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anatess2

Missionary Life Essentials

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My son is entering the MTC in January for a bit of training prior to flying to the Philippines.  As such, I have been scouring the missionary parent groups looking for tips and lists of missionary essentials so I can (s)mother my son packing his stuff before he leaves.  Of course, my son has been packing his own bags for at least 10 years now when we travel but... I want to do this.  So  I'm doing it (or so he lets me think.  Hah hah.)

Anyway, in scouring around I found a list put up by somebody in the Tacloban Mission and the list makes me go hmmm... for example:  10 sets of garments... kneepads... etc.

So, I travel a lot to the Philippines for months at a time and everytime I go I only bring a backpack that is a carry-on item which contains all my personal stuff that I'm going to use the whole time I'm there.  That leaves my 2 checked-in items as purely for the give-aways and family requests.  I sure don't bring 10 garments because I wash my garments in the shower.

So yeah... I better ask y'all what you brought when you went on your missions.

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Your son won't be able to just go to the store or wash his clothes whenever he wants, the church does a pretty good job giving the parents a list of items that are needed depending on the location of their mission. I would follow that list. Once he arrives and finds that something else is needed send him some money to buy it.

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I bought an Echo and Johnston Murphy pair of shoes and they last all 2 years (though I did have a car in Every area).

I wouldn’t worry too much about a lot of misc accessories that sound convenient. My mom got me a towel that got cold when made wet, a convenient bag to store toiletries for when I do transfers, shoe bags, and some other stuff... never used any of them even once. The bare necessities are probably all that is needed and will be used.

10 pairs of garments is a great idea. More if he is going somewhere very wet. Lots of socks too.

 

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On 11/1/2019 at 11:31 AM, anatess2 said:

My son is entering the MTC in January for a bit of training prior to flying to the Philippines.  As such, I have been scouring the missionary parent groups looking for tips and lists of missionary essentials so I can (s)mother my son packing his stuff before he leaves.  Of course, my son has been packing his own bags for at least 10 years now when we travel but... I want to do this.  So  I'm doing it (or so he lets me think.  Hah hah.)

Anyway, in scouring around I found a list put up by somebody in the Tacloban Mission and the list makes me go hmmm... for example:  10 sets of garments... kneepads... etc.

So, I travel a lot to the Philippines for months at a time and everytime I go I only bring a backpack that is a carry-on item which contains all my personal stuff that I'm going to use the whole time I'm there.  That leaves my 2 checked-in items as purely for the give-aways and family requests.  I sure don't bring 10 garments because I wash my garments in the shower.

So yeah... I better ask y'all what you brought when you went on your missions.

Your boy has a real leg up in that you are from there—you know the climate; you know what things can be replenished locally versus what things would have to be sent from the US.  The wash-garments-in-the-shower thing is a cool idea, if he can be consistent about it and if he has a reliable place to dry them.  (The back grate of a refrigerator works nicely.)  

If I were talking to my 19-year-old self, I’d give me two pieces of advice:

1) Don’t take anything on the mission that you want to bring home again.  (Except your print scriptures, if that’s even still a thing for modern missionaries.) 

2) Have a fund set up so that you don’t have to rely on your monthly missionary allowance to buy what you need in-field.

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12 hours ago, Just_A_Guy said:

2) Have a fund set up so that you don’t have to rely on your monthly missionary allowance to buy what you need in-field.

Both of my mission presidents actively counseled against this.  But I do think it's a good idea if it's allowed.  Especially for missionaries in foreign countries.

 

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So, I found out that the mission is not an "internet connected" mission.  They are not allowed to bring smartphones or other mobile devices.  Which is sad because I was hoping it would be like the missionaries in Florida who have Facebook pages so they send out spiritual messages through their facebook account regularly.  They are allowed to access the internet in the ward building so they can call their mothers once a week without incurring long distance phone charges. 

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Ok, I'm trying not to panic.  I don't know how y'all's mothers survived this.  I'm gonna go ahead and turn this thread into a "sanity check" thread.

This is what's going on in my head right now - totally scattered, no rhyme or reason, they're just occupying my head.

