|This was probably also totally inappropriate. One of the bishops councilors took the picture. We will repent.|
Topic: Sister Madison Bailee Kramer Aug. 25, 2013
Good afternoon everybody
So, it’s been a long time since I’ve stood up here. Pause. That was a joke - I’ve never stood up here.
I was asked last week by Bishop Smoot to talk about what it’s like to be the father of a missionary; my short answer is it’s been amazing for me and it’s been very educational. It has taught me more than I ever imagined, especially about my own daughter and the work of a missionary and the church. I really didn’t expect to learn much of anything going into this but I sure have had my eyes opened.
As I think about Madison and her mission I see a journey. In my mind her journey has three primary phases or segments to it. The early years or the period of time leading up to moving to Kaysville which occurred on Jan. 1 2006 - for Madi this was from birth to age 12. The middle years, between the age of 12 and 19 and the current phase of her journey – her mission - which started the day she decided to serve - October 6, 2012.
I will start with the third phase of her journey, her current “mission” phase and work backwards. Hopefully I won’t put everybody to sleep.
To me this phase started on October 6, 2012 – the day the new age limit was announced, the day she decided to serve a mission.
I had been out hunting and when I came home I walked into the kitchen to put a few things away. Madison was sitting at the kitchen counter and she said two things to me – “Hi Dad, did you get anything?” to which I replied “no”. And then she said – “guess what, I’ve decided that I’m going to serve a mission”. When she said that I did not respond much, I continued to put a few things away but I did think it through enough to know that it would be two years before she would be eligible to serve and I knew that a lot can change over two years. I minute or two later Madison and Makenzie explained to me that they had announced that the age had been changed for missionaries and that it was now 18 for the young men and 19 for the young woman. It was Madison and Makenzie 19 birthday that day! And in a second I realized that she was eligible to serve and she just told me that she had decided that she was going to. Suddenly I was listening, because I realized there was not a two year period to wait. The next thing Madi told me is that she had already contacted the bishop and let him know that she wanted to serve. Looking back, I can say that on that day I can quit honestly saw Madison begin to change right in front of my eyes. And it’s been amazing.
She completed / submitted her paper work in a week or two
She completed her semester at the U
And we all waited for her calling to arrive. I remember joking with a couple members of the bishopric that wherever Madison was called to if there was a problem of some sort that I would be the first to be there … after all this was my baby girl. We all believed that she would serve state side; I don’t think anybody thought for a second she would serve in another country.
On December 19 2012, Madison’s call arrived along with about 100+ people at our house. I asked her just before she opened her calling if I could stand next to her as she read it out load and she said “no”, she wanted to do this on her own, “it was her moment”.
She was called to serve for 18 months in the Philippines, Tacloban mission beginning on January 30 2013. The house erupted with cheer and crying started and the expression on Madison’s face will never be forgotten, at least not by me. She was surprised beyond belief and so excited.
Madison had 39 days to prepare
She finished school at the U including finals
She made many Doctor visits to get shots and not a single complaint
She went to the Dentist without complaining, for the first time ever
She renewed her Passport and obtained her Visa
She was set apart in the temple and suddenly wearing G’s
And throughout all of this the two people that were there assisting in every way possible were Madi’s twin sister Makenzie and of course her mother. Between the two of them they prepared her completely, at least enough to check her into the MTC.
Jan. 30 – the MTC
6 weeks of transformation for Madison and the real education for me begins
The flight to the Philippines on March 12 / 13, took 24 hours time, 13,000 miles and sick nearly all of the way … and not a single complaint.
The bee sting to her face on day one that basically completely closed up one of her eyes and again not a single compliant about the trip, being sick or over the bee sting or anything for that matter. What I noticed with Madison in the first few days of being in the Philippines was a complete focus on the work and the mission and a complete disregard to the obstacles and challenges that she was encountering.
