Friday, July 26, 2013

Mission Letter Week 1 - 26 July 2013

ELDER A IS IN MY DISTRICT!!!!!! I totally forgot about him! hahaha. How do I know him again??  Reply to this one on DearElder so I can get it asap. :D I haven't met anyone else on there yet companions are totally awesome though!!! :D Elders B and C. Elder B got here late from Canada due to flight delays and Elder C  is from Tucson, Arizona. Also one of our ZL's (Zone Leaders) is from Houston so we bonded pretty fast. hahaha.

HOLY COW! so I've learned more in the last two days about the gospel and how to invite others to Christ than I have in my entire life! It's SO awesome here and I'm having a SWELLTASTIC time. The Elders in our District and Zone are amazing and the Sisters in our Zone are too! Sadly we have no Sisters in our District but oh well haha...Tell Daddy to stop laughing at that! ;) OH B T DUBS (Be The Way). I got called as a ZL with my companions starting on Sunday!! (And in case it wasn't clear yet, we are a trio companionship haha) All in all it's been amazing and VERY busy. I've started in Grandpa's journal and plan to write in it everyday. Getting my thoughts onto paper after the day is done is really nice, very calming.

We have also started to teach "mock investigators", so that's fun. :D It is actually more difficult than I thought to teach someone by inviting instead of appearing to shove it down their throats... Gotta watch out for that, my Wagner blood takes over! There is sooo much I want to talk about but I just don't have the time!! (Fridays are my P-day while at the MTC BTW) I know everything is kinda randomly ordered right now - haha. They really just threw us into the fray so it's a little high tension right now. Next Friday I'll have more time because today was only a half P-day... Next Friday is all day. :) Oh, a fun fact for this email, a Sister here has been here 9 weeks and will be here 3-4 more to learn Croatian... or however you spell that language. And something else....that's a long time O.O. Haha!  Alright well I gotta run now so I'll email next Friday! I love you guys a ton and hope I do well for you, the Lord, myself, and most importantly the investigators out there waiting to hear the Word.

Be yourself. Open your mouth...That's my new signature line...tell Bro JB that. :) (I forgot to bring my contacts book with me soooo yeah.)

P.S. I did get the DearElder mail you sent but haven't had time to read it I'll reply to that asap. :)

Okay for reals- bye this time :) BYE!

Elder Nine

OH! And don't worry about emailing too much haha! Just remember I only have an hour total to do emails a week.  Love you! Bye again!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Entering the MTC - 24 July 2013

The long-awaited day!  Entering the MTC.  Wow. Is this real?  How did this day get here SO FAST?

Making a quick stop on the way to get a picture with BYU's Cougar in front of the stadium

Whisked off to the MTC - It's actually a VERY organized "Drive Thru" with other Missionaries escorting them, carrying their bags, and guiding them to where they need to go.
These Missionaries hit the ground running. Literally.  They get started on classes and studying as soon as they get there. Unpacking is done later that evening.
The typical and Traditional picture standing by the world map in the MTC and pointing to where his mission is.

Showing the guys how to do push-ups the "motivational way" - put a Little Debbie Oatmeal & Cream Pie on the floor

Then, every time you go down, you take a bite...

Just try to not lose it and laugh in the middle of it....
And try to not squish it into the carpet!

THAT is how to motivate yourself to do push-ups!

My goofy son that I love so much! Who else would come up with such ideas? ;)

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Overnighting in SLC - 23 July 2013

Elder Nine and Elder Yan flew to Salt Lake City and spent the night with my sister and her husband.  They enjoyed a stake cook-out on their back porch and the "catching up" with family that Elder Nine hadn't seen in several years. Even cousin Jasen was kind enough to drive up and be there so he could visit with Elder Nine and get to chat and know each other as adults.  How nice was that? :)

I am so thankful for my sister and brother-in-law for hosting these two missionaries, feeding them, giving them a place to sleep, and driving them to the MTC the following day to drop them off as they officially began their missions. So blessed for good family!

D-DAY!! 23 July 2013

Today is the day.

The day we say so long. Farewell. Good luck. We love you. We are proud of you. Remember to brush your teeth each night. Stay warm. Stay cool.  Follow your mission rules. Serve with Honor. Return with Honor. And so many other last minute things that go through a proud parent's mind, and heart, and oh so many that get lost in the mindless emotional day!

The night prior to Elder Nine leaving, he and I stayed up all night. There was, as expected, last minute laundry, packing, and other to-do's that claimed the hours of the night. But you know what? It was a blessed and cherished night for me. I spent it alone with my son. We listened to inspirational music, talked, laughed, and just spend the hours together. It still brings tears to my eyes. Oh how I love this boy of mine.

The next day, there were last minute errands. Had to run to Walmart and buy a disposable phone so that Elder Nine could call home when he left the MTC on his way to Bakersfield (the "mission field") and was stuck at the Salt Lake City airport for two hours waiting. It's the perfect time for these missionaries to call home to Mom and just chat for anywhere from 5-90 minuted (all depending on their flights and how much time they have).   Here we are on our way to Walmart:

Haha! Yeah, we were pretty exhausted. Not only physically, but mentally and emotionally. But in a good way!

