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Posted by: Elder Berry ( )
Date: July 11, 2018 05:10PM

She is leaving The Guatemala MTC next week to go to their chosen for her field of missionary labors. Just had my hour email window with her and I'm sad, missing her terrible. I can't talk to her IRL. I have one hour a week to share with all the people who love her to email her. She gave me some good time this week.

So, if you are looking for some thoughts and/or prayers opportunities, send them South, way down South to an almost 21 year old young woman (edit I typed women and she is in that MTC's first all women district) with lots of potential who now can roll her 'R's which is funny because growing up I kept trying to get her to do this but she didn't need to for her French classes.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/11/2018 05:11PM by Elder Berry.

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Posted by: summer ( )
Date: July 11, 2018 05:14PM

I just sent my humble petition up to the universe for her safekeeping. I wish you both well, Elder Berry. Hopefully the MP will keep her and the other women in a relatively safe area.

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Posted by: Lot's Wife ( )
Date: July 11, 2018 05:14PM

Best wishes to your daughter and to you.

Hopefully she will gain many peripheral benefits. This could end up being a great experience in all the ways she does not expect.

I hope the mission is not too hard on you, as a father, though I imagine you will miss her terribly.

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Posted by: scmd1 ( )
Date: July 11, 2018 05:15PM

Elder Berry, your daughter is in my thoughts and prayers.

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Posted by: Cheryl ( )
Date: July 11, 2018 05:25PM

Sorry you're going through such a difficult time.

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Posted by: elderolddog ( )
Date: July 11, 2018 05:53PM

Hope for the best and keep your passport handy, brudder.

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Posted by: Nightingale ( )
Date: July 11, 2018 07:11PM

Passport.

I meant to weigh in on your initial post about your daughter's mission call, Elder Berry, but life intervenes and time flies. The situation reminded me of two former posters and I wanted to mention them and their mission stories but it took me two entire weeks to remember the board name for one of them. NEPA!!

His remains one of the all time great RfM accounts of breaking shelves and instant de-conversion. He kept us riveted for months. I'm sure many others remember him too. If I'm recalling accurately, both he and his wife realized at the same time and overnight that the Mormon Church isn't the be-all/end-all as its leaders proclaim. I don't remember what it was that changed their perspective. They (essentially) jumped in their car and drove to their son's mission area to tell him it ain't true son and we're taking you home. (I hope I didn't mangle the story too much). I guess it's a given that his son didn't mind going home as he did leave with them and they were all instantly out of the church and very happy indeed.

NEPA graced us with his continued presence for a while, such an interesting man and good writer with a great exit story. He is one of those folks who you hate to see go, even though you know things are better for them and they're happy and moving onwards in different directions. (Some I know don't want to even talk about Mormonism any more but not in a stifle-type maneuver that keeps it all lurking way deep inside, just forging ahead and leaving it way in the rearview).

NEPA is the one who gave us the cherished acronym: TSCC. Still wildly popular and in wide usage and perfectly descriptive.

The other person I recall (and I did make passing reference to this RM and his mission experience in a post a few weeks ago) is Blair Watson. I thought of him right away after reading your post about your daughter's mission call, EB, because he also went to South America. I hesitated to draw your attention, or memory, to his account as what happened to him was bleak and dangerous and continues to be outrageous. He contracted meningitis down there while in a remote town without medical or other services readily available. Despite him being obviously critically ill, the MP would not give permission for his comp/s to take him to a neighbouring place for medical care, despite numerous requests and frank descriptions of his literal near-death condition. Finally, when he was beyond critical (only a slight exaggeration to register my disgust with idiot MPs everywhere) the comp/s prevailed (I'm not sure if MP was present on site or only by phone) and drove him by truck to a doctor/hospital. He said that he was so ill and in so much pain and the journey by truck was brutal. Add in the heat as well and it was a total nightmare.

