I’m writing this post from my sister Darci’s house in Utah. I drove down yesterday, with my oldest son, Clark (pictured above.) Clark is returning to BYU to continue his college education —and it suddenly hit me this week—he’s leaving me again. This summer is almost over. I’ve been wanting to blog some of our summer highlights for several weeks and now, here I am, realizing that if I don’t start, it may not happen. So …
Summer highlight #1: Clark is home!!!!!
I’ve looked forward to this particular summer for two full years. This is what missionary moms do. We put our boys (and girls) on the airplane, headed to a Missionary Training Center (MTC for short) and we come home and circle the day on the calendar that they will return. And, while two years is a long time and there were moments and days when I thought, “I can’t do this,” I can hardly believe that he is home. He did it. We did it. And this first summer highlight has made every other highlight ten times better. We have LOVED having Clark back and have enjoyed so much everything we have planned and anticipated—the big trips, the family gatherings and perhaps even most of the all, the quiet moments where we sit around the kitchen table or the living room and just talk and listen to his stories.
The coolest thing about having Clark home is Clark himself. His mission changed him. I knew this would happen of course, but it’s still so awesome to experience — he is everything good that he already was, only magnified — I am learning that adult children are worth every effort that you invest into teenage children (so, don’t give up if you’re dealing with teenage drama.) Anyway, having my first missionary come home will make it much easier for me to endure the last half of Chase’s mission and to send out any other children that have the desire to serve. Clearly any experience (at 18 or 19 or 20) that requires self-sacrifice, hard work and discipline will build character, but there is something special about Mormon missionaries, and that is that their primary purpose is to invite others to come unto Jesus Christ. They are immersed in the Master’s teachings and they work everyday to share the good news of His gospel. They help people find and restore their faith and (I believe) it is this spiritual focus that changes these boys and helps them mature and become better versions of themselves.
By the way, you can read more about Clark (and Chase) serving missions here, here and here, and if you’re curious about missionaries in general, there’s an informative article here. It’s actually interesting because the award-winning musical, The Book of Mormon is playing in Spokane right now and so I’ve had some friends ask me about missionaries. I have not seen this show—I’m sure it is entertaining, but I know that it also mocks missionaries and missionary work. So, I’ll wrap up my thoughts by saying that I am so grateful for my faith, and for my membership in the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I think often about my mission (I served in Frankfurt, Germany from May, 1986 to November, 1987) because it was such a pivotal time in my life. I know that keeping the commandments and striving to live and teach my children gospel principles has done nothing but bless my life and theirs. If you ever have questions about what missionaries do or what I believe, I hope you’ll ask me. I’m always eager to share!
A note about the picture: One of the smartest things I’ve ever done, is invite my friend Randi Brunt (awesome photographer) to come with our family to the airport for Clark’s homecoming, so that I could just be in the moment and she could capture it. I love the photos she took and will absolutely do this again when Chase comes home next summer!