It was a long wait once the papers were submitted to the missionary department. But finally the mission call came. This wasn’t without some stress though. We learned from the local mail carrier that postal carriers know what mission calls look like and watch for them knowing how important they are. They also knew about our family’s situation (moving all over – changing addresses multiple times). The mail carrier went above and beyond to get Nicholas his call. She went to all of our former addresses to finally track us down. We were very grateful she was willing to do this.
Nicholas gathered his friends for the grand opening. I think we must have had about 2 dozen kids in the house in addition to Nicholas’ second family, the Plewes, our family, Brother Leatham and several others. He drug out the announcement reading every word all the while we were waiting for him to get to the important part ---- finally he read that he has been called to serve in the El Salvador Santa Ana/Belize Mission. He is to report to the Mexico City MTC on August 21, 2013. Everyone was so excited and thrilled for him. Nicholas was in heaven. He really wanted to go foreign.
Well, life got busy, Nicholas graduated, camp started, camp finished. It was time to start getting things in order for Nicholas to leave. We went to Mr. Mac, got all of his clothes ordered, got his shots done and all the other things you have to do along the way.
Nicholas was given an opportunity to speak in the Salem 4th Ward (our new ward). He did a fantastic job. It was a great warm up for his real farewell in just a couple of weeks. Little did we know that tragedy was just about to happen. Sadly, due to a family issue Nicholas was not able to have his real farewell in Elk Ridge, in fact his ability to even go on a mission was in question (not because he was no longer worthy, just a tragic family mix up). Nicholas was devastated as was Matt and I. We were just sick about what was happening.
We began to pray like we’ve never prayed before, asking new and old ward members along with many family members to join us on Nick’s behalf. Without going into details all of us firmly believe it was nothing short of divine intervention that Nicholas was able to go on his mission and especially on time as scheduled. One crisis – done, we survived.
It got down to only a few days before Nicholas was to leave and we still hadn’t heard when his flight was. Ryan went to the Provo MTC so this was a first for us to send a missionary to a foreign mission. On Sunday at Church we were talking to Bishop Barlow and saying we hadn’t heard when Nicholas was leaving. He asked if we had checked his email. It had never occurred to us to do this. Being a teenager he doesn’t check email. He texts everyone he communicates with. He came straight home and checked and there it was. His departure information had been there more than a week. On one had we were relieved but we also found out he wasn’t leaving on Wednesday the 21st, but Tuesday, the 20th at 6:00 am!!! Needless to say, panic mode set it. Nicholas hadn’t been to the temple, he hadn’t completed his Criminal Background Check paperwork etc. You might think, what slackers…. remember we had never had a foreign missionary, we also didn’t have access to Nicholas’ email and finally just a week before we weren’t even sure he was going to be able to go. Again we were very blessed and managed to get everything done. He got set apart and had just long enough to set down and rest for a minute or two.
These pictures are from Nicholas’ trip to the Provo Temple on August 19, 2013.
We didn’t have much time to be sad. I have to say I did get pretty teary. It’s just hard to send someone you love so dearly off for two years even though you wouldn’t want him to be anywhere else. It’s been described as the happiest sad day of your life.
He made it to Mexico and has had a wonderful experience. I'm sure I'll get more stories as the days go along.