It took him a long time to regain partial health. As I mentioned not long ago, the (idiot) MP did not tell Blair what the diagnosis was. Maybe trying to cover his backside or else just completely clueless or uncaring - take your pick. When Blair's mom, a nurse, called to check on him the MP did not tell her what the diagnosis was either. Blair said his mom would have come and got him if she'd known. The MP only told him when his mission was over (I'm not sure why the MP thought he should disclose it then - maybe because he knew Blair should still be under medical supervision or due to Blair still not being 100% healthy or maybe just so he was aware of his own medical history for future reference).

Blair had gone on after that to also contract intestinal parasites, as they say a majority of mishies do down there. He said that he was into his 30s before he regained some of his health back after those infections he contracted on his mission and because of not having received prompt or adequate care.

So, both those experiences ran through my head when you first posted about your daughter's mission call. I hesitated to say anything because I didn't want to add to your stress about it. Then, as I said, life kept me otherwise occupied for much of the time and I couldn't go "backwards" through all the threads.

But. Still I wanted to say something. Hard to know how to express it. Obviously, most here would get what your worry is about. There are many facets to it, including you being a dad concerned for his child's well-being and an exmo not believing in the religion or its practices any more. I know it's hellaciously difficult for you when your wife is still TBM. It's a fine line you must walk to stay as involved as you can be.

You are right to be so concerned, as you well know, even just from the practical side of it (her location and the living conditions) as well as the religious aspects (fervent belief system that actively promotes young people putting their own safety and health behind the organization's goals).

I just remembered too one of the missionary sisters I knew, whose story I have also told previously. Even though she was very ill, also with an infection, I had to fight and duck and dive to get her out of virtual prison (no exaggeration) to see my own GP (and I ended up paying his bill and the lab work - nobody told me the church pays medical bills and I knew sis mish had no $$$. I was never reimbursed). It took all my ingenuity, resolve and a bit of physical diving as well to get her comp to leave us alone even for a private medical exam at the dr's office. (She didn't trust me and didn't ever allow her comp and me to be alone - weird, scary, unbelievable). That young missionary was so "brainwashed", from my perspective, that she thought it was all her fault and I often heard her murmuring "I must have faith, I must have faith, I must..." even while she was literally crawling to the bathroom because she was too weak to stand up. She thought it was a test of faith and the comp was enraged that they were losing time from preaching and berated her daily for it. I wish this was one memory that could be expunged from my head. It's upsetting even after all this time. I remember arriving at their apt one morning to see bully comp standing over sick comp who was lying on the floor, being yelled at about how lazy she was. My brain yelled at me "This is domestic abuse", a shocking thought, but an accurate one). That day too I intervened, calling a sister from the ward to go out that day with bully comp and taking sick comp home to my place for some comfort care.

I'm sure many exmos can relate to being so with the program that they weren't capable of thinking straight. Only after time passes, at least, or perhaps not until one is away from the thing that's creating the issues does it become more clear that our judgement can be skewed when we are under these types of influences - to be "faithful", to be obedient, not to rock the boat, not to side with the other rather than the religion or whatever the "thing" is that has us in its grip.

Re the situation with the sis mishie, I still can't believe how powerless I was to make sure the right thing got done. I was an adult woman, a nurse, a convert who at the time was determined to stick, so not a threat to them. But only supreme effort resulted in me even getting mishie to the doctor. Even so, she was immediately back under the thrall of her abusive comp and I was shut out. I even consulted the MP about it and he sternly said to me "There is no problem here". Yeah. Right. OK then. I couldn't do much without the ill missionary making some good choices for herself but that didn't happen. However, the entire situation, between the overbearing, abusive comp and the ignorant, abusive MP, was so wrong and scary that I banded together with the ZL and DL and we set up an "underground railway" type of call system to help anyone in the province who may have ended up in the abusive sister's firing line, especially any future companions. So, those missionaries knew there was a problem with her. Not one of the hundreds of them, though, spoke out. We had to do it all undercover. And sure enough we had to provide at least moral support for all the future comps. I was gratified that the male missionaries knew and listened and assisted, but only to the same point I could, not even thinking of approaching MP about the bully comp.