@Just_A_Guy mentioned money... if he is allowed to access his money, he can use his card which will work in the Philippines (that's how I do it when I travel).  If he is not allowed to access his money, I can get money to him through my family if he needs it - the #1 thing I can think of why he would need this is if his Florsheim shoes don't make it through 2 years.  I'm gonna do what @Fether advised and get him another pair from Johnson Murphy.  Quality shoes in the Philippines are very expensive - even the made in the Philippines ones but it is cheaper than buying him one in the US then spending the money to ship it over in a quickness.

JAG also mentioned drying clothes - in the Philippines, clothes are hung out to dry in the sun.  I never had a problem with this because my brother's and cousins' houses where I live when I'm there have tall walls surrounding the property, so I can just hang my clothes in the backyard and nobody sees it.  This would not be the case most everywhere.  It seems freaky to me having one's garments hanging in a clothesline for everybody to see.  I'm gonna have to ask @askandanswer how he washed his garments!

My son doesn't look American at all.  He looks pure blooded Filipino - even more Filipino looking than a lot of Filipinos... which means - he won't get the luxury of being visibly foreign which makes most Filipinos approach him in English... he will be approached in the dialect.  The Tacloban Mission spans an area where there are at least 4 major dialects spoken plus multiple variations of each dialect.  So, his mission papers gave one language he is going to learn in the MTC.  From what I understand, he will just pick up the other dialects on the field.  This is gonna be a difficult mission.

Unless you've lived in the Philippines for a long time, you shouldn't drink the water... not even in people's houses.  I'm gonna get him a Berkey water bottle... or whatever water bottle y'all suggest is better than a Berkey.

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One more thing - 

I never did feel the need to do this with my garments... because in my house there are only 2 people wearing garments - if it's a woman's garments it's mine if it's a man's garments it's my husbands'... but now my son is going to start wearing garments - but he is 2 times smaller than my husband so if it's big men's garments it's my husband's if it's small men's garments it's my son's.... but what about in the mission field?  Growing up in the Philippines, we marked all our stuff with our initials so we know which is mine's and which is my sister's as we wore the same kind of stuff.  Are we allowed to put our initials in garments?  Then a missionary can identify his stuff from his companion's?

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27 minutes ago, anatess2 said:

Ok, I'm trying not to panic.  I don't know how y'all's mothers survived this.  I'm gonna go ahead and turn this thread into a "sanity check" thread.

This is what's going on in my head right now - totally scattered, no rhyme or reason, they're just occupying my head.

@Just_A_Guy mentioned money... if he is allowed to access his money, he can use his card which will work in the Philippines (that's how I do it when I travel).  If he is not allowed to access his money, I can get money to him through my family if he needs it - the #1 thing I can think of why he would need this is if his Florsheim shoes don't make it through 2 years.  I'm gonna do what @Fether advised and get him another pair from Johnson Murphy.  Quality shoes in the Philippines are very expensive - even the made in the Philippines ones but it is cheaper than buying him one in the US then spending the money to ship it over in a quickness.

JAG also mentioned drying clothes - in the Philippines, clothes are hung out to dry in the sun.  I never had a problem with this because my brother's and cousins' houses where I live when I'm there have tall walls surrounding the property, so I can just hang my clothes in the backyard and nobody sees it.  This would not be the case most everywhere.  It seems freaky to me having one's garments hanging in a clothesline for everybody to see.  I'm gonna have to ask @askandanswer how he washed his garments!

My son doesn't look American at all.  He looks pure blooded Filipino - even more Filipino looking than a lot of Filipinos... which means - he won't get the luxury of being visibly foreign which makes most Filipinos approach him in English... he will be approached in the dialect.  The Tacloban Mission spans an area where there are at least 4 major dialects spoken plus multiple variations of each dialect.  So, his mission papers gave one language he is going to learn in the MTC.  From what I understand, he will just pick up the other dialects on the field.  This is gonna be a difficult mission.

Unless you've lived in the Philippines for a long time, you shouldn't drink the water... not even in people's houses.  I'm gonna get him a Berkey water bottle... or whatever water bottle y'all suggest is better than a Berkey.

