Monday, June 24, 2013

The Call to Serve

I haven't written about Sam coming home yet. I haven't written about all the fun things I'm doing right now, which is a LOT, but for the moment I'm going to write about this, then I'll get back to my regularly scheduled life, because I've been waiting for this for about 6 weeks, and now I feel like I'm over a fence that had me kind of going in circles. Time to move on.

Sometime in the middle to late part of May, my daughter submitted her application to be a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Usually a call to serve is received by the applicant about 2 or 3 weeks later. So we started waiting excitedly for that day to come.

2 weeks came and went. We were still within range. No worries, though it would have been awesome for it to come while I was there in Utah. No luck.

3 weeks passed. The anticipation grew, but her status had changed to "Call Issued," so now all we had to wait for was the vagaries of the US mail, right?

4 weeks passed. Just about every night, there was a text convo around 7pm when she checked her mail, and we would all chime in with encouragement, consternation and predictions about where she would go. It became something of a nightly ritual for our family.

Then about 10 days ago, something big happened. Evan went out to check the mail on Friday afternoon the 14th of June and came blasting through the door like a cuter, blonder Kramer and shouted, "I think we got Sara's mission call!!!!" He handed me a large white envelope with a Salt Lake address on it. Hmmm.

We noticed though, that it was from Travel Services, not the Missionary Department. That was significant. It meant she had travel arrangements to make, except we didn't yet know where she was going. We needed information. Sara wanted me to open the big white envelope, but as soon as we opened it, we realized it had specific info in it, and we didn't want to leak info that Sara might not want before the big reveal, so we shoved it all back in the envelope with only a few clues.

We now knew she would be going to a foreign country. Some of us knew which one.
We knew that she would need a tricky visa.
We knew when she would be leaving.

Evan especially felt the burden of knowing these bits of information, but we determined we would not tell Sara so she could be entirely surprised when her call did come.

Sam called Travel Services and we discovered that her call had been sent on June 4, and they send out travel info about a week later! What?? She never received it, so they checked her file........No apartment number. The mystery was solved. Okay, now a problem that could be worked. No worries. We were transferred to another department to fix that problem but no one answered.

The excitement mounted and there were groans of..."Can this happen any more slowly?"-when Eric finally got in touch with the person who could help and they changed her address but said that nothing could be done till Tuesday the 18th. We would have to call back then.

That day dawned overcast and expectant, and when Eric got through to Salt Lake, they said they would try to print a new call and mail it that day or Wednesday. Relief set in. The waiting would be over soon. Surely by Thursday or Friday all would be revealed.

But no. Thursday-nothing. Friday-no call. Saturday-still nothing. When we called to check the status, all indications were that nothing had happened on Tuesday or Wednesday. The last note in her file was the conversation on the 14th in which they fixed her address and told us to call back. Sighing ensued.

Then another big thing happened. We were having a party for some kids at our house on Saturday night the 22nd. A big sister of one of the kids came in to pick people up. Her brother said she wasn't going to come in, but there she was. She is a good friend of mine from lots of youth activities, and she is going on a mission herself very soon. She joyfully congratulated me on Sara's call to _________, and I blurted out, "But Sara doesn't have her call yet!" My friend was taken aback and I'm sure felt bad, but it turns out she was the hero of the day, because she said something really insightful that caused my brain to kick into gear and I realized that her dad, our Stake President (an ecclesiastical position in our church) would have gotten notified about Sara's call and since he gets those notifications after the call is issued, it never occurred to him it was not common knowledge yet. AHA!

After a quick email to the Stake President at 11pm and his equally quick reply (bless him for being a night owl), we knew what we needed to know and Sara decided to announce so that we could start planning for real and so that she could be the one to share the news instead of hearing it backward through other people. It needed to happen now for that very important reason.

So, at 12:20 am eastern time on June 23rd, 2013, we convened a crazy, middle of the night skype meeting over the internet, conferenced in a couple of aunts and grandparents, and this happened:

So yes, my girl is going far away to the Brazil Curitiba South Mission for 18 months. I'm so thrilled and excited for her. I'll write more about that later. This just needed to be captured for my own sake. Thanks for reading and sharing our excitement!


  1. Wow. What a round-about way to get a call! I can't imagine having to wait SO long to know. I'm sure the influx of missionaries is leading to more than the usual number of hold-ups. Anyway. CONGRATULATIONS!! That's so exciting! Our first missionary from the Spanish branch left two weeks ago for the Provo MTC and a mission in Brazil. I think it's the Rio de Jainero mission, though.

  2. whah!! what a crazy mission call adventure!! That certainly comes in at the top somewhere. Brazil! That sounds perfect for Sara. So excited! :D :D :D

  3. Such a crazy story! It's so funny (and not) how it happened! I'm glad it all worked out and she's going to an awesome place. There was only one Curitiba mission when Jake went there. Lots of growth for sure!

  4. Oh my Kellie! That is such a crazy story! I have never heard anything like it before. I am so excited for her and for you. Such goodness and wonderfulness to come!!


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