As with all bullies and hypocrites, the rules didn't apply to the big bad sis. She ended up having an affair with one of her prospective converts. They covered it up somewhat by saying they were engaged. Maybe she thought they were. My recollection is that he was married. I was scandalized at such overt hypocrisy and rule-breaking and appalling behaviour. (Yes, I'm judgemental somewhat, at least when it comes to Preachers Behaving Badly). Missionary by day... Even though they were blatant about it (sitting together during General Conference, without her companion - sheesh) I guess it was overlooked because it was a female missionary? (She was the third one I knew of at the same time in this mission that was having an affair). To be 100% fair, I'm not sure if it was literally an affair - it would have been difficult to be completely alone - although others managed it obviously - but they were pretty darn friendly right out in the open at GC. Maybe I should call it a close friendship. She ended up leaving the mission early because of it. So much for being faithful. If she hadn't been such a B to everyone else I would not be inclined at all to criticize her for breaking major rules herself. We're all only human after all.

OK. So, as we know, lots can go wrong, for myriad reasons, on a mission. Compelling young, inexperienced people to suspend their own (often not yet mature) judgement can be dangerous. Emphasizing obedience as one of the highest virtues, as well as loyalty to the organization above all else can also lead to suspension of judgement. I doubt that many missionaries would tell their parents that there were problems. Rather, they are encouraged to be all bright and shiny 24/7, to other mishies, to non-mos and to their friends and families, and even to themselves.

In an email or a phone call most young missionaries are not likely to say come get me. They are trained hard to grin and bear it, whatever 'it' is. Maybe they are afraid of what their parents will say. Maybe they want to show themselves and the world that they can stick it. Maybe they want to fulfill promises or avoid life-long scorn for not completing, or any number of other feelings and goals that would make them choose to stay silent, and stay out there, rather than state the true situation they're in, even if it's fraught with problems, even dangerous ones.

Yeah. I'm not a fan of creating an army of young missionaries, calling them volunteers, but nearly compelling them to go (in the case of the Mormon Church, at least with the males).

So, EB, my dear, I hope that at least you can keep the NEPA option in mind and that you would know if your daughter needed your help or even required 'rescue'. I know it's so very tough. It can be difficult to know when to stand back and when to leap in. Even a parent can't easily enforce their own will on a child of majority age. Even more difficult if the parents aren't on the same page with it. It may be a very very very long 18 months. But, as they say, time flies. In this case, I sure wish it would.

Sorry I can't say, there, there, it'll all be just fine. I can sure hope so though. And I do. So very much.

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Posted by: Elder Berry ( )
Date: July 12, 2018 11:13AM

Nightingale Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> So, EB, my dear, I hope that at least you can keep
> the NEPA option in mind and that you would know if
> your daughter needed your help or even required
> 'rescue'. I know it's so very tough. It can be
> difficult to know when to stand back and when to
> leap in. Even a parent can't easily enforce their
> own will on a child of majority age. Even more
> difficult if the parents aren't on the same page
> with it. It may be a very very very long 18
> months. But, as they say, time flies. In this
> case, I sure wish it would.
>

We are waiting for our passports and I would be down there to retrieve her against her will if I thought she were in danger. I battling a village of people who have complete trust in LDS Corp and would think she were in heaven if she died on her mission. It is an insane thing to deal with for me.

> Sorry I can't say, there, there, it'll all be just
> fine. I can sure hope so though. And I do. So very
> much.

I appreciate your final thoughts after the nightmarish ones. I remember the rescue story. I would need her mother to realize the truth of the Mormon lie for this to happen and then I doubt my daughter would budge.

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Posted by: Nightingale ( )
Date: July 12, 2018 12:53PM

Elder Berry Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> We are waiting for our passports and I would be
> down there to retrieve her against her will if I
> thought she were in danger. I battling a village
> of people who have complete trust in LDS Corp and
> would think she were in heaven if she died on her
> mission. It is an insane thing to deal with for
> me.

