 10:30 pm. 

The open blocks of time between those regularly occurring activities are filled with teaching opportunities, reaching out to others via technology, and meeting with other missionaries. It is a full schedule but I enjoy it!  

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One thing that I have learned this week is the realization that I need to rely upon Jesus Christ every moment of my day. I think I used to be more passive about this heavenly hotline, but on a mission, it is a life line!  

As I study His words, I see His words come to life. I feel His deep love and grace flow into every moment of my day. 

I need Him every day.  

He is my Savior and Redeemer.  

He is my life jacket and friend. 

 He is my brother and healer. 

 He is the master potter that lovingly molds me to become my best self.  

He is the living waters that keep me strong to endure spiritual trials.  

Christ is my joy and my peace.  

I bear testimony that He lives!  

He loves us and is always reaching out to us saying, “Come follow me.”  

I rejoice in the great blessing of having Christ in my life because I wouldn’t be who I am without Him.  

Deepest of love, 

Sister McCleery 

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Molly’s Missionary Message #1

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Hello friends and family!

I have been out in Draper, Utah officially for four days, but I feel like I have been out here for weeks!
Tuesday was a big day, starting with good-byes to my family in the morning. That was hard.
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Flying required two separate layovers to get to Utah. Once I arrived I was given a lot of new information. I met my mission president, President Meredith and his sweet wife. They are so very kind and have welcomed me with so much love.
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In fact, everyone welcomed me with open arms, which was such a blessing because it all started off very intimidating. In the afternoon of my first day I also met my two companions, Sister Seal and Sister Briones, party of three!
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They are so adorable and have such sweet spirits.
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Over all, Tuesday was full of lots of changes. Wednesday and Thursday offered a more of a normal schedule, as us sisters filled the day with teaching opportunities, meeting our district,
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Preparation day shopping,
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And a drive to the mountains. (They were stunning!)
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It has all been a lot to process but oh how great God’s love and mercy is! This goes up there as one of the greatest lessons God has been teaching me. John 14:27 is a powerful scripture to me right now because I have had many moments when fear or doubt have slipped in, leaving me feeling inadequate, but God is real! He has given me so many tender mercies. He doesn’t just help keep me afloat. He helps me to soar!
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 God is so good, always good! He hears our prayers and answers them. Perhaps not in the way we expect but peace in Christ can always be found!
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I am so deeply humbled by God’s grace and the love that I feel every day as I turn to Him to lift me up. I am also very grateful for this sacred opportunity to serve the Lord and be a blessing unto others.
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God knows and loves us individually and personally. He is good, always good and I believe this with a heart that overflows with gratitude.
Deepest love,
Sister McCleery

And She’s Off!

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After a two month delay we finally found ourselves 12 hours from Molly’s departure…

And it was with a muddy mix of emotions that we prepared our hearts for her leave. It was so good and yet so hard, and I found myself navigating one of those happy/sad days we have talked about in the past. How can one’s heart feel so full of gratitude and joy and yet so empty at the thought of impending loss?

It was an emotional minefield we were all navigating.

Part of me wanted to pause time so as to etch out a few more weeks…or years…of time with Molly before she took flight. Yet another part of me was eager to move past the dread and anticipation of the inevitable and just rip the Band-Aid off already. As I watched the minutes pass by on that final day before her departure, I couldn’t decide if I needed the hands of the clock to slow down or speed up.

So, I tried to not even look at the clock, and instead focused on each moment I had with my sweet ray of sunshine.

Our final day with Molly was filled with the mundane and uneventful moments of everyday life. We ran to the store to get groceries for her dinner request, did a final pick-up/clean-up of her bedroom, and watched the final two episodes of the series “Christy,” a favorite series from my childhood which has become our daily mother/daughter indulgence. It was all such normal stuff, but they gained significance and value in my heart knowing that those “normal” activities with Molly would be paused for the next year and a half.

President Hoke arrived at our home at 6:00 pm to conduct Molly’s final interview and officially set her apart as a full time missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

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Due to Covid-19 regulations, we had only immediate family attend, and her setting apart took place in our home rather than at the church. It was a beautiful and moving experience as she was blessed and received divine guidance and council for the 16 months ahead.

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We then took advantage of everyone looking spiffy in their church clothes to capture some final pictures with Sister McCleery.

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Molly’s last night at home was spent taking care of last minute tasks like laying out her clothes for an early morning flight and printing out her boarding tickets. Grace and Zach joined us for dinner. We had Molly’s favorite: spaghetti pizza, Caesar salad, and baguettes toasted with garlic oil.

After dinner we all gathered in the living room for family scripture study with Sister McCleery. Before we headed to bed Molly called me into her room to present a special gift she had made me. She acknowledged the loneliness I might feel in her absence so she put together a shadowbox bearing one of her sweaters and missionary name tags. “It is just something to make you feel like I’m still around when you are feeling sad,” she explained.

It was a gift of love beyond measure and will be treasured for the next 16 months and far beyond!

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I don’t think anyone slept much that night. We were all struggling with our own mix of emotions about the upcoming farewell the next morning, while also feeling anxious that we might oversleep.

The house began to stir at 4:00 am. The dozen alarms we set out of fear of not waking up, didn’t let us down. Molly was the last to arise. I went in to check on her progress at 4:30 am only to discover her still fast asleep. I’m glad I went in to check on her! Evidently she decided not to set her alarm since everyone else had multiple alarms set. She figured someone would wake her up.

We were out the door by 5:00 am and on our way to the Pittsburgh airport.

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Braden and Tyler opted not to go with us. When we woke them up they said they would rather say good-bye and go back to sleep. I think the thought of watching Molly walk through security was just too much to manage. It would feel too much like she was walking out of their lives forever.

Although it was just Rusty, Toby and I seeing her off from our home, Grace and Zach woke early and met us at the airport to say goodbye. It meant the world to Molly and was an incredible act of kindness on Zach and Gracie’s part. They surprised Molly with signs to celebrate the start of this new adventure.

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As we entered the airport they were there waiting for us with the signs in hand.

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We checked Molly’s luggage and made our way toward security.

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There, outside the metal detectors, we said our good-byes…

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Stealing a few final hugs and kisses from our sweet girl.

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There were tears, words of love and encouragement, final reminders, and one last squeeze from each of us before she headed on her way.

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It was with a mix of emotions that we drove home.

I had a knot in my stomach all day as I waited for word that she successfully navigated her connecting flights and arrived safely in Utah. At 4:30pm I received the call I had been waiting for. She made it safely to Utah, met with her mission president and his wife,

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And was handed over to the two sister missionaries that will serve as her companions for the time being. Sister Seal hails from California and Sister Briones is from the Philippines.

It was a quick phone call but Molly sounded wonderful, and it gave me such peace of mind to know she made it safely and was settling in just fine.

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We will be getting a virtual visit with Molly twice a week, in addition to emails and letters. I think that will definitely make things easier for the boys. It will help confirm the fact that although Molly is gone for a while, she isn’t gone from their lives forever.

She will also be emailing a weekly updates with pictures and news about her mission, which I will be sharing on the blog once a week, so all our friends around the world who have watched Molly grow up on this blog can continue following her adventures.

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For now, I am happy to report that Miss Molly is safe and well and living her best life, and we couldn’t be happier for her!

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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!