Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Report on the 19-Year-Old Boy's Mission, With Pictures

August 15th marked the 11-month point of the 19-year-old boy's mission. The time has gone so quickly. He said it seemed as though he only gave his farewell talk yesterday. A farewell talk is an inspirational message given to the congregation the Sunday before a young man leaves for his mission.

It's always amazing to listen to a boy give his farewell talk, then listen to him as a returning missionary as he gives his homecoming talk. During the two years they are away from home serving where The Lord has called them, they grow into the men their mothers always knew they could be. They know how to talk to people, they've learned to trust in The Lord's guidance, they've learned the importance of family, and to be grateful for what they have, because they meet so many people who have so little, both temporally and spiritually.

And I've seen the change in my son. He is still the crazy, hilarious boy he always was, but he is SOOOO grown up now. He speaks of praying, and receiving answers to prayers. He asks for advice on helping companions with issues they are dealing with. He glories in the opportunities he has to share the gospel with his fellow man and he strives to keep the commandments to the utmost of his ability in order to have The Spirit with him.

So as part of this post, I have to share an anecdote. When the 19-year-old boy was the 18-year-old boy living at home, he loathed my blogging habit. He said there was something wrong with me because I wanted to take a picture of chocolate milk in a restaurant. (I honestly can't remember why I needed to do that, but I know it was because of the blog.) He did everything he could to avoid getting his picture taken, and he constantly made fun of me for thinking that people cared about my daily life. He also said I could use no stories about or pictures of him unless he was compensated. I ignored him.

But now, let me share with you a little snippet of the last letter he sent....

"So, with the pictures of us walking on the tracks, there are two different ones. In one of them me and my companion have pretty weird posture. Also, I know your probably dying to blog some of them so feel free. You have my permission."

I'm pretty sure he HOPED I would blog them. :)

Okay, so here goes....

I might as well start off with the afore-mentioned photo. I didn't notice any strange posture in either of them, so I posted the one I loved the most, with the back-lighting and the beautiful train track bokeh in the foreground...

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Here he is in the mission home car, looking very pensive.... or posing...

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I'm so glad he and his companion wear their seatbelts...

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He makes lots of faces in the pictures taken of him, but these are my fave faces...

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Missionary work can be difficult, and even bring you down sometimes, especially if you're proselyting in the rain every day...

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But it can be fun, too, like when you're eating a delicious meal outside with a large extended family...

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....consisting of a whole fish with mango salsa, beans, and Spanish rice....

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(Yep, that was good...)

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...or when you're being carried around by a large Polynesian missionary...

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...or even when you're about to fight a bear...

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Finding people who are willing to listen to a gospel message isn't a simple task, especially in Antelope...

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....but when the missionaries do find someone who is ready to change their life, it is rewarding beyond imagination. Here is an investigator to whom the 19-year-old boy became very attached (on right)...

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He wrote home about him, and when he said he would probably never see him again, it made me cry. It made him cry, too.

Being a missionary isn't...

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The Lord didn't say it would be, but He said it would be worth it...

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If you would like to be pen pals with the 19-year-old boy, please leave a comment and I'll get back with you. He loves getting letters, even from people he doesn't know.

Thanks for listening. :)

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

Like the new format and this post in particular. You did a great job raising him!
Love you,
ME

bethany said...

he looks exactly like reid in the rain pic

C said...

I love all the pics! It is great to hear an update n him, I love hearing how great he is doing. I bet that people just love him with his quiet sense of humor. I bet it is so neat for you to be able to watch this all happen, from a distance. I loved this post!
C

GStaples said...

Enjoyed his pictures!!! Isn't it fun to be a missionary mom! I sure miss my son, but glad he is doing the Lord's work. All missionaries all special, your son looks great. Yet, I still can't wait until March when my son returns, yea!

Melinda said...

Please send me his info. I would love to write him. He looks awesome!

Jenis blog said...

Jen he looks great!! Yes I like your new blog layout, and I guess you can tell who your fav child is! Just change the header pic of a different kid each week! Tate and gunner say to tell your kids hi!

Mom2my10 @ 11th Heaven said...

Melinda, his address is on the photo album I just posted of him on Facebook. Let me know if you don't find it and thanks for writing to him!

Mom2my10 @ 11th Heaven said...

Haha, Jeni, Kyla said the same thing, about Twin B being my favorite!

Amy @MoMomma said...

Great job on this post! I'm a convert and joined the church at age 18. The two sisters that "found" me, were an answer to my prayers. I had been praying for the missionaries to find me and teach me the discussions! Missionary work is so important, thank you for sharing your son with the world to do the Lord's work.

alessandra said...

It was very nice to hear about him and see the lovely photos, and tell him that people actually do care ;)
Btw my favorites are the first and the hip hop one.

Kristin said...

Oh man, I am just tingling from that post. He is so, so beautiful. In every way. You should send that railroad picture to the Ensign.

loves2spin said...

How wonderful!

abish michelle said...

I love all of the pictures! I love how he knows you, and knew that you would like to post his pictures(: So handsome!(: An awesome missionary♥