Way back when my parents were first married and I wasn’t even a year old, my Dad worked with a guy who was a no longer an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. My Dad and this guy liked playing practical jokes on each other and my Dad’s friend came up with a doozy.
One Saturday morning the doorbell rang. It was two representatives from the Jehovah Witnesses asking if they could share their message with my parents. My Dad explained that they were very happy with their current religious situation and thanked them for their time.
Thirty minutes later the doorbell rang again. This time the representatives were Hare Krishnas. Again, my Dad explained that they were happy with their religious situation and thanked them for their time.
This went on for almost the entire day. If you haven’t guessed it by now the representatives from each church had been sent by my dad’s practical joke loving friend.
The next time the doorbell rang, the prank was getting a bit old. This time as my Dad opened the door, two clean cut, suit wearing young men from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints stood in front of him.
My Dad was just about to thank them for their time, when something spoke to his heart that made my Dad stop and really look at these two Mormon Missionaries. My Dad invited them in to listen to what they had to say.
Then he invited them back again and again.
My parents were baptized in Hawaii. I was baptized on a cold October day in in the Mediterranean Sea. We were sealed as a family in the Swiss Temple.
The Mormon Missionaries have always played an important role in my family’s life. My oldest son served a two year mission to Long Beach, CA, Spanish speaking. He spent much of that two years in Camden where gun shots and sirens were a constant in the background. He returned with great honor for a job well done.
My middle son, Rigel, just sent his papers in last week. We should know where he will be serving in about two weeks.
Serving a mission is a blessing and a sacrifice. It’s two years of a young man or young woman’s life dedicated to bringing others to Christ. Some Missionaries don’t proselytize while on their missions. Instead these Missionaries spend their time in the field doing service.
Missionaries and their families pay out of pocket for missions. Yup, they pay their own way and put off school, dating and work for two years in order to focus entirely on doing the Lord’s work. It’s about $400.00 a month, along with outfitting the missionaries in suits, ties, white shirts, sturdy shoes and often bicycles.
Even when you’ve begun saving for your child’s mission since their birth, unexpected things (hello, medical bills) often come up. However, when you look back in Mormon history you’ll discover that the early missionaries often left their families and wives and children with nothing more than the clothes on their backs and faith in the Lord that their needs would be taken care of. Many of those early Missionaries crossed the ocean to England and were gone for as many as 5 or more years.
We have a firm belief that the blessings gained from serving a mission will outweigh any sacrifices made to serve that mission. Before Brant left on his mission, he was worried that Parker might die while he was in the field. Reed gave Brant a father’s blessing and in that blessing told Brant that Parker would run into his arms when he returned home. That blessing was fulfilled.
Many missionaries grow to love the areas in which they serve so much that they find it harder to come home after their missions are over than it was for them to leave in the first place. They return home as informed ambassadors of the nations and cultures where they served.
It is going to be hard for me to drop Rigel off at the Missionary Training Center, give him a hug and then say goodbye for two years. He’s ready though. He’s worked so hard to align himself with the Spirit. Missionaries can only teach through the Spirit, so being worthy of that companionship is crucial.
There are 350 Missions all over the world. Here is a list of them. For as long as I can remember Rigel has wanted to serve in Fiji. I keep telling him he’ll be sent to Boise, Idaho where he’ll be close enough for me to visit every weekend and do his laundry.
Where do YOU think Rigel’s Mission call will be to? Write your guess in the comments section below!