Good to hear you have taken whatever action you can at this time, EB. Sometimes things turn out differently than we expect and being prepared gives us more options. I let my passport lapse and wasn't able to go where I needed/wanted to be in time for a family emergency. Lesson learned, the hard way.

I know you're battling against a seemingly impenetrable force at the moment. Insane for you is right. I wouldn't even know how it's possible to counteract someone else's wishes by force, especially in a foreign country, even if it's a parent and their own child, especially when the child is past age of majority. I think a lot of parents have to grit their teeth and bear it. One ray of hope is that time does pass quickly. Also that even the staunchest of Mormon believers can become ex-members. Think of Bob McCue who was an SP (if my memory serves) when he realized the truths about the church. A great many RfM posters went on missions and ended up leaving the church.

The way I get through most of life's challenges and difficult experiences, that works for me, is to think about what I learned from them. It's one positive thought that does actually help me. When I can use it to help others IRL it's of even more use. So I think that many exmo/RMs can think they didn't "waste" two years - they learned a language, they met nevermos they otherwise wouldn't have interacted with, they (perhaps) saw a beautiful part of the world (like the lucky ones who are sent to nice countries in Europe), they made friends, learned to be (somewhat) independent, etc. Some good things. Not a total time sink.

From reading here I know that it is so helpful to young missionaries out there if their parents are approachable, which you are. Hopefully your daughter knows she can tell you how she really feels if she needs to, unlike having parents who dictate what their offspring must do, no matter the circumstances.


> I appreciate your final thoughts after the
> nightmarish ones. I remember the rescue story. I
> would need her mother to realize the truth of the
> Mormon lie for this to happen and then I doubt my
> daughter would budge.

Sorry for the nightmare recollections, EB. I was coming here this a.m. to scrub my reply as I thought after the fact that it was too depressing. I don't need to add to your fears. But then I saw you answered so I can't just erase it all. It's a bit late.

As I said, you have many obstacles, not least your TBM wife and the missionary daughter in question. I realize you can't act unilaterally. One of the few consolations is to remember that many RfMers have been the most intense believers and yet have come to see the reality of Mormonism. There's always the chance that will happen with your family members. For now, I know you're in a very tough place. Selfishly, I'm glad you're here as we get the benefit of your great posts. But I wish things would ease up for you. I think your wife is so lucky to be with you.

Too, I hope you realize nobody here is judging your decisions (that I know of and if they were it would be ridiculous). Many posters through the years have been in similar spots as you are now. To the rest of us it's a familiar part of being an exmo in a "mixed" marriage. We know it's far from easy and don't hold any expectations of what your choices should be. IOW, carry on. You'll get through it. All of it. If I'm still here in 18 or so months I'll celebrate the news that all is well with you, in this regard anyway.

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Posted by: Elder Berry ( )
Date: July 16, 2018 10:45AM

Nightingale Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> As I said, you have many obstacles, not least your
> TBM wife and the missionary daughter in question.
> I realize you can't act unilaterally. One of the
> few consolations is to remember that many RfMers
> have been the most intense believers and yet have
> come to see the reality of Mormonism. There's
> always the chance that will happen with your
> family members. For now, I know you're in a very
> tough place. Selfishly, I'm glad you're here as we
> get the benefit of your great posts. But I wish
> things would ease up for you. I think your wife is
> so lucky to be with you.

Oh, so true. I'm not the only person in my world. I realize I have my ability to act like I choose to act but sometimes it is hard to shake a perceived victimhood.

I literally married my wife because I was convinced a personal god had intervened in my life. Overtime I realized it was probably pheromones, DNA queues, and personalities working out. We have very healthy kids and we physically compliment each other in our bodies being very well proportioned in relation to each other. I won't go into the details but it is obvious to me that physical things were at work and not metaphysical. The personalities working out was merely something that happened and so strengthens the pair bond we share.

Sometimes I wonder what would have happened if these things weren't as strong as they are with us? I won't remarry anyone if we split and I'm bisexual so I won't go straight either. I am constantly amazed at how people form pair bonds and ones that produce offspring. It isn't the norm for us I believe but it happens. I happen to be in a strong pair bond that reproduced. The kin bond is so different from the ones I experienced growing up. I look like my siblings but psychologically we aren't close. Comes from being raised by a pair bond of narcissists who live very separate lives and did raising us.

