Friday, September 18, 2015

My First Missionary Mom Post

Most people know, if you've read my blog in the last 10 years, that I am LDS, aka "Mormon." If you aren't LDS also, then I'm assuming you've at least seen or heard of missionaries from our church. You know, the guys on bikes that knock on your door? Well, the time has come that my son, Alec, has chosen to serve a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. He received his mission call on my birthday, May 11.

Here's a blurb from about what missionaries are and what they do:

Who are the Missionaries?

Why would these young men and women choose to put on their dress clothes and traipse around strange parts of the world for two years? The Lord’s Church has always been a missionary church. Just as Jesus Christ and His disciples preached the gospel, more than 84,000 missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are spreading His word today. They are called to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ in all parts of the world. Most missionaries are about 20 years old, though many older married couples also choose to serve. Missionaries voluntarily put aside school, work and dating for about two years in order to serve the Lord at their own expense.
Communication with family is even limited to letters or email and very occasional phone calls
so that they can focus wholeheartedly on serving the Lord and the people where they serve. During their two years of full time service they devote themselves to studying, meeting people and teaching about Jesus Christ and His restored Church. Their work is a labor of love, and most missionaries end up feeling they gained more than they gave by serving. 

Elder Gordon
So this is what my son will be doing. He's dedicating the next 2 years of his life to serve the Lord. He was called to the California, Anaheim mission where he will be teaching the gospel in American Sign Language (ASL). Next Wednesday, Sept. 23, he will report to the Missionary Training Center (MTC) in Provo, Utah. He will be there approximately 6 weeks while he learns ASL. He is familiar with the language because he took it for 3 years in high school. However, there is a lot of relearning he will do and he also needs to learn the Church words in ASL. He will go to California around November 4. If you are interested in hearing about his mission or keeping in contact with him, you can follow his blog at Alec in Anaheim. I plan to update it weekly and will keep his address and email address on it updated.

Most people who aren't LDS don't realize that:
  • Missionaries (or their families) pay for their own mission. Alec has been working the last 3 years as a lifeguard to save towards his mission. It's $400/month. Every missionary pays the same amount and it is dispersed throughout the world to the different missions. Obviously a mission in California costs more regarding living expenses, etc. than a mission in a 3rd world country. So it all works out evenly. Missionaries are responsible for the purchase of their bike, suits and other clothing, passports, etc... We were blessed because Seiuli's brother has a nice bike and is giving it to Alec to use. My parents bought Alec 3 suits, tons of dress shirts, slacks, ties, shoes... A lot nicer and more than we could afford to get him. My sister bought him his bag (which wasn't cheap at all...) We've been really blessed. I've basically bought him socks and each of us has picked a tie for him so when he wears it he'll know we are thinking of him. For missionaries who cannot afford to pay for their mission, members of the church can donate to a mission fund to help pay for these missionaries.
  • Missionaries can communicate once a week via email or letters. They can call home 4 times throughout the 2 year period. (Just typing that made my heart break a little more...) He can call home Mother's Day and Christmas. I'm so thankful we have email. I can't imagine having to wait and wait for letters. I did that for 9 weeks when Tristan was at bootcamp and it was brutal. 
  • We won't be visiting our missionary. My in-laws actually live a couple hours from where Alec is going and they probably won't see him either. But as a rule, his immediate family won't be visiting him. This is so he can continue to focus on where his focus is suppose to be- serving the Lord and the people in the California, Anaheim mission.

I'll write more about my feelings and things when I can do it without my eyes filling up with tears. I can do this. He can do this. I know our family can do this. But it won't be easy. I know he will grow and learn so much during this time. And I know we will be blessed. I also know it's where he is suppose to be. But if you see me crying, in mourning (because there really is a mourning process going on here), please don't say, "Is there any other place you'd want him to be?" I know the correct answer is "No", but you might get throat punched. I'm Mormon, but I'm definitely not perfect. Fair warning. ;)

1 Samuel
26 And she said, Oh my lord, as thy soul liveth, my lord, I am the woman that stood by thee here, praying unto the Lord.
27 For this child I prayed; and the Lord hath given me my petition which I asked of him:
28 Therefore also I have lent him to the Lord; as long as he liveth he shall be lent to the Lord. And he worshipped the Lord there.


Yvonne said...

I love you, Tori. You are great. I can't wait to read all about Alec's experiences.

Janene said...

LOL - laughed out loud at the 'throat punched' comment. So true - we all know serving missions are the best, but we miss our babies like CRAZY anyway! :) Love you, love Alec!!