On the way home, one last "eat out" stop at Cane's Chicken and then home to pack up the luggage and head to the airport. However, as our last "event" at home, Elder Nine asked his Daddy for a Father's Blessing.  A very special moment in these men's lives. So many years, tantrums, hugs, tears, lessons, hugs,  good and bad consequences, teachings, campouts, experiences, and LOVE having transpired between these two. Too many to put into words. Too many to capture in one single picture. But not too many for the heart to hold.

Taken just prior to giving him the Father's Blessing

And now... the Airport.  Bob being silly, "Oh look here.. we can fly to anywhere we want!"

Siblings.... She's really going to miss him!

Of the thousands taken in 19 years, the last Father-Son photo for 2 years...
Trying REALLY hard to hold it together.... Gonna miss him so very much!
Our boy! All grown up and serving a mission!
Last family photo
The two new Elders and their fathers

Good friends since they were 8!
But this what they normally look like! haha!
Goodbyes were said... Here they go...  God Speed, Elders!
I held it together really well. I was proud of myself. The minute we walked outside, I could not hold the tears back and began just sobbing. I felt my heart had just been ripped out of my body. At the very same time, I felt the greatest joy and pride in my child that I have ever felt at any other time with any of my kids. This moment was so emotionally polarizing. I was unprepared for that part. I always dreamed of this day and figured it would be a day of great rejoicing.

It was!

But it was also a day of deep, heartfelt pain from having my boy leave my arms for two years during which time we would be unable to email, text, or call each other at will.  ONCE a week, for the next two years, is all we get.  Plus a phone call to Mom for Christmas and a phone call for Mother's Day. That's it. I think the fact that we CANNOT contact each other makes it more difficult. It's not the same as going off to College or work. During those events you can contact at will. On missions you cannot. Not allowed.  And it's OK. It serves a great purpose. Many actually. It keeps the missionary from getting "trunky" (meaning super duper homesick).  If they talked with family and friends at will, then there is no real "getting away" from the world, from their lives they are called to put on hold for two years. They also cannot focus on the work of being Representatives of the Lord and preach His work and serve His children as they should.  It would make it extra difficult to put out of their minds all the movies, music, video games, and drama going on back home. By being on their own for two years, it also provides them the wonderful opportunity to grow and learn on their own. They can't run home to Mommy and Daddy, even by phone, to fix their problems. They are forced to figure it out themselves. More importantly, they are forced to learn to rely on the Lord. Something that is crucial when you become a Fisher of Men - as Christ has called them to become.

I am more than happy to sacrifice this time away from my son. I am thankful and proud of him for being willing to sacrifice this time as well in his own life. I am convinced that he will never rise further in his stature in his future life, than he rises during his Mission. This mission will prove to be the biggest spiritual blessing in His life.

Am I willing to sacrifice my own heart and desires in order for my son to receive such a blessing?

And then, as soon as we got home, Emily ran in to get a drink from the fridge and came walking back into the family room with this:

We both began crying!  This was Elder Nine's drink and he had been "saving" it in the fridge, to drink before leaving. Evidently he forgot to drink it. To say he is a Dr Pepper FAN would be a huge understatement. So being the saps that we are, we just lost it. I guess his leaving was still too fresh on our hearts. We love that crazy nut!  And we surely miss all his noise and silliness and crazy things he would say and do around the home. He has definitely left a big hole in our lives.  But we wouldn't want him anywhere else at this time than on his mission, serving the Lord!

Elder Nine.  Just the sound of that makes my heart leap with joy and pride. Bob and I so very well pleased in our son.

Monday, July 22, 2013

In Preparation For "D-Day" (Departure Day)

When a young man turns 18 and after he has graduated from high school, if he is found worthy, he has hands laid upon him to give him the Holy Melchizedek Priesthood, and to set him apart as an Elder in the House of Israel. This is a prerequisite prior to being set apart as a missionary.  For Jonathan this took place on 30 September 2012.

Next, and after a few more months of preparation, we held Elder Yan's and Elder Nine's Farewell in our Church service, which we call Sacrament Meeting.  This was on 21 July 2013.  They each gave wonderful sermons ("talks"), and in between them they performed a hymn together, I Need Thee Every Hour. It was a beautiful arrangement by Sally DeFord.

The next day, Jonathan and our family visited with our Stake President. That was the night prior to Elder Nine's departure for Utah where he would enter the Missionary Training Center (MTC).  This was a private and special meeting where not only did Jonathan receive the laying on of hands to be set apart as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but we also had a wonderful time visiting and listening to Elder Nine being offered kind and loving instruction by our Stake President on serving his mission. As a mother, I really appreciate the part where he was counseled to FIRST write his mother each week, and never let a week go by without doing so. And not only write her, but give as many details as he can regarding his mission, so that his family can "live the mission alongside you as much as possible".  Clearly, there may be details he doesn't want or shouldn't share. That's ok. But where possible, share as many as he can. If he runs out of time to write others, that's fine. The "others" can read the news from Mom. But do not put mom off to the end, because then you may run out of time to write all the details and you'll end up telling Mom "Oh, I ran out of time, I'll write more later."  No. Mom comes first. All others will have to stand in line behind her. :)  And I have to say, Elder Nine has almost always held true to that counsel and promise. (He promised he would)  And that has made this mother's heart be able to handle this separation a bit easier. I also feel it is helping to build our relationship further, as his family is first in his mind, and he is constantly on our minds.