Oh my heart is full today!
Four hours until we drop Jacob off at the missionary training center.
Two nights ago, our family gathered with the Howards for dinner, family home evening and then for Jacob’s setting apart as a missionary. There was a moment we were all standing in the kitchen talking. Jacob had his arm around me and I was reveling in these last moments with my eldest.
I expressed aloud that I hoped The Lord would send comfort to my soul the following day while we traveled to Utah as well as today when we drop Jacob off at the MTC. No, I didn’t just hope. I fully expected it. I believe it is a privilege that all mothers (as well as families – but definitely mothers) of departing missionaries should have access to.
That evening was one that I will never forget. The Spirit was palpable as we read scriptures, sang songs (We’ll Bring the World His Truth and Called To Serve), and gave all those last minute hugs. Nobody wanted to go to bed, knowing what was ahead for the next day, but finally at 1am, we had to sleep.
Our flight left early the next morning and we had to wake a short two hours later. Though exhausted, everyone gathered to send us off and give final hugs and goodbyes before we drove away at 3:45am. I said a prayer in my heart for strength and peace over the coming days.
Our trip was uneventful and we arrived to a snow covered, chilly Salt Lake City. We had a little time to kill while we waited for Elder Snell. Elder Snell is also from Houston and reporting to the MTC the same day as Jacob. We volunteered to pick him up from the airport and keep him with us until it was time for them to go.
I wasn’t sure how it would be to have another Elder with us for those last 24 hours. Of course we wanted to help, but I just wasn’t sure how it would be. But the minute that we met Elder Snell at baggage claim, I knew that The Lord was again granting me a tender mercy. Watching the two of them standing side by side, glowing with the Spirit and grinning from ear to ear – I knew that my Heavenly Father had arranged this just for me.
He knew that seeing Jacob with a companion was just what I needed. Mormon missionaries travel in twos – always. They eat together, they pray together, they work together, they study together, and they teach together. As we toured Temple Square I watched Elder Earle and Elder Snell and I felt my Heavenly Father hug me and tell me that all would be well. I’m not sending Jacob off alone. Not only will he have The Lord on his side, he will also have a companion who will be with him.
We ate lunch at The Lion House with the family of one of Jacob’s friends from school. Though they have been friends for years, Jacob and Morynn had never met in person before. That’s one of the things about going to an online school; you build incredible friendships without actually meeting in person. We toured The Joseph Smith Memorial Building and watched a church film on the life of Joseph Smith. We then visited the Tabernacle and walked in the shadow of the Salt Lake City Temple. What an incredible experience it was.
Elder Earle and Elder Snell were celebrities. It was obvious that they were missionaries getting ready to go to the MTC. As if two young 18 year olds dressed in suits with white shirt and tie weren’t enough, surely their giant grins, palpable excitement, and glowing spirit would have given it away. They shook many hands and explained that they had been called to The Czech Republic and Mexico respectively. The entire day passed too quickly. But I know beyond doubt that my Heavenly Father sent Elder Snell so that I might see this glimpse of Jacob’s upcoming life for the next two years and be comforted by what I saw and the incredible Spirit I felt. All is well.
This morning they woke at 6:30am and had companion study together. They read scriptures and practiced teaching. When I came downstairs and saw them sitting together at the dining room table, their study materials spread before them, I was overwhelmed by the grace of God. This is exactly what these young men should be doing. Devoting the next two years to teaching others about Jesus Christ and God’s plan for His children here on Earth.
Heavenly Father knows us, He loves us, and indeed He has a plan for us. If you would like to hear more about His plan, or meet with the missionaries in your area please go here for more information. They would love the opportunity to teach you.
Right this moment Elder Snell is playing The Spirit of God on the piano. He is going to be remarkable missionary.
And I’m going to be okay. I’m going to cry my eyes out and I’m going to miss my son like crazy, but I’m going to be okay. I’m so grateful for my Heavenly Father and His tender mercies.
Here is a video we showed at Jacob’s open house in Houston, it shows a bit of Jacob’s life and then video of when he received and then opened his mission call!
(The last 9 minutes are videos from friends and family wishing Jacob luck and love. Thank you for all who participated!)