In a previous post, I mentioned that our son Wil is currently in the Missionary Training Center (MTC) preparing to serve a mission in Japan. He let us know a couple of weeks ago that he would be singing with a choir from the MTC during the Saturday afternoon session of the LDS General Conference. As I shared that knowledge with others, I was asked if I now planned on getting tickets to the session so we could be there. I knew that that was not something I would do for the following reasons:
1. Wil is now Elder Wixom. We said our goodbyes to him on February 22 and we have all adjusted to having him apart from us. I did not want to upset that balance by having him experience all those emotions of separating again.
2. For myself, I knew that being in the same building with him and not being able to talk to him or hug him would be more than I could handle.
3. I didn't want him to be distracted from the experience by looking for his family in the congregation.
So we chose to go to Ogden and watch Conference with my family just as we always do. Only this year, there were more family members at my parents for that Saturday afternoon session - almost all my siblings and their families, including my brother from Colorado.
As the opening song, Glory To God on High, started we were all glued to the television. First one of the girls said "There's his hair and his eyebrows". His girlfriend told me she started yelling, "There's his nose! There's his nose!" and scared her mother. I have to say, the screaming was kind of loud at my parents house too and startled my sister's friend and his daughter. But the camera cut quickly away and we never got a good look at him. This happened a number of times through the song, until the very end and then we got to see our dear Elder Wixom in profile for what was a very long time. By then I was crying, his sisters were crying, his grandma was crying and even a few of aunts shed some tears. How nice to know that he was healthy and still had a good haircut.
|Elder Wixom is the first Elder in the row next to the Sister missionary.|
Neither my sister's friend nor his daughter understood why we were so excited to see Wil. Afterall, he was only in Provo. Didn't we get to see him or at least talk/text him? We were able to explain more about the sacrifice that a mission truly is for the individual and their family. That the last time we saw Wil was when he entered the MTC and in most cases a parent would not see their child again for two years and except for the possible phone calls from the airport, on Christmas and Mother's Day, there is no communication except for weekly letters or emails and even those are not guaranteed depending on where the individual is serving. The opportunity to see Wil sing with this choir was an added bonus that most do not get to experience.
I loved this talk from the October 2011 session of the LDS General Conference, Missionaries Are a Treasure of the Church. It became even more meaningful when Wil was called to serve his mission in Japan.
As we watched the choir sing, we noticed that they would scan down the rows of the choir, but quickly cut away just as they showed Wil. We knew he was in the second row and since we have friends that sing with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and are usually seated in these lower rows, we also knew that these rows are not as frequently shown, so we were grateful for the glimpses we had.
As the last song played, Rick commented that he had seen on Twitter that Elder David Archuleta, formerly of American Idol and much more, was also singing with the choir. Sure enough, there he was right in front of Wil. So we got a bonus - pictures on the internet, pictures in the paper, all referencing Elder Archuleta, but with our sweet William in the image as well. For me as a scrapbooker all I can say is BONUS!!!! Again Nataly made me smile when she commented to a friend that she hadn't even noticed Elder Archuleta until I pointed him out, she only had eyes for Wil.
Conference was amazing as always. So many things were said that reassured us, inspired us and challenged us to do better. My sisters and I had our girls night out with our mom while the men attendend the Saturday evening session of conference and my little girls had a sleepover with their cousins. We had a big Sunday dinner with my family and got to meet my sister's friend. All in all a very good weekend full of joy and sadness, touched by the Holy Spirit. All the things that give life purpose.
When we got home there was a letter waiting addressed to Ann Wixom aka Mom from my Elder Wixom. In it he said, "So I don't thing I ever got homesick. I mean I miss home still, but I never got physically sick from it. I don't know if that's a good or a bad thing, but I'm going to say it's good. I'd rather not be sick, if that's okay?.....Since you'll get this after conference, if you saw me, I hope I looked good."
Yep, he looked good and he sounds good.