On Monday, which is preparation day for a vast number of missionaries and the day most of their moms eagerly anticipate, we are blessed to receive long detailed emails from Savannah. I have come to realize, though, that detailed emails are not a universal thing that all moms enjoy.
I recently and reluctantly ventured back onto Facebook as part of my CSM responsibilities, and while I'm not totally sure I like being there yet, one of the great things I've discovered is the Alpine Missionary Moms FB page. Holy cow! What an awesome way to get to know so many of the moms who have missionaries currently serving in the same mission as Savannah. I have learned so much about Savannah's mission and made so many new friends.
One of the moms of an elder currently serving in Savannah's district posted this on that FB page on Monday...
I happened to be emailing Savannah so I took a screenshot of it and sent it to her and then thanked her for sending me more details because I would die if I only got two or three sentences every week. She was horrified and said that from now on (until one of them is transferred) she would include an Elder Gibbs report with her weekly emails to me. And then Savannah sent this (which I posted as a reply)
For Elder Gibbs' Mom: Hello! Here's an update of what Elder Gibbs did this week:Monday they went grocery shopping at Penny after their studies, and then they went shopping at H&M and other stores because his companion Elder Bolt is a shopaholic. :) Then they went to the church to email and play basketball, and chair soccer (Elder Gibbs' favorite game that he bugs us all to play with him until we finally give in.) Then we all went to FHE where we played ping pong. Tuesday we all went to zone training and then toured Vienna together! Wednesday night we had an appointment at the Hirschmann's, a super cute family with three little girls, and ever since Elder Spencer left, Elder Gibbs has become quite the "child whisperer!" He runs around and chases them and plays with them. It's super cute. We played with their turtles and had a little FHE lesson. Thursday they went to the hospital to visit a woman who is dating a less active member. She checked herself into a psychiatric ward because she had panic attacks, but they taught her the restoration and she wants to get baptized! She has been to church almost every week since I've been here, and she is lovely! They have to help her with a smoking problem though, and get her and her less active boyfriend married or moved into separate houses before she can be baptized. Friday they had appointments at the church all day, and taught a few German lessons. Saturday was his birthday and we called him about four times and sang to him in about 12 different languages. After our appointments for the day we met the elders at the church and gave Elder Gibbs some birthday presents, and then we all looked through some old clothes left at the church, and then we all headed back to our apartments on the same bahn. Sunday they didn't have any appointments so they went home for studies and dinner after church, and then went finding.
Wow. That's kinda creepy that I know their whole schedule for the week... But we just see them so much...haha!I know some people are super private. I worried about posting that letter publicly for the whole FB page to see, but I didn't know where else to put it. I worried a little about what the companion's mom would think about that "shopaholic" comment Savannah threw in. I worried that maybe people would think it was actually creepy that Savannah knew so much about this little elder's schedule. But I've talked to that mom a couple of times, and I thought I would take the chance. It felt like a generous thought to me, and since Savannah and I both had it, I just hit SEND and then held my breath for about 4 hours until she finally saw it and commented.
Liebe Grüße,Sister Thunell
Um, what a surprisingly happy stir that little email caused on FB! All day long moms kept reading Savannah's email and the comments left by Elder Gibbs' mom and the happiness she felt knowing all those details. She said she had never gotten such a detailed report about her son's week! She had been so sad on the actual day of his birthday and then his actual email was a bit of a let down. It took Savannah all of ten minutes to write that email and send it to me, but what a huge gift it was for his mom. I'm not sure how Elder Gibbs is going to feel knowing that one of the sister missionaries is writing to his mom and giving her weekly reports of his life, but if it means that his p-days are freed up a little more so he can play chair soccer, he may be fine with it. :)
I was so surprised at how little it took to calm that sweet missionary mom's heart, how grateful she was to Savannah for making the effort to send those details, and how much more she would have loved to have heard those things from her son!
I know that words and emotions do not flow freely from everyone the way they do from Savannah or from me, and I certainly wouldn't expect that little elder to write a novel to his mom next week, but I think if we knew how much the smallest signs of life meant to the people who are looking for them, we might be a little more inclined to say a few more words...