What I never expected as Madi was beginning her mission was the education that she would give me. Let me explain:
Years ago I put myself through college, working full time and going to school full time. I worked hard but also had a lot of fun and it took over six years to graduate with a Bachelors degree. When I did graduate from college - I did it on my own paying for everything. I understood commitment and hard work, I had lived it, right? Years later I had the opportunity to go back to school and earn a master’s degree and at this time Dixie and I were married and raising 6 kids and we were both working full time. But we decided it was the right thing to do and so we made the commitment and we both worked hard to allow me to peruse this opportunity. Dixie worked and raised the kids and I worked and went to school and two years later it was done. Again, we did it because we both understood hard work and commitment.
What I’ve learned from Madi as she is serving her mission is that what I considered commitment and hard work doesn’t even come close to what she is doing and what missionaries do. I suddenly started to understand how strong Madison is and I started to have a new appreciation and understanding for the work and dedication of Madison and of all missionaries:
Let’s talk Commitment – leaving your family and the comforts that you used to. Leaving your friends at the age of 19. That’s commitment. Living in an apartment that has a bucket of water in it to flush the toilet with and a second bucket with water in it for the shower. That’s commitment. In addition, to this day she washes her clothes by hand in a small plastic pail with a piece of wood as a scrubbing board. Not to mention the food, the bugs, the ants, the bats, the lice and not a single compliant. That’s commitment like no other. And she loves the person, that’s all she talks about.
Hard work – learning the gospel, learning the language, studying with intensity to learn the lessons, the complete sacrifice to serving the mission. Speaking in church in a second language. That’s hard work like no other.
Dedication – the complete dedication to the work, the gospel and the overall effort to serve others less fortunate with complete selflessness. That’s dedication.
Desire – the desire to serve is amazing. Dixie and I are very lucky in this regard – the decision for Madi to serve a mission has been completely her decision, this is awesome for us as she is completely committed to her work. She has the desire in her heart to serve.
Passion – the passion to spread the word to those less fortunate – I believe has been inspired by all of you.
So in summary and regards to this current phase of her journey – I am amazed at the blessings and the lessons that have been taught to me, especially in regards to hard work, commitment, dedication and love – all of which I thought I knew something about ….. But I’ve been re-educated, I’ve been schooled.
And in regards to the middle phase of Madi’s journey, the time between age 12 and 19. This is the period of time that all of you have influenced Madison and all of our kids. Your love for the children of our family and all of the children in this ward and in this stake, your hard work and you commitment to be great examples for these children is amazing. It is because of all of you that Madison decided to serve a mission and it is because of all of you and your efforts and your love that basically all missionaries are serving. What you’re doing matters. To the primary teachers, the young woman and young men leaders, the music teachers, the priesthood teachers, the bishopric, the presidency etc . – to all of you I thank from the bottom of my heart. Your efforts, your example, your time with these children of this ward and stake matters and it is because of you and your example that Madison is on a mission. I cannot thank you enough for the influence that you have had over the years on all of these children and all of our children. I love you all for that and will always be eternally grateful to you. We live in an amazing place with amazing people and I am so thankful for that.
And in regards to the beginning phase of Madi’s journey, basically from birth to age 12, I believe that others have influenced Madsion and her siblings positively but no one as much as their mother, Dixie. Dixie is without question the most amazing mother and wife in the world. She is an amazing example to everyone around her and that is true in our home more than anywhere. I am truly blessed to be married to her and our children and grandchildren our truly blessed to have in her their lives. She is one-of-a-kind and it is because of her that Madison and all of our kids are a part of this church and have had the opportunity to be influenced by all of you. It is because of Dixie and all of you that Madison had the opportunity to serve a mission for this church and I am eternally grateful to her for making this church part of our life and our children’s life.
And I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
I am trying to think of something sick to tell good ole k town but all i got is....Pres Ostler is the man and missionary work is nothing without members and there referrals and help. Every member needs to be a missionary. So open your mouth and share what you know and love with everyone you meet you never know who is prepared for what you know. Oh tell all the cray cray youth to get preparing for their mish's now and not to be idiots. Show Heavenly Father how much you love and how much you appreciate him.
Guhigugma Ni Sister Kramer Kita Tanan!