Sorry for the long leave of absence...is anyone still out there? I decided to try writing again because I love it and miss it.
My thoughts lately have been on missionary work. Our son and daughter have both received mission calls to serve in France, leaving six weeks apart. (Katie France Paris Mission, Jacob France Lyon Mission) It has been so exciting to see them both make this choice, especially since that is where I served my mission. I have been excited right up until the last day or so when it became the actual month that Jacob leaves. I started thinking about the sacrifice it will be to send off our son for two years. And then our daughter. And then another son. And then probably a son or daughter every few years for a long time. That thought makes me so sad, and I have wondered how I will be able to do it. To be perfectly honest, I started to feel pretty sorry for myself over the whole situation.
So I had two thoughts yesterday that helped me to see things very differently.
First, I remembered that I am the product of missionaries. I am the product of member missionaries inviting me to church and activities and into the lives of their families. I am also the product of full-time missionaries and their great teaching and testimonies. Everything that I have in my life, everything that is dear to me, I have because I chose to join the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints twenty-six years ago. That is not an exaggeration. I met my amazing husband at BYU. Also, I served an LDS mission, which influenced decision-making for the rest of my life. My life is so happy, full and wonderful. I can share the blessings I have by allowing my kids to go find other people waiting to hear about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. There is certainly a need.
Second, I read this story. It is from the LDS April 2013 General Conference, told by Elder Stanley G. Ellis in his talk "The Lord's Way". This principle was a major paradigm shift for me.
For 16 years I served in the presidency of the Houston Texas North Stake. Many moved to our area during those years. We would often receive a phone call announcing someone moving in and asking which was the best ward. Only once in 16 years did I receive a call asking, “Which ward needs a good family? Where can we help?”
In the early years of the Church, President Brigham Young and others would call members to go to a certain place to build up the Church there. The irony is that even now we have faithful Church members everywhere who would go anywhere the prophet asked them to go. Do we really expect President Monson to individually tell more than 14 million of us where our family is needed? The Lord’s way is that we hearken to our leaders’ teachings, understand correct principles, and govern ourselves.
I learned from this that I need to quit thinking of myself and instead think of others and their needs. I need to think of where we are needed rather than what I want or what it most comfortable for our family. President Monson has told us where he needs our help. He has changed the age that missionaries can serve. He needs our missionaries. I can't personally go build up the church in France, or South America, or in the United States. But I can send my children, who are willing and worthy to go.
So I feel buoyed up. There will be tears shed on June 26 when Jacob leaves, and more shed on August 7 when Katie leaves. But I know that we are serving the Lord in the way we can right now. That knowledge strengthens my faith and gives me peace.