Thursday, September 17, 2009

Christmas in September

Would you mind terribly if I told a Christmas story? It's in the form of an email - one that I've kept in my journal since November 15, 2004. When my mom and dad were in Brazil a project was started to make sure that every single missionary had a Christmas package to open on Christmas Day. It involved mothers and grandmothers from all over the United States, and it took months to accomplish. This email is from one of the grandmothers.

Dear Sister Platt,

I am Jan Pfliegers mother. Ever since her son went on his mission to Brazil, she has had me involved in the 'native missionaries.' It is a good project and I am thinking a much more important one than I realized. Let me share my experience of the mailing of this years packages.

I went to the post office and talked to a man about my desire to send something to Brazil. He was very nice and helpful. He explained that I had to use these envelopes, and they could not exceed four pounds. It would cost me $9.00 each. Oh, before I continue I must tell you, my husband is not a member of our church. Not only is he not a member, he joined another church, six years ago. He is aggressively hostile against the church. So, any time, effort, or money must be on the QT.

I went to a store I knew carried $5.00 ties. They didn't have a single tie made out of polyester. Jared said the silk ones "bleed" on their white shirts, because of the humidity. So, I decided I would try the thrift shop. I went to one, finding nothing. I am watching the clock. I must be home by the time my husband gets there at 1:30pm. I go to a second thrift store. They have very few ties, most all are silk. I find some and choose the three best ones. I stand in line...forever. When I get up to the front of the line, ready to pay, the lady tells me "your total is $1.65." I say each? No, for all of them, today is half off day. So I go back for the remaining three. I stand in line again. This time the line is longer. I leave thinking I have just received some divine help. I hurry home, beat the clock...all is well.

Next Day:

It's Thursday. I work, work, work at getting my packages stuffed and mailed. I am allowed four pounds. There is no way I can get any more into that envelope. I go to the post office. I am detoured at three streets. I finally cross the main street to see firetrucks, and many, many people. I am driving so I can't look really good. I notice it is a parade. Hum, a parade. I get to the post office and drive into the parking lot to discover I am the only one there....everyone else is at the VETERANS DAY parade. Awwwwww dummy, dummy me! I stop at the grocery store and weigh my biggest package. It is exactly 2.5 lbs. Well, I'm safe on that. I absolutely cannot get another thing in it.


My husband is home all day. I do not attempt to mail the packages.


I must get the packages mailed before noon. That's when the post office closes. The packages are ready to go, forms filled out...not to worry. I get a long distance phone call...I've got time...get a second one...It's okay I have time. The third one, I am starting to get a little nervous.

I end the conversation and head for the Post Office. I stand in line. When I place my envelopes on the counter the postal worker turns them over to discover I have not written the address on them. Oh, no problem, I have it all filled out for you. I reached in my purse to discover I had left them on the table. So I hurried back home, got the forms and returned. I stood in line again. When I got up there he said, "You have to write it on the envelope too." Ohhhh, I am starting to get tired of all of this.

So, I go over to a table and fill in both of the addresses, mine and yours, on both envelopes. As I turn to go back to the counter, a postal worker approached me. I have seen him here, for the last several years. He does not know how to smile, plus he is just downright hateful. He said, "You can't send that package." I said, "It only weighs 2.5 lbs."

He said it didn't matter...I had too much tape on the lid. "You have to go home and rewrap it." I got new envelopes and headed for the door. As it was swinging shut he yelled, "it is bulging, it cannot bulge, and we close at noon!"

I arrived home at 11:15. I ripped the packages open and dumped the contents out. I then folded a new white shirt in half and stuck it in. I added three ties. I repeated the same for the next envelope. I quickly addressed the envelopes and took off. I could do the forms at the post office. I had to get in those doors before noon.

I finished filling the forms in and realized I had beat the clock. All is well, all is well. Then I see my friend walking towards me. He is either the top man at the post office or one of them. He picks up one of the envelopes and says, "I shouldn't send this." By now I am starting to panic. I said, "Why not? It only weighs 10.3 oz now. You will also notice it is not bulging."

He turned the envelope over and pointed at the tape. I said, "You told me no more than one piece of tape. That's what it has!" He turned the envelope over and pointed to the 1/2 inch piece of tape I had put around the end and fastened to the front. I felt I had my back to the wall. I was in such a hurry that I had not even put a note in either one of them. I couldn't leave without having those envelopes in the mail. He knew they were going to missionaries, so I couldn't be hateful right back to him. But I wanted him to know I was upset.

I told him I hadn't even put my candy canes in, because of him. He said, "Well, you could have put them in." I told him no, I was afraid you would yell at me. He again said, "You could have put the candy canes in."

I then narrowed my eyes and looked directly into his. I lowered my voice and very deliberately and slowly said, "If you harass me any more I will tell your MOTHER that you don't play well with others." I wish you could have seen the look on his face. It totally disarmed him. He looked down then softly said, "She already knows that."

Everyone in the post office was aware of what was going on. I was surprised they didn't unitedly cheer.

As I left I thought, "boy, this must have been a lot more important than I have ever realized. Satan was out to stop me." Absolutely everything I did was a struggle. I could have gotten very depressed about it, but I realized that the elders will have more than they did, and I really did do the best I could.

Thank you for the work you are doing. God bless you in your efforts. I will help in any small way I can. I will pray for the success of your missionaries. Please pray for my husband. His name is Pete Childers. I am going to WIN!!!! When will Satan ever figure that out?

Your sister in the gospel,

Faun Childers

I don't know this woman but I love her for her example of faith and determination...


Hatch said...

I dont know this woman either and I lover her too. It's five years later and I wonder about her husband and prayed for him by name since she mentioned it. Hmmm...I really am curious about him now.

Debbie Gardner said...

Great letter! Christmas...bring it on!

Tiffany said...

Sis. Childers is a force to be reckoned with. What a great example.

I'm going to remember the line she used with the naughty boy disguised as a postal worker next time I want to choke someone at the post office.

I hope she's winning.