Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Blog Tour/Review: Do Not Attempt in Heels: Mission Stories and Advice from Sisters Who've Been There, by Elise Hahl and Jennifer Knight



Do Not Attempt in Heels: Mission Stories and Advice from Sisters Who've Been There, Compiled by Elise Babbel Hahl & Jennifer Rockwood Knight
2014, 224p, LDS Non-Fiction
My Rating=5 Stars
Source: Received copy from publisher for an honest review

Whether a sister has already worn a missionary badge or is still planning to wear one, this collection of personal stories from the mission field is sure to inspire and entertain. Feel the elation, exhaustion, humor, frustration, and faith of these dedicated sister missionaries. Share the spirit of the divine work of sister missionaries with Do Not Attempt in Heels.

This book is great! I served a mission eons ago now and this book proves how timeless missions truly are. I could totally relate to the experiences of these much younger girls. I felt like some of them were telling my own experiences and others I didn't experience myself but have heard stories from other returned missionaries throughout the years. There are seven girls in my family and we all served missions, so we have lots of stories between us! Oh, and a side note, everything interesting at home will happen when you're on your mission. Or some world event is discussed and you have a blank look on your face because it happened when you were on your mission. Ahem, back to the book...

I could relate to Mary Jones Scoresby's story titled "Sweet Lemons." She got her call to Italy and envisioned the perfect mission where she and her companion's "...discussions would be a seamless sequence of truth, testimony, and tears" and she was prepared to go forth and change the landscape of the church in Italy. However, the reality was insomnia, difficult companions, lack of investigators and failing branches. It was easy to become discouraged. She started to understand agency better and was blessed with the Spirit and went on to have a much better mission experience. Yes, negative feelings are felt on missions but that's usually when the most growth occurs.

From experiences with rejection, success, homesickness, investigators, companions, elders, ward members, health, discouragement, happiness, teaching, praying, and many more, you can experience the ups and downs of missionary life through reading this book. It truly is a roller coaster yet it is worth it! Missions are hard but they don't seem like they will be until you experience it for yourself. 

In the Introduction, they explain the title of their book: "...wherever you may serve, take this one last piece of advice about missions to heart: Do not attempt in heels! (We're not kidding.) In the end, the most attractive footwear is the kind that allows you to work all day. ...That's true in every mission." I wholeheartedly agree! 

This is a book I think everyone would enjoy. If you're planning to serve a mission, if you wanted to but never got the chance, if you're a returned missionary, or even if you're not quite sure what a mission is, there are stories to help you begin to understand what a mission entails or to jog your memories of your own mission experiences. The chapters vary in length and are all well written and entertaining! This is a great read!


Elise Hahl

Elise Babbel Hahl is a mother of four, freelance writer, editor, and recent graduate of the M.A. in Writing Program at Johns Hopkins. Her oldest son Caleb wants Elise to be his companion on his mission, so she’s about a decade away from another adventure. In the meantime, she enjoys running, playing the piano, and trying different Brazilian restaurants with her husband.

Jennifer Knight

Jenn thrives on adventure, whether it’s raising her four children, writing, running, opening a pre-school, or traveling abroad. She recently finished a thesis examining declining church attendance among Christian singles in the U.S., which culminated in a master’s degree in religion from Harvard University. After that arduous adventure, her husband Kurt now tries to encourage more relaxing pursuits like knitting and sleeping. It doesn’t work.

3 comments:

Taylor Dean said...

Looks like something every young woman ought to read. Perhaps it will help them go in to the mission field knowing what they are getting themselves into! I need it too, since my hubby and I do plan on going on a mission in later life! It's already taught me one thing: don't wear heels! My parents served in Hawaii--and I'm so jealous! Thanks for sharing this, Mel. I don't live close to a church bookstore and it's nice to come to your blog and see what's out there.

Melanie Valderrama said...

Thanks, Taylor! From what I've seen and heard, serving a mission with your husband is way different. First of all, no companion problems (hopefully). You would probably be okay to wear heels, too, since you're not out tracting and walking to most appointments. It is a fun book to read, for sure!

Elise Hahl said...

Thanks for the review, Melanie. Glad you could relate to our book!

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