Yeah, the bane of my existence in northern Brazil was hanging out the laundry and then not being able to get it back in before the afternoon rainstorm.  Not sure if that’s an issue in the Philippines as well . . . ;) 

@dprh‘s insight is interesting.  I can see the potential issues where American elders can tap into additional hundreds or thousands of dollars while the native elders have no such option.  

On the other hand, an American living in a supposedly “third world” country with less than $50US to his name at any given moment, no guaranteed access to any additional funds, and his passport tucked away in a mission office safe hundreds of miles away . . . The older I get, the more amazed I am that I ever had that kind of faith.  :) 

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18 hours ago, anatess2 said:

Unless you've lived in the Philippines for a long time, you shouldn't drink the water... not even in people's houses.  I'm gonna get him a Berkey water bottle... or whatever water bottle y'all suggest is better than a Berkey.

This is old school...but...

Get him a TON of iodine tablets.

Also, yes, I would mark his initials on clothes if one is concerned about that.  A discrete mark which is not noticeable to all is probably the best way to go about it.

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3 hours ago, JohnsonJones said:

Also, yes, I would mark his initials on clothes if one is concerned about that.  A discrete mark which is not noticeable to all is probably the best way to go about it.

Can you do this for garments?

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Yes.  As long as they are something small and not really all that large.  I'd put it on the back right underneath the lining, or if one still has those with tags, on the tag somewhere.

To be honest, I don't think he will need to have such on his clothes, so I might just send him with a cloth pen instead (the type that you can put something on the cloth and it sticks on it) so if he needs to do so he can as needed.

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4 hours ago, anatess2 said:

Can you do this for garments?

Put his initials on the tag. 

In Mexico we washed by hand and hung our garments out, you don't have the same levels of privacy we are used to in the U.S. its not a big deal and 99.999% of the population won't know what they are looking at anyways.

Money, I wish I had access to more funds while on my mission. As an American everyone assumed I was rich (i'm not/wasn't) but an extra hundred a month would have gone a long way toward making life a little easier.

Shoes, buy quality shoes that can be resoled. I suspect he will be walking a lot and taking public transport. 

Buy quality suits. They will last his whole mission if he takes care of them.  Most times he will not wear the jacket so buy extra pants that are to be worn when he is not wearing his suit. there is nothing worse than a lonely barely worn suit jacket hanging in the closet with worn out pants don't allow it.

 

 

 

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43 minutes ago, anatess2 said:

My son greeted me in Cebuano this morning.  I was speechless.

If you practice Cebuano every day, you won't forget how to speak it next time.

(Words of wisdom from Vort.)

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And he's off.

So he left with 2 checked bags - 1 80L bag of his stuff for 2 years and a 40L bag to hold his Provo Winter outfits that will not be going to the Philippines with him.  He carried on his missionary everyday bag to hold his 3-day essentials if his checked bags don't make it to Salt Lake with his airplane. 

He checked, double checked, triple checked everything and was confident he got everything.  He was too excited to go that he didn't linger at all at Pre-TSA but walked right on through and got to his gate 10 minutes before first boarding call.  I usually wait until the very last minute before I go through TSA to linger with family at the airport and is usually one of the last people to reach the gate with only minutes (sometimes seconds) to spare before the door closes.  Now that I had a bit of time to ponder on the matter, I start to think... I didn't see him pack his pocket watch and his hair brush...

And this is the weirdest feeling.  Ever since he got his gps-able phone 10 years ago, this is the first time that I can't just look at my phone to see where he's at.  And he can't just send me a quick text to let me know he made it to where he's headed.  My house is still as chaotic as ever with my youngest son still making lots of noises with his friends but there's a kind of quiet in my brain that is stuck at my gps app willing for it to put the dot on where my other son is.

And yes... he left with 10 garments... all discreetly initialed.

 

 

 

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On 11/1/2019 at 1:11 PM, dprh said:

I'd suggest thrift store suits.  I tore through my two nice store-bought suits a few months in.  I was lucky to find some members who were good with fixing them, but by 6 months, I was wearing thrift store suits.

I second this. My son insisted on nice suits (that he paid for) And they were stolen early on his mission.

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8 minutes ago, anatess2 said:

And he's off.

Congratulations! Sorry I didn't see this thread before, but the advice I would have given you was given, so no loss there, lol.  Shoes are my big advice, btw. 