> Too, I hope you realize nobody here is judging
> your decisions (that I know of and if they were it
> would be ridiculous). Many posters through the
> years have been in similar spots as you are now.
> To the rest of us it's a familiar part of being an
> exmo in a "mixed" marriage. We know it's far from
> easy and don't hold any expectations of what your
> choices should be. IOW, carry on. You'll get
> through it. All of it. If I'm still here in 18 or
> so months I'll celebrate the news that all is well
> with you, in this regard anyway.

I appreciate this thought. Most people here are very supportive of my decisions. I get those who aren't. I don't judge them for judging me. It is bucking sanity to do what I do.

I sure hope you will be in here in 18 months. You are very helpful to so many here.

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Posted by: Nightingale ( )
Date: July 16, 2018 10:11PM

You said: "I sure hope you will be in here in 18 months. You are very helpful to so many here."

Thank you, Elder Berry. I very much appreciate what you said.

Thanks too for all the posts you make that give insight into the many challenges in a "mixed" marriage (when one partner is still a believer). As with the abuse discussion/s we mentioned recently that help outsiders understand a little better, so too do the comments from exmos whose partners are still Mormons. It's all too easy to discount the difficulties others face, to think that something doesn't sound too bad. It's an important part of becoming a more empathetic person to listen to the experiences of others. And to come to see that all too often there is nothing one can say to solve the problems or make it all better. Sometimes all we can say is I hear you and I'm sorry. Solutions aren't quick or easy.

I think many most excellent books could be written by those in the RfM community. The stories seem incredible and yet many here have lived them and know they are true and are the current reality of thousands of members as we speak.

The lack of understanding or compassion by Mormon leaders continues to astound me.

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Posted by: Elder Berry ( )
Date: July 17, 2018 11:47AM

Nightingale Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Sometimes all we can say is I hear you and
> I'm sorry. Solutions aren't quick or easy.

Sometimes they are impossible. We live with the scars because we can't live with open wounds long.

> I think many most excellent books could be written
> by those in the RfM community. The stories seem
> incredible and yet many here have lived them and
> know they are true and are the current reality of
> thousands of members as we speak.

So true.

> The lack of understanding or compassion by Mormon
> leaders continues to astound me.

It makes sense to me. They have reduced existence to a melodrama. Everything is "simple" in the gospel and black or white. It has a power to placate some but there are so many gaps that those lost in the grey of Mormonism (and they are legion) will never find their possibility for authentic existence but that isn't their goal. Fake happiness is.

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Posted by: gemini ( )
Date: July 11, 2018 07:19PM

My thoughts are with you and with her. My heart is heavy for you and for her. I said goodbye to my granddaughter last night as she enters the MTC to go to the Philippines. She is so young, so innocent, so trusting....I am in fear, like you are, and sad, too.

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Posted by: Nightingale ( )
Date: July 11, 2018 07:24PM

I wish it wouldn't happen. It's hard when loved ones are so far away. And especially in circumstances we wouldn't choose.

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Posted by: Elder Berry ( )
Date: July 12, 2018 11:15AM

gemini Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I am in fear, like you
> are, and sad, too.

Isn't it just too much? My daughter asked her mother to send some music to her and enlist my help. My wife found a cheap player online and we got in a disagreement about the quality and condition of the player. I don't think my wife understands what a foreign mission is like.

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Posted by: BYU Boner ( )
Date: July 11, 2018 07:27PM

I’ll send a prayer her way, but I’m also going to send you love and respect, Elder. I’ve been in your situation several times. I know what you’re feeling—a very beautiful part of you has left. Please post if the feeling become overwhelming. It took me a couple of days each time to get back to normal.

All my kids are now back home. Remarkably, none of them talk about the best two years of their lives. They’re still my wonderful kids.

