Wednesday was the most amazing of days. It was a day looked forward to with great anticipation and great anxiety. Preparation for the day was at times stressful, and yes there were even times when voices were raised in frustration. But as I watched Wil enter the doors of the Missionary Training Center (MTC), I knew that there was no other place on earth that he should be.
I have often been asked how I could send my children away for two years, knowing that I will have minimal contact with them. Only a letter once a week and maybe five phone calls during that time. My answer is that I know that they will grow more during those two years than at any other time in their lives. I have entrusted them to the Lord, just as a loving Heavenly Father trusted Rick and I to teach them of Him and all the things they would need to do to live in Heaven again.
This is a time of growth for my son; spiritual, mental and emotional. He will learn to turn to the Lord in times of trouble and need. He will learn to rely on the Spirit of the Lord to guide him in decisions and to listen to that still small voice. He will learn to be self-reliant as he prepares his own meals, does his own laundry, resolves transportation issues, manages a budget and schedules events. He will learn to get along with others as he is assigned companions that he may or may not have anything in common with. He will learn to love the people he serves. He will come to understand that we are all God's children and He does love each and everyone of us. My son will see miracles and learn to recognize the loving hand of God in all and learn gratitude for His tender mercies.
I love the advice that Rick gave Wil as he left:
- Write in your journal everyday. Take a few minutes of your personal time every evening to write how you feel, what you've seen, who you've talked to, and what you've done. You'll be surprised how fast the memories fade. Having them written down keeps names and places fresh and will bring the memories back when you need them.
- Love your companion. Be the companion you want to have. If you are following the rules, it will make it easier for them to as well. When you have a rough time with a companion, remember it isn't forever. Love them, try to help them improve, but in the end, they will go their way a nd you'll go yours. Just be the person you should be and you'll be fine.
- Be obedient. Remember Pres. DeMille's blessing. You will have the power of our Heavenly Father at your disposal if you are living the rules and are fully committed to the mission. I've seen you learn to love and be totally committed to things that you enjoy and love. You don't want to have any regrets about your mission when you are home. Be committed, be obedient and you'll have a great experience.
- Be on time. Get up when you should, go to bed when you should, be where you should be ahead of time. If you say you will do something, do it. People will respect you and love you and will want to refer their friends to you if they know you care and are honest and will do what you say.
- Use your camera. If you run out of space on your flash drives and thumb drive, let us know so we can send you more. Remember you're Mom will have a much easier time making a mission scrapbook if there are some pictures to fill it up.
Again on Thursday I was asked why I wasn't hysterical about Wil, now Elder Wixom, being gone, knowing that Japan is so far away. My response again was that I trust the Lord. I know that there are many who are praying for his safety. He will be watched over. How selfish would I be to deny him this incredible opportunity. The growth and maturity I watched develop as he prepared to leave is only a small part of what will occur over the next two years. We are not often given the opportunity to dedicate our lives exclusively to the service of the Lord. It is a special time.
I am excited to watch him grow. As he sends letters home, I will post them on a separate blog, Uirumu's Nihon Journey, so if there is anyone interested in watching him grow and living vicariously through his journey, they can follow along there. I have no doubt that Wil is not the only one who will grow during this time.