Wednesday, May 29, 2024

John's Mission Call!

 After a couple of logistical delays, John received his mission call on April 16th, but he chose not to open it for five days! I would never have the level of self-control and discipline to do that (and I'm a pretty self-disciplined person!). He drove all the way up from southern Virginia just for the weekend so that he could open his call with friends and family. That's how he wanted to do it, and even though it involved about twenty hours of driving and a five-day wait, it was totally worth it and he had no regrets! 

After church on Sunday, April 21st, at my house, he read his mission call surrounded by friends and family. He had three friends from high school there (and a couple more on FaceTime), four of his best friends from church (and one listening in from Japan, where he was on vacation), me, Sam, my mom, my mom's boyfriend/the stake patriarch (who gave John his patriarchal blessing), a longtime family friend from church, our bishop, and our wonderful stake president and his second counselor. Can I just take a moment to say how much the presence of these good people meant to me? They help make up for the losses that John, Sam, and I have experienced in our lives, and they are heaven-sent compensatory blessings for our family. The gentle influence of these righteous men especially is so good for my sons, and for me as well.

John read his mission letter and as soon as he read where he was going—the Colorado Denver South Mission—I knew immediately in my heart that that was exactly where he was supposed to go. That is where he's supposed to serve and live for two years, and it's just the right spot for him at this time. It was wonderful to receive that confirmation as his mother. {And as an aside—because the people and the work are more important than the geography—he's going to love the mountains and the beautiful scenery of Colorado! He's never seen the mountains before, having never been farther west than eastern Nebraska. And the "sportiness" of Colorado is such a great match for him.} 

He wasn't expecting Colorado at all and was a little disappointed not to be going on an international mission, which I'm sure is normal for those called to serve in their home country who'd like to go out of it. But he was still happy about it and he grew more excited as it began to sink in more. We also found out that evening that one of his good friends from Iowa is serving in that very same mission, which John is thrilled about! This friend is a top-notch, really good and smart guy, and I hope he and John will cross paths (and maybe even be companions!) during their year of overlap together. His mom told me that he is loving this mission and that it's "the best mission in the world," and I'm seeing a lot of positive things about it in the Facebook group I joined.

This is from an app. His mission also includes the big ski resort towns like Aspen and Vail.

The mission takes up the top lefthand quarter of Colorado and it goes a little up into Wyoming. It looks like he won't be serving in the city of Denver itself, but in its southern parts and suburbs.

I made a nice HelloFresh chicken dinner that evening (although the couscous did not turn out well!) and he had his own bottle of sparkling cider to celebrate.

There was a pretty sunset that evening. 
That's his car in the driveway. He drove back to Virginia the next morning.

It was a special, peaceful, memorable day. In the interest of full disclosure, for the next couple of days I felt some sadness and anxiety—it's a big thing to not see your child for two whole years and for them to go out to teach the gospel in a largely uncaring or unbelieving world. And the prospect of serving in the U.S. is a little scary to me—I've always thought that in some ways it's easier to share the gospel in a foreign land and new culture instead of amongst your fellow citizens. I think in some ways that U.S. missions are harder and more humbling for U.S. missionaries. John is also the first missionary in the family so there isn't much experience to draw on. But thankfully my anxieties have largely dissipated. I know that he's going to do great things, and that the Lord will be watching out over him the whole time. I'm so proud of him and his enthusiasm and genuine desire to serve a mission for the Lord and His Church.

His mission begins on August 12th. It's going to come quickly and we have a lot to do this summer to get ready, including him going through the temple for the first time, which he's excited about. There is so much to look forward to (and try not to be anxious about 😄)! 🤍