Thoughts on Earthquakes and Mission Phone Call Changes


So I had a crazy experience this morning! I was working on various projects because I can’t sleep well these days and all of the sudden my bed was moving back and forth like it was on a vibrator setting. I thought perhaps on the slats had fallen out and needed to be replaced or something like that. I then looked around and realized it was an earthquake!!! The first was 3.2 and the second 3.8, which might not sound like much to you earthquake pros but it certainly jolted me out of bed!

I have never experienced anything like that before. It was so surreal and strange to feel my house rumbling around. It certainly hurt any chances I had at a normal nice evening of sleep because I got so excited by it. Evidently the epicenter was in Bluffdale, which is just a few minutes from where I live in Draper. Fortunately it was a small earthquake and no damage was reported but it sure got my attention.

corn mission photo

In other totally random news my church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, announced a change in mission rules which will allow missionaries to call, text their families on a weekly basis. This may seem like a small thing for non-members of the church but for those of us who served a mission it is huge!

Previous to today missionaries were allowed 2 phone calls a year- one on Christmas and one on Mothers Day.  As an obedient missionary I used to dread the calls because it was a lot of pressure to talk to everyone and keep the phone call to an approved amount of time. One Christmas my companion Sister Hathaway didn’t even make her call it was so stressful.

That said, I think weekly contact with my family, particularly my parents, would have done me a world of good. One of the hardest parts of serving my mission was how lonely I constantly felt. This may seem crazy given I was constantly with my companions 24/7 but sometimes it’s tough to communicate with a companion and they struggled to understand my point of view. The only place I had to vent to was in my journals and monthly letters to my mission president. (You can’t talk to the members about your struggles because you are there to support them not the other way around).


Being lonely also exacerbated any issues I had with my companion and just made the whole situation more difficult. Plus, I was always exhausted all the time (not an exaggeration). If I could have had a moment to talk to my Mom and Dad to get some encouragement it would have helped me a lot.

I can’t help but wonder what my mission presidents are thinking about this. Particularly my first mission president hated the bi-annual phone calls as he felt they were very distracting for the young men who often got to talk to their girlfriends they left behind. I remember he had the elders call the next day to check and see if we had stayed within our allotted time for calls and gave a firm talking to us if we were over. It was pretty intense!

The change makes a lot of sense when you consider most elders are now 18 years old. Dropping all contact with family is quite the ask at that age, and I’m thrilled they are changing this rule. I think for most missionaries it will be a net positive for their mental health, happiness and ability to serve.

What do you guys think about either of these topics? Have you been in an earthquake, even a small earthquake? What do you think of these missionary changes? Let me know in the comments section Thanks!


4 thoughts on “Thoughts on Earthquakes and Mission Phone Call Changes

  1. I was in an earthquake on the Greek island of Kefalonia (the setting of Captain Corelli’s Mandolin) in 2003 – that was a 6.4. I remember hearing the rumble and thinking it was a low-flying plane before the building started shaking. There was no damage where we were but it was pretty scary.

  2. When I lived in the Aleutian Islands, we had earthquakes frequently. There were two kinds: one which you could hear coming, as an approaching rumble that made the house perform a brief hop when it got to your location, and then would rumble away; the other being a sudden swaying of the house, with no warning. The first kind did no damage that I’m aware of, but when the swaying kind came, I could hear the upstairs neighbors’ dishes and bibelots crashing to the floor (I lived on the ground floor of a 2-story four-plex). I believe the earthquakes originated from the dormant volcano you could see on an island across the bay (on a clear day, that is – there weren’t many of those).

    The traditional restriction on missionary-family verbal communication was a leftover from the pioneer days, when the only interpersonal communication technology was postal, and letters took six months to be delivered. I think somebody finally took a long, hard look at the mission failure rate and figured out that imposing an artificial emotional hardship on modern missionaries and their families was counterproductive.

    1. Interesting. Yeah I agree with you on missionaries. It’s so cheap to free to communicate these days that it really doesnt make sense to limit it. I’m excited there will be happier missionaries. Hopefully they will use it to be more dedicated not to be distracted

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