Sunday, October 25, 2015

The Long Journey of a Mormon Missionary

A week ago Saturday night we got an email from Evan letting us know that he would indeed be heading to Argentina on Monday. There was some question because of a glitch in his visa application, and we were prepared for the possibility of his serving in the US for about 6 weeks while his visa was sorted.  Apparently though, he needs to be in Argentina, because something that was expected to take a week to get through bureaucratic channels only took 24 hours.
I truly believe things like this are little miracles: Some person sees something come across their desk or in their email queue, and even though they have a million other things to do, something tells them to handle that thing first. Then my son gets a visa in time to go to Argentina, and he gets to be in the right place at the right time for someone he is meant to serve and help, or he will have an experience he's meant to have. It's how things work. I also believe that idea in the worker's mind comes from the spirit of God.

God influences us for good like that all the time. I love this quote I ran across today about leadership. Whether you believe in God or not, I think you can find a nugget of truth here. Leadership is not about power, it's really about service, and for my son to learn this now, as he begins his educational and working life is invaluable.
“We have to be in the right place at the right time doing the will of the Lord and helping the person who is in need of our help. That is what makes us a leader.”

And so he left the Missionary Training Center. With a group of 13 or 14 other missionaries, he traveled from SLC to ATL on Monday afternoon. We got to speak for a few minutes while he waited to catch his first flight. In ATL, he got to his gate with his group, then met up with an LDS woman from Georgia, whose son is already serving in Argentina. She met them at the airport, bought them all dinner, then accompanied them to the gate and took some photos. She also loaned him her phone to call us one more time...the last time we'll likely hear his voice till Christmas. It was a lovely tender mercy to have this contact, and I'll always be grateful to this kind woman. After all that, he boarded and went on to EZE.



Seeing the flight line reminds me that he is, in fact, about 5000 miles away. 
Once he landed in Buenos Aires, he had a 3.5 hour bus ride to the city of Rosario, which will be his home base for the next 22.5 months or so.  The plan is for him to return home sometime in the late summer of 2017, with his understanding enlarged and his heart softened.

My part in the plan is to support him, write him every week, pray for him, and conduct my life in a way that honors his sacrifice and willingness to do this. I am inspired by my children's missionary service and I've become a better person each time as I've learned my own lessons specific to each child's experience.

When we talked to him on Monday, he seemed excited, responsive, not too stressed by the circumstance of travel, and ready to go. When we got an email on Tuesday night, he sounded appropriately tired and working to take it all in. The tone was positive though, so I believe he's handling things pretty well. He's ready to get to work.

It's all a momma can ask for.


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