President and Sister Dunn

Monday, October 6, 2014

marathons and missions

As our branch conference ended, I must reflect on what an amazing weekend it was.  The timing was interesting, to have it fall on General Conference Week-end.  President Dunn was called upon to prepare many talks as part of the two day conference. He did such a great job on each and every session, but my favorite talk was his on Sunday about  Commitment and Going the Distance.  He used the example of commitment and inner strength of John Stephen Akhwari of Tanzania to complete the marathon that his country sent him to finish, not just start.   His famous race is summarized here:

Commentators said, "Today we have seen an African runner display true courage and commitment." When asked why he finished the race, against all odds, John Stephen Akhwari said,  "My country didn't send me all 5000 miles to start the race, they sent me all 5000 miles to finish the race."  

Missionaries start, but they learn quickly that a mission is a marathon, not a sprint. They have to come prepared and then run the race that is before them.They get dehydrated, discouraged, injured, tired and need cheering on, water, energy, fuel, supporters, refocus, etc.  I will rely on this amazing marathon metaphor and experience I  have to help me and others make every mile count!

As this first conference week-end comes to a close,  I have been reflecting on all the fall conference week-ends we have enjoyed with our family and coupled with the St. George Marathon. 

Last year, as part of the end of an era, I ran my 20th St. George Marathon (SGM) and have done each and every one with family and friends. Better than the marathon, have been the thousands of miles we have run by each other's side.
President Dunn and my family and friends have always been by my side. They have pulled me along as I have run with each of them and shared our hearts.

As I ran this morning, on the other side of the world, with no one physically by my side, I was thinking how much a part of me this marathon metaphor is.  I have shared the miles of life with family and friends and I am grateful for the spiritual, emotional and physical benefits that have had a have daily influence on me.
We are figuratively at mile 2 of our mission marathon. What I remember  about this point in the SGM race, is you start to catch your breath and find your pace and settle in. The  daylight is just starting to come and from  this point the miles start clicking by.  This is also a reminder that you need to think how fast those miles come up and savor each and every step. It is over before you know it.
Speaking of conference week-end, it is an extra pleasure in the mission field to watch conference, and hear the sustaining words and see SLC!:)
We have not been able to listen to all of it yet, due to the time difference, but I absolutely loved Neill Marriott's talk in the Women's Conference.
I particularly loved these two passages
1-Sisters, you strengthen my faith in Jesus Christ. I have watched your examples, heard your testimonies, and felt of your faith from Brazil to Botswana! You carry a circle of influence with you wherever you go. It is felt by the people around you—from your family to the contacts in your cell phone and from your friends on social media to those seated next to you tonight. I agree with Sister Harriet Uchtdorf, who wrote, “You … are vibrant and enthusiastic beacons in an ever-darkening world as you show, through the way you live your lives, that the gospel is a joyful message.”2

2-Placed around the world, temples have their own unique look and design on the outside, but inside they all contain the same eternal light, purpose, and truth. In 1 Corinthians 3:16 we read, “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?” We too as daughters of God have been placed all around the world, like temples, and we each have our own unique look and outward design, like temples. We also have a spiritual light within us, like temples. This spiritual light is a reflection of the Savior’s light. Others will be attracted to this brightness. We have our own roles on the earth—from daughter, mother, leader, and teacher to sister, wage earner, wife, and more. Each is influential. Each role will have moral power as we reflect gospel truths and temple covenants in our lives.

Even though we do not have any sisters in this mission, all of these wonderful messages apply to our amazing Elders. They are each running their own race and are on all different parts of the course. Next week, 4 amazing Elders will cross the finish line and deaprt for home. (Louw, Luthy, Lohmann and Bird) They will not have a medal around their neck, but a South African pin on their lapel and pride in their hearts for their own PR (personal record) and a race run well!

Here's to a great week and start to October!
P.S. I love the memory of running the marathon last year with all of my children and also my darling daughter in law, Mindy and my sister, Laurie.

Son, Brady, Daughter in Law, Mindy, me, Daughter Emi and Son, jeff! President Dunn taking the picture, but ran all 19 of the others with me!!

  I knew I would be hanging it up for awhile and celebrated this 20th run of this race and maybe my last one.  I have loved the marathon and all that it has taught me.  I am using the metaphor daily as I try to "run the race that has been placed before me"
Oh, what a good race it is!!!


  1. This is the BEST post. Love the connection between two of your favorite things!
    Next you should paddleboard a marathon --- can you imagine the metaphors that would come out of that? :)
    Love you!

  2. Did you and Mike come up with the South African pin as they leave the mission? I love that tradition. Especially when you think of it as a marathon medal. I love Emi's comment about paddle boarding a marathon!