Monday, April 28, 2014

Book Nook Review: "Do Not Atempt in Heels: Mission Stories and Advice from Sisters who've Been There."

“You are hereby called to serve as a missionary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.”

Those life-changing words launch new chapters in the lives of those with willing hearts, and when President Thomas S. Monson announced that the age requirements were being lowered for missionary service for young men and women, the response was overwhelming. Missionary training centers were flooded with eager youth, so much so that within twelve months of the announcement, the Church had the largest, youngest, and most inexperienced missionary force in its history.

While the Church prepared to meet the exciting challenges the change created, a new phrase emerged—“The home is the new MTC.” Material emerged to help parents ready a younger generation, and now there is a frank, inspiring tool especially for sisters by sisters who’ve walked the walk.

Do Not Attempt in Heels, Mission Stories and Advice from Sisters Who’ve Been There, compiled by Elise Habbel Hahl and Jennifer Rockwood Knight, each of whom also served, contains twenty-one personal accounts shared by ”rock star” sister missionaries who discuss the good, the bad, the sacrifices, and the exhilarating rewards of missions spent across a global Church area. Each experience is unique in its own way, but common themes emerge of personal, spiritual, and emotional, growth which blossoms as the fruit of hard work and obedience.

From the authors:

This new compilation of stories from sister missionaries covers everything from deciding whether a mission is right for you, to adapting to post-mission life. Experience a real look into the sacrifices sisters make, and learn about homesickness, companionship struggles, divine miracles, and the elation of helping save souls in the kingdom of God through the humor and faith of these dedicated sisters.

Take courage as you read about others who have gone and learn how you will change and grow in the Spirit with the many opportunities the mission field will present to you when you choose to serve.

You may knock on doors in Paris, France, or Paris, Missouri. But wherever you serve, do not attempt in heels!

While many of the contributors were recommended to Hahl and Knight by mission presidents because of their excellence in the field, each story is an honest admission of weakness as well as triumphs, and as a result, Do Not Attempt This in Heels elevates from a good read to   a powerful preparatory tool.

Endorsements for the book have been glowing, and come from respected corners of the LDS community. A personal foreword by Camille Fronk Olson speaks to young women considering a mission. She shares lessons and feelings from her own mission days that remain poignant and relevant to her, decades later. 

Clayton Christensen, author of the highly successful book, Everyday Missionaries, believes future elders would also benefit from the honesty embedded in Do Not Attempt in Heels. He said:

We shortchange any missionary who enters her or his service without reading this book first.

On a personal note, I wish Do Not Attempt in Heels had been available for me as a mom as we prepared two sons for foreign missions. It would have opened my eyes to needful conversations and preparations that may have reduced anxiety and naiveté.

The voice in each of the essays is as unique as the authors’ personal experiences, but they are each engaging and delicious, making for a great family read, or FHE spotlight.

Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints know that the mandate to love and teach one’s neighbors is not a call to full-time service only. All Church members will find humbling inspiration, meaningful direction, and positive examples to guide them as they too endeavor to serve their fellowman.

This widely acclaimed book is currently available for purchase at your local LDS bookstore and at any of these online locations:

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