James and Sara Perry are serving in the Virginia Richmond Mission as President and Mission Mom.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Here are some pictures from Virginia.

First is an adorable couple of owl cupcakes made by Emma.

Next we have dinner at the mission home with President and a couple of the Elders.

Trip to Monticello during Esther's visit. Here's Eliza and Emma.

In the spirit of Halloween, Esther and Joseph stayed up late to prank the family. Visions of gruesome proportions were found in the spice cupboard and the kitchen fridge.

It's amazing what a cheap batch of googly eyes, ketchup and red food coloring can do to condiments.

More adorable cupcakes from Emma!

Sister Missionaries enjoying dinner at the mission home.

Sister Perry and the other sister missionaries.

President Perry and some missionaries.

Learning to hula apparently.



And more scrumptious cupcakes by Emma! Way to go girl!

Friday, December 24, 2010

I Was Looking at My Hands the Other Day

I was looking at my hands the other day. They looked vaguely unfamiliar. I couldn’t put my finger (a little pun for you) on it for a while. Then suddenly it occurred to me. They’re clean. No purple under my fingernails from canning a hundred quarts of grape juice. No cuticles stained brown from working in the garden or canning peaches. No paint residue. No wounds from saws and sanders. The nails have grown out, my calluses are gone – my hands look normal. How weird.

Life is a little weird here too. We have been dealing with problems that are hard to nail down. Some of our missionaries suffer from mental health issues. It is interesting that a mission can bring those things to the surface. In a strange way I think it may be one of the blessings of serving a mission.

Away from home and separated from a lot of the habits that relieve stress – sometimes in healthy ways (i.e. playing the piano or guitar, going to a movie with friends, baking cookies, watching reruns of the Waltons on youtube, going to the gym, playing games with your family or friends, etc.) and sometimes in not so healthy ways (i.e. hours of tv, headphones, computer games, mind-numbing music, surfing the web, etc) missionaries have to dig down deep and find answers and coping mechanisms within themselves. Some missionaries find that stress and anxiety build up and become a problem to manage.

Missions are hard – and wonderful. They are the refiner’s fire and, if we have the right attitude, a party all at once. Most of our missionaries figure out how to climb up on the positive attitude wagon and their whole mission is like two years at a very intensive session of EFY; lots of camaraderie, lots of high-fives, and lots of interaction with the Spirit - with some down-days and opposition thrown in just to make it interesting. But not everyone is the same and some struggle finding their happy place on their mission. I can see that this will be one of our challenges – to help those that struggle and to keep from struggling ourselves.

Love to all of you,
Sara Perry

Christmas 2010 in Richmond, Virginia

This is a weird time of year for missionaries. It is both very hard and exquisitely sweet all at the same time. Everyone's homesick but most continue to be brave, committed and hardworking -- making things happen. Lots of baptisms scheduled for Saturday and it's supposed to snow like crazy here -- and this is a town that stops dead still for snow. Everyone panics. Courtney and Mom and Carol are coming that day. I hope we get them all here safe and sound!

Christena and Julia were here at the beginning of the month. It was such a sweet thing to have them here. The only bad part is that they had to go home – it reminded me of that part in “Mary Poppins” when she gets Uncle Albert to float down from the ceiling by depressing him with the news that it was time to go home. We were just the same – all of the fizz went out of us for a few days. But eventually we rallied and shook off the gloom – because Christmas is coming!!

We have our tree up and the house decorated. I find myself torn between taking care of missionaries and trying to maintain a somewhat normal life for Eliza and Emma. I am going to try and make 1200 German Sour Cream Twists in the next four days. Six for each missionary....they may have to settle for two or three.

Joseph is leaving for the Mission Training Center right after Christmas - he will fly into Salt Lake City on the 27th. One of our old AP's (he was just released a couple of months ago and lives in Draper), is picking him up from the airport - then Courtney is flying in that night. Joseph will have that Monday and Tuesday and then he will go into the MTC on Wed. Several of the missionaries from here, including one of our other assistants, are flying home on the 28th (Tues) and they all want to get together and take him to the MTC on Wed. Several of them will not even be released yet - they will still have on their nametags! Joseph has gotten pretty close to these Elders - he has gone on many exchanges with them because they serve in a singles ward near our house and they have to have a third person alone when they teach young women.

Our work here continues to move forward rapidly. Our testimonies grow as we see miracles, our hearts break when our missionaries have troubles. It's a very up and down world out here. James continues to go at an outrageous pace! He is so good at picking these missionaries up and dusting them off when they get discouraged -- then he sends them back out and amazingly they go right back to work -- they are so committed to the Lord.

We have two mission conferences on the 21st and the 23rd -- they will be our Christmas celebration with all the missionaries. The families in the wards in our mission have all taken part in getting little things together and making stockings for the missionaries - - all 178 or so of them. It was kind of crazy getting it all organized and we still don't know how it will work out -- we will be getting together with the senior missionaries next Monday to put them together-- yikes! We have been getting so many bags of this little gift and that little treat that they have collected -- everyone loves to take care of these Elders and Sisters. We are so grateful for that!

Small World Events: We went to the DC Temple with Joseph last Saturday and met some folks whose daughter is married to Harvey Glick’s son Brandon. Then we met a young man serving in the clothing distribution center who is the son of Leon Wilde who grew up in Second Ward in Seattle. He and I went to school together. We have since been in touch by E-mail – what a nice “coincidence”.

We hope that everyone is having a sweet Christmas this year. We always try to spend time reading about and thinking about our Savior Jesus Christ during this time. His mission and Atonement are the crowning events of all the ages. His gifts of repentance and resurrection reconcile us with our Heavenly Father and give meaning to our existence here. We love Him. We seek to serve Him. We are humbled by His love for all of Heavenly Father’s children. He is the “good news” that our missionaries offer to the world.

Love, Sara and James Perry

PS – Just a little note to tell you how crazy the snow makes everyone here – it’s supposed to snow tomorrow – so they cancelled school!!?? Already -- and it’s not even midnight! And it’s not even snowing!?? The girls are doing a dance in the kitchen.