So excited for your son and your family.  

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3 minutes ago, LiterateParakeet said:

I second this. My son insisted on nice suits (that he paid for) And they were stolen early on his mission.

So... being on a Philippines Mission, he doesn't need suits.  He only brought them for MTC and he'll be shipping them back home before he flies off to the Philippines.

But, what we did was get shirts and pants from missionarymall.com.  They have a 2-year guarantee!  (Well, technically only 21 months).  If anything happens to any of his things from missionarymall within 21 months, they will replace them for free!  Unless he was negligent - like he burns it with an iron - then they'll only replace for 50% orig price.  So, if it gets worn out, ripped, discolored, etc. etc., full replacement for free.  Only caveat is - it's only free shipping within the USA.  So I'll have to figure out how to ship it to him.

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4 minutes ago, anatess2 said:

So... being on a Philippines Mission, he doesn't need suits.  He only brought them for MTC and he'll be shipping them back home before he flies off to the Philippines.

That's  cool. My that went to Ghana didn't need suits either, and he went to the Ghanian MTC. Missionarymall is the best!

So since its not an internet connected mission, will you be able to talk to him weekly? 

 

Edited by LiterateParakeet

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10 minutes ago, LiterateParakeet said:

That's  cool. My that went to Ghana didn't need suits either, and he went to the Ghanian MTC. Missionarymall is the best!

So since its not an internet connected mission, will you be able to talk to him weekly? 

 

Touch and go.

Like, last year, 2 typhoons hit his mission in November and December (Christmas Eve even!) - so the coastal missionaries weren't able to call home for 2 months, not even through Christmas! 

Some Stake Centers in his mission have internet, so if he happens to be assigned in one of these, he'll be able to internet-call on his pday.  Some areas without internet in the Stake Center have cyber cafes in the town center.  They're allowed to internet-call at a cyber cafe with their missionary allowance money.  Some areas don't have any of these so they can't call unless some member has an internet-capable cellphone with good signal - which will be rare in these areas.  In any case, every pday, they are to call the mission office with their not-internet-capable mission-provided phone to let them know when (if they are able) they will call their parents, and the mission office will email the parents when to expect the phone call.  This makes it so we will be prepared to receive his call - which will can be in the middle of the night for us.

Edited by anatess2

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On 11/1/2019 at 11:31 AM, anatess2 said:

...

So yeah... I better ask y'all what you brought when you went on your missions.

Every mission is unique and has some differences.  As I have read the missionary journals of my ancestors I realize that their missions and needs were very different than mine.   Even my good friends that served at the same time as I did - had different challenges and needs than I.  I am of the opinion that what is needed is suggested by the mission president and just about anything else will be more of a hindrance than benefit.   My oldest son had problem in Mexico on his mission because being from the USA most of his companions were Mexican and he realized that taking much of his own culture was problematic - not only for his companions but for the social structure he lived in as a missionary.  I remember him asking that we not send Christmas photos because of the abundance of gifts nor did we like pictures of our home - He felt our home was too big and opulent. 

 

The Traveler

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39 minutes ago, Traveler said:

Every mission is unique and has some differences.  As I have read the missionary journals of my ancestors I realize that their missions and needs were very different than mine.   Even my good friends that served at the same time as I did - had different challenges and needs than I.  I am of the opinion that what is needed is suggested by the mission president and just about anything else will be more of a hindrance than benefit.   My oldest son had problem in Mexico on his mission because being from the USA most of his companions were Mexican and he realized that taking much of his own culture was problematic - not only for his companions but for the social structure he lived in as a missionary.  I remember him asking that we not send Christmas photos because of the abundance of gifts nor did we like pictures of our home - He felt our home was too big and opulent. 

 

The Traveler

Takes after his father?

My son is different.  He knows who he is and where he comes from and what shaped him to be who he is.  He is not embarrassed by it.  Just because he has a bigger house than a lot of Filipinos doesn't mean he is better than them and he is open to the opportunity to teach others of this fact and open to the opportunity to learn from others.  So okay, he is his mother's son....

By the way, does my memory serve me right... you're in SLC?  Or was it @mirkwood...

Edited by anatess2

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