The Newsroom Blog

Mormon Missionaries’ Mothers Connect Online

Maraea Turketo, a Hamilton, New Zealand mother of missionary twin boys serving in the Dominican Republic, is the energy behind the Missionary Mamas (from Down Under) web page.


Turketo prepared her sons to go on missions all their lives. But when they left, she says, she realized that she wasn’t prepared.

“I had no idea of the grief and loss I would experience becoming an empty nester overnight. This was meant to be the happiest time of my life—having two sons on a mission is an achievement after all. Sending my sons on a mission has been the hardest thing I have ever done.”

Turketo took her trial and turned it into triumph. She started a blog, writing about her feelings and experiences, realizing it could help prepare other future missionary mums.

“My sons were so excited that I felt guilty and felt it was 'wrong' to be feeling so sad. People would tell me that ‘time will go fast,’ when in reality the seconds didn't pass fast enough.”

She then started the Facebook group, adding her friends who had missionary sons and daughters. Today there are 161 Missionary Mamas and Papas in the group from Australia and New Zealand with missionaries who are serving in every continent.

“I soon discovered that other Mamas were experiencing exactly what I was going through. There have been numerous times when someone has been down and the group have rallied around and picked that Missionary Mama up and given her strength to carry on.”

They encourage all group members to actively share their experiences so all can benefit. 

In addition to two retreats, a recent women’s conference gave many of the Missionary Mamas the chance to meet.

“We each wore a pink flower so we could identify each other among the masses of beautiful women! When we found each other throughout the day, we hugged, chatted, laughed and took photos together. Missionary Mamas has been a wonderful support group, a place where we support, uplift and encourage each other.” 

The experiences of participants in the group have been varied but overwhelmingly positive. A sampling of comments follows:  

Bronwyn Wikaira: “The Missionary Mamas Facebook page has been an awesome support network for me as a first time Missionary Mama. The last 13 months have been made easier through this page, sharing, caring, laughing, crying and celebrating with other Mamas and Papas the missionary milestones of our babies—they are our babies. I have personally recommended this page to other Mamas who are stepping through that door of becoming a missionary mom. It is an absolutely great support group and I’ve made new friends along the way!"

Luanne Butler: “Missionary Mamas is a life saver. Just being able to share with other mamas, papas, nanas, and family who know exactly how you feel, through the ups and downs. Always easier to share burdens, freedom to ask anything. Amazing journeys!”

Karen Caesar: “Since becoming a member of this group, I have met wonderful sisters and brethren who all have sons and daughters out serving the Lord. It is wonderful to know members who have similar thoughts, feelings and wonderful advice and ideas. My daughter is serving in Perth, and it has been through this group that I have met wonderful members living in Perth who are now looking after my daughter in the mission field and showing so much love to her. I will be eternally grateful for their love to her. I hope I can return the love back to the wonderful missionaries that we have coming through our ward.”

Arta Harris: “If it wasn't for this group, who could one share with in our journey with our missionaries...the highs and the lows...mostly the support of other parents who are having similar experiences...yet above all we realise how much the Saviour is in each missionary’s life regardless where they are serving. It strengthens my testimony of missionary work and the Saviour’s Plan of Happiness.”

Rebekah Green: “Sending a child out on their mission involves highs and lows (for mothers) that nobody else can ever understand. But Missionary Mamas just get it and then offer supportive advice, comfort and inspiration in a safe environment. Plus, I love crying over everyone else's welcome home videos!”

Michelle Hughes Fesolai: “This page has been a strength to me and I have really loved and enjoyed sharing my missionary with these other mommas and dads and grandparents, aunts, etc. It has also been a comfort to me to know that other parents are feeling what I do as my son serves his mission in the Ghana, Accra Mission. Love this page and the founder it's been heaven sent.”

Collette Mihaere: “Our missionaries’ journeys are filled with miracles, developing stronger relationships with their Heavenly Father, and as parents we celebrate these life- changing experiences. But, it is heart-breaking to hear of their challenges, especially when they ask us to pray for them even though they know we do this with every heartbeat. Missionary Mamas have all experienced these moments and together we have cried, laughed and prayed for each other. Eternal friendships made.”

And Deb Glassie: “Maraea Garisau Turketo was sent to me from Heavenly Father. If it wasn’t for her strength, courage and faith, I would have jumped on the plane and brought my son home from the Philippines. Okay, maybe not that extreme, but close to it. This amazing group of like-minded souls kept me going.”

Missionary Mamas celebrate when their missionaries return and they have also started an RM Missionary Mamas group knowing the challenges and opportunities that come with their return home, especially for the missionary.

Browse the Blog

About The Blog: This blog is managed and written by staff of the Public Affairs Department of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The information here is reliable and accurate but should not necessarily be viewed as official statements from the Church. The purpose of this blog is to provide journalists, bloggers, and the public with additional context and information regarding public issues involving the Church. For official news releases and statements from the Church, visit

Style Guide Note: When reporting about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, please use the complete name of the Church in the first reference. For more information on the use of the name of the Church, go to our online Style Guide.