For my friend, Elder Berry—much love, respect, and friendship! The Boner.

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Posted by: Elder Berry ( )
Date: July 12, 2018 11:17AM

BYU Boner Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Please post if the feeling become
> overwhelming. It took me a couple of days each
> time to get back to normal.

I did. This one. Still trying to recover from it. There is less than one week and she is out on her own with one other person.

> All my kids are now back home. Remarkably, none of
> them talk about the best two years of their lives.
> They’re still my wonderful kids.

This is literally a miracle. Maybe Mormons with all their ridiculous dead people work have an army of ghosts helping these kids.

> For my friend, Elder Berry—much love, respect,
> and friendship! The Boner.

Thanks. When I need a boner you are always there.

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Posted by: BYU Boner ( )
Date: July 12, 2018 11:54AM

Elder Berry Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> When I need a boner you are always there.

And I hope that you will experience many joyously unexpectedly surprise Boners in the future.

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Posted by: Elder Berry ( )
Date: July 12, 2018 12:05PM

Later in my life if I live long enough they will be more than surprises but miracles...

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Posted by: Pooped ( )
Date: July 12, 2018 12:35AM

Best wishes to you and to your daughter. May she remain safe and healthy throughout her time away. May you have peace of mind.

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Posted by: Elder Berry ( )
Date: July 12, 2018 11:18AM

Thank you all. You are so good to me and my crazy life with Mormons.

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Posted by: cl2 ( )
Date: July 16, 2018 12:44PM

You might get the book "Heaven Up Here" by John Williams is it for your wife to read so she can see what foreign missions are like. He didn't make it pro or anti mormon. Just told the story.

Oddly enough, my ex and I are extremely close. Even all his gay friends and ex boyfriends say that he needs me. We just both know NOT THAT WAY. We can talk about ANYTHING. We used to lie in bed at night and talk about the couples in the ward and how we were happier than most of the couples even in our difficult circumstances. We have "interesting" kids--totally opposite of each other. Extremely good looking. My boyfriend says my son could easily be a model. My son is extremely intelligent and my daughter is, too, but not as intelligent as our son. His intelligence almost plays against him (my brother is the same way, the one I'm so close to). My brother is like my male double.

So as much pain as my marriage has caused me, there is something there.

Life is just not explainable.

I'd be a total mess in your situation. I've said my daughter was thinking of going and hadn't told me. I figured it out. Our kids are a part of us. It is something I don't understand. I"m glad she just decided to go to Alaska instead. She is just a phone call away any time, any day. It does give me some measure of peace. AND I've been there and I know many people she works with, so I can picture where she is and what she is doing when she tells me. It helps a lot.

I think writing to parents only once a week is ridiculous. I didn't realize it until I was reading here about how missions really are about TEARING the relationships parents have with their kids apart.

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Posted by: Elder Berry ( )
Date: July 17, 2018 11:49AM

"Life is just not explainable."

Yes, and that is why it is wonderful.

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Posted by: frankie ( )
Date: July 16, 2018 04:19PM

I sure hope she is safe and always have a strong man around her. I imagine a young American woman would stick out and get unwanted attention. I use to vacation to france often and felt I stick out and got a lot of unwanted attention from men. I didn't really stick out but I felt like it

The clothes missionaries wear already makes them stick out like a sore thumb so it's worst for them

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Posted by: Elder Berry ( )
Date: July 17, 2018 11:49AM

frankie Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I imagine a young American woman
> would stick out and get unwanted attention.

I don't really know. But I can imagine terrible things.

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Posted by: captainklutz nli ( )
Date: July 17, 2018 12:01PM

EB,

If you can afford it, Fiio has a very nice music player for about $100 on Amazon. It's model is X1. It has no internal memory, but even a small SDcard can hold a lot of mp3 files. There's no i-Tunes to deal with and you could just send her extra cards already loaded. The case is metal and there arent any moving parts beyond buttons.

I've had one for a couple of years.

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Posted by: Elder Berry ( )
Date: July 17, 2018 12:10PM

Sweet thanks!

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