In honor of this upcoming Sunday (no, not because of General Conference weekend) I want to remind you of your once-a-year opportunity/obligation to the missionaries in your ward.
Especially for poor American missionaries who are serving in the good old US of A instead of the exotic country they spent all four years in high school studying the language of, hoping the Lord would see the good common sense it makes to send them to where they were already prepared to go.

These sad, jaded American boys and girls need something to write home about. They need stories to tell from the pulpit and ways to entertain their future Seminary students. Give them the gift they so desperately need.

In honor of April Fools Day, which lands on Sunday this year, I am going to share with you the April Fools joke I played on my family and ward missionaries one year. It has gone down in our family lore as the Best Missionary Moment Ever, even beating out our infamous Fear Factor Test (Please refer to my Mormon Mentality post history to relive that fun.)
No, this incident wins the prize because:
A. It was unexpected. I don’t have a history of pulling pranks on April 1st, so no one was looking for it.
B. It was cheap.
C. It didn’t require elaborate planning.
D. You can do it too. And if you do copy it, I expect you to do the honorable thing and return and report. I want others to be inspired by your cleverness.

Here’s the true story of The Young’s Best Missionary Moment Ever aka The Day Mom Proved Her Awesomeness:

I forgot I signed up to feed the missionaries. In fact, since I hardly ever remember when it is my turn that is completely unnecessary information. The important thing to know is I was not thinking ahead about this meal. Anyhoo, on April Fool’s day, I had to feed the missionaries. And it was YM/YW that night, which meant it had to be a Wednesday. (Also a completely unnecessary fact. I digress.) At 1 pm that day I got a phone call from the missionaries reminding me that I was going to feed them. I got busy cleaning up the kitchen so I could figure out what to make for dinner. As I was wiping counters, it came all at once. The spark of pure inspiration lit in my mind and within seconds it became a full-fledged forest fire of brilliance. The menu for the meal was easy enough. The fun was in the dessert.

I had just enough time to straight up the house, run to Wal-mart, grab what I needed and make my idea reality before the kids got home from school. That part was crucial because I wasn’t sure it was even going to work and I didn’t want my three munchkins all up in my creative business. I did mention to my oldest daughter who was 10 years old, that I was making a sponge cake for dinner with a real sponge but not to tell the secret. She agreed. I am lousy at keeping secrets to myself.

You have to know at that point in our lives, we were a sugar-free, preservative-free, soda-free, organic type family. All at my insistence. I rarely made cookies or cake beyond birthdays. One Halloween I even forced my kids to boycott Trick- or Treating and instead invited marginally-like minded parents, who drug their resentful children behind them, to our house for an Organic Halloween party where I presented all the children with some seriously nasty health food that was supposed to mimic candy. In my defense, that happened only once. My desire to drag my family into the Celestial Kingdom of Health was real and virtuous. I had a pure heart.

I couldn’t be there for the actually meal. I had to be at church for YM/YW. I hurriedly got dinner all ready, including dessert. I left it on the table for the family and flew out the door to church. With a nervous prayer, I left Jesus in charge. I knew He could handle it.

While I was gone, Rob and the kids were doing a dance of joy in the dining room. No one thought to question the wondrous gift I left for them on the table. All they saw was the enticing yellow cake with thick chocolate frosting and multi-colored sprinkles on top. I used a smoky glass baking dish for my creation so the yellow cake part showed through the sides. It looked pretty real, if I do say so myself.

After the missionaries and my family finished snarfing down whatever it was I made for dinner, eyeing the cake the whole time, Rob grabbed a large kitchen knife while small plates were handed out to all. He plunged the knife deeply into the cake. It seemed to be a bit difficult to cut but with encouragement from the missionaries, he started sawing away. Our oldest daughter Jennifer, tried to interrupt Rob’s ongoing commentary about how tough the cake was, by saying, “Dad, it’s a sponge!, It’s a sponge cake.” Rob, being the usual attentive father, waved her off, replying, “I know, I know. Your mom makes great sponge cake.” (Whaaa?? I’ve never made a sponge cake in my life. I’m not even exactly sure what they are.)

After a few comical moments of parental neglect, the message finally reached Rob’s brain and he connected the dots. Ty reached over and pulled the giant yellow car wash sponge out of the pan, dripping chemically adulterated canned frosting poison onto the table. My sugar-starved family licked the frosting off the table.

The shock of the trick reverberated in our family and weeks later I was paid back with a trick played on me. It was so worth it.

The saddest part of the story was that once the joke was acknowledged, Rob and the missionaries couldn’t accept that it was really true. They looked in the oven, fridge, pantry and all the kitchen cupboards, thinking I had made a cake for real and hid it for them to find. I wish I had. It would have probably lessened the sting and I could have avoided being “punked” weeks later. But no. There was no real treat. Didn’t my family know me at all? I loved them enough to NOT pollute their bodies with such trash.

I was stunned when I came home at 9pm to face a still excited family. The kids acted out the whole incident, even the part when Rob ignored Jennifer’s pleas as she got more and more insistent, “it’s a sponge, Dad!” I think it went off better because I wasn’t there. I was amazed they fell for it. It seemed so obviously fake to me, considering my years of indoctrination on the evils of preservative laden, cancer-causing fake foods.

It was a small act, probably one you have already done a million times. It was my gift to my family and those poor American missionaries stuck serving Heavenly Father’s flock in the middle of nowhere rural Illinois.

Now go get busy thinking up your own way to brighten the day of your Servants of the Lord. They need all the help you can give.