As you prepare for Thanksgiving with family and friends, consider reading How I Learned to Be Grateful in Every Circumstance from the blog on lds.org. Perhaps you might see gratitude in certain situations in your life where you didn’t think you could be grateful. And perhaps after reading Think to Thank you might also find other situations where you can express your gratitude out loud to others. Find some time to make gratitude a part of your thoughts this week.
By Scott and Angelina McGrath, members of the Quantico Ward and serving as Church Service Military Relations Missionaries at the Officer Candidates School at Marine Corps Base Quantico
We are so blessed by the opportunity we have, twice every week, to visit with young men and women determined to offer their time, talent, and strength, their all, to the United States Marine Corp in support of their Country and the freedoms and values it espouses.
We are blessed by the opportunity we have to bring a little bit of the Gospel and a little bit of Christ’s light and love into their lives; to supply them with a small amount of much needed physical recharge, mental break, emotional support, and spiritual uplift; to deliver to them a little food from home, delivered with tender loving care; to offer them the restorative power of Priesthood blessings; to allow them to partake of the Sacrament; and to provide them a measure of relief from the storms, the pressures, the ceaseless demands of the most rigorous Officer School in the country.
We are blessed by the opportunity to make a difference in their lives; to watch the dramatic changes in their demeanor from the time they walk into our room, beaten down, to the time they walk out, a spring in their step; and to see energy return to aching bodies and smiles return to exhausted faces.
We are blessed by the opportunity to serve: to serve these Marine Corps Officer Candidates, to serve these committed and dedicated young men and women, to serve these choice sons and daughters of our Heavenly Father.
We are the McGraths.
We are blessed…indeed.
Here is a thought to ponder as you think about what the Sabbath day means to you.
“Our love for the Sabbath day does not end when the chapel doors close behind us but instead opens the doors to a beautiful day of resting from routine tasks, studying, praying, and reaching out to family and others who need our attention. Instead of breathing a sigh of relief when church is over and frantically running in search of a television before the football game begins, let our focus remain on the Savior and upon His holy day.” Elder Neil L. Anderson, Overcoming the World, April 2017
We are Elder and Sister Hammond. We have been called to serve a Military Relations Mission in the Washington DC South Mission. Our permanent home is in McKinney, Texas. We are the parents of 7 children and 23 grandchildren.
The Military Relations Missionaries help ensure that the blessings of the Church participation are available to those who serve in the military. This is done in many ways and in many places throughout the world. We are blessed to serve here in The Washington DC South Mission at MCB Quantico and our opportunities for service are great! First and foremost our purpose in serving is the same as any full-time missionary: To help bring others unto Christ…
We serve the LDS candidates who are attending the Officer Candidate School (OCS} at
Quantico—these candidates are here because they each desire to be a Marine officer. We
serve with Elder and Sister McGrath, who are from the Quantico Ward, and Elder and Sister Simon, who are from the Woodbridge 1st Ward. Both couples have been called as Church Service Missionaries.
These young candidates who were chosen to attend this school have a very rigorous 10-week training program—they train for sometimes 16-18 hours a day in physical, mental, academic and leadership experiences. They are pushed to the utmost in each one of these categories. It is our blessing to provide a weekly Sacrament Meeting for them as they are not allowed to leave the OCS area of Quantico for the first several weeks and then only 24 hours a week after that.
We have the Sacrament with them and leave them with an inspirational message. Sometimes priesthood blessings are given to individuals who request them. After that, we give them opportunity to write notes to their families which we then email to their families so the Candidates can have contact with their family much faster than they would have otherwise. Occasionally we send pictures of them to their families. We also meet with them once a week in the evening-usually Wednesday or Thursday for a quasi-
FHE. They have the opportunity to visit with other candidates and talk with them in a relaxed “family” setting and can discuss their challenges and successes with one another and with us. We also give them an inspirational message. We also try to catch them up on world news, etc. As the weeks go by, their friends join them and we have the opportunity to share with them also.
Our second assignment is working with the LDS at The Basic School or TBS. These young LDS people are newly-commissioned officers in the Marine Corps and are learning the basic infantry skills. This school is 6-months long and we meet with them weekly in an FHE setting. They usually attend Church in their geographical ward on Sundays. We help them in requested ways and places.
In addition to working with these young people in the Marine Corp, we help the young full-time missionaries in our district and also permanent military personnel on base as needed. We also meet with the Chaplains of these two schools on a regular basis to try to ensure a positive working relationship between the Church and the Marine Corps. It is a very rewarding work and we are thankful to have this responsibility. It keeps us busy and happy!
The Bissue Family lives in the Dale City Ward of the Woodbridge Virginia Stake. Francis and Angela Bissue, their two sons and one daughter are originally from Ghana.
Angela shared what the Sabbath day means to their family. “Keeping the sabbath day holy as a family is joy. We go to church to renew our covenant with the Lord. After church we have dinner together and watch a devotional on the BYU Channel . Sometimes our boys will fall asleep on the carpet watching this. Since there is no homework there is less stress and we have a relaxed environment. Most of the time we go to bed early to prepare us for the upcoming week. There is always a sense of calm when we keep the Sabbath day holy, and enjoy and plan to continue practicing it.”