Sunday, August 19, 2007

He's Just Up the Road...But Two Years Away

We are Mormons. A lot of Mormons serve missions, which means they spend 18-24 months doing nothing but preaching a message about Jesus Christ. Taylor got to be a missionary in Paraguay. I was a missionary in Ohio. And we loved it.

Before you go to your assigned mission, you spend some time in the Missionary Training Center (MTC) to learn how to teach people and, if necessary, learn a new language. There are 17 MTCs around the world, the one here in Provo, Utah being the mother-ship, if you will. Every Wednesday is "New Missionary Day" at the MTC. Families drop off their missionaries and say goodbye for a very long time. I always love taking Blaine for a walk around the MTC and Provo Temple on these mornings, because I love to see all of the new mishies and feel the excitement. Last Wednesday, we got to take Taylor's brother, Ian, to the MTC. He'll be studying there for three weeks until flying to Tampa, Florida, where he'll spend the next two years. His friend since birth, Johnny, went in on the exact same day. He's going to Tijuana, Mexico.

Here they are, entering the MTC. Look how holy Ian is, even upon entrance. ;)
When you get in, there is a cute old lady with a seam ripper. Why? Because all of these cute 19 year-old boys have brand new suits, and you can't very well get a name tag attached to the suit pocket if the seam is still sewn shut!
Here is Taylor, showing Ian the best way to get the nametag on.
And here it is. Nice and official. (The orange dot indicates that it's Ian's first day at the MTC. As missionaries, we affectionately called these "dork dots.")

These two brothers came out of the same mold. I'm sure you can see the physical similarities. But have you ever heard Ian's voice? Once he was out with Taylor and answered Taylor's cell phone when I called. I talked to Ian for about five minutes, thinking it was my husband--oops!Ian and Johnny. Do missionaries get any cuter?

Ian, if you could read this right now (missionaries can't use the internet except for emailing their parents), I would say:
1) Oh dear food snob, try to survive the MTC cafeteria. And eat whatever the wonderful people of Florida give you.
2) Don't worry. We'll send lots of pictures of Blaine to you, and show him pictures of you so he will know you when you come back. Thanks to your Russian-gymnast-coach-like walking instruction, he'll probably be running 400's by the time you're back. And, just so you know, Blaine loves to fold his arms and pray now. He prayed for you tonight. (Not "Uncle Ian," just "Ian," as you requested.)
3) Be humble and remember that Faith precedes the miracle. We love you.
Anyway, here's what I have to say about it all: I love missionaries. I am so amazed that there are 55,000 of them in the world right now. Do you know what most 19-year-old boys are doing right now? They are getting drunk and having sex. Sorry to be so blunt, but you know it's true. Not these boys. They are squeaky clean and dedicating two years to God and His children.
Here's what else: I loved being in the MTC. It brought back of flood of feelings and I kept thinking about what a sense of purpose I had as Sister Hall. I remembered how I always knew, no matter how difficult things were, that if I put my trust in God, and did everything in my power, He could make miracles happen through me. I'm now trying to channel that energy, purpose, and faith into my new mission--motherhood. It feels harder. It is more self-directed. I don't have a mission president. I'm not always as motivated. But I'm working on it.


danielle said...

Good job Ian! I can't believe he is old enough to be a missionary. Is it silly that I am proud of him even though I barely know him? Well I am.

kate said...

MTC...I only have memories of that place taking Chase there...and now that I think about it, Mike?? I'm just glad my mom wasn't would have killed her, I'm sure!

I know your busy as a bee, but keep blogging!!!

LCM said...

I want to be a missionary now, I don't want to wait until I'm grown...
My baby brother, the first and only of us 9 children to serve a mission is in the City of Brotherly Love and he is lovin' it!! We are so excited for him. It's so nice to see the missionaries when we are out and about. It's heartwarming! Good luck to your brother in law.

Traci said...

Wouldn't that be great if they had an MTC for motherhood? Well, in a sense (you know what I mean). And I think many older women in my ward feel the need to me my mission president. Ha Ha!
Even though I have never met Ian I can say (like Danielle) that I am SO proud of him. He has had some pretty good example set of him too. uh em....Taylor! And let me tell you how cute it was to see Elder Robbie Folsom at the pulpit yesterday preaching the word. Missionaries are so sweet!

lori said...

I LOVE this post! There is nothing like missionary work to make life seem exciting and purposeful!
We love you guys! Thanks for being our friends! Thanks for this heartwarming glimpse at your MTC experience last week!

Emily said...

I LOVE missionaries!

And y'all.

Anonymous said...

It was so fun to be out in Cleveland and visit Kirtland where you served your mission. I bet you loved it is GORGEOUS! Jeff's little bro. gets back from his mission this Saturday and he's the last one! 6 out of the 7 kids in Jeff's family served missions (5 boys, 1 girl), and now his mom is sooooo glad to be done with that, and to never have to say goodbye to anyone again, although she was proud I'm sure. Although we miss you blogging, it's great to know you are busy having a fun summer! Motherhood is a full-time mission for sure, and it's nice to know that we at least have a companion. ;)

liz said...

I think the idea of motherhood as mission is really a good one -- can we attack it with that kind of zeal? And we do get a "mantle" to help us deal with it, just like missionaries do -- I'm pretty sure, and I think Maryanne told you as much too. As for a mission president, I'm pretty sure mom is mine. It's pretty easy to find someone to tell you what to do, if you're looking for that kind of guidance. Beware though, I bet you didn't always agree with every single thing your mission president said! The biggest difference is that this mission will never end. You will always be a mother. And it's the most important mission of your life. Love you.

Jill said...

Oh deary, I remember our trip to Brick Oven with your girly friends followed by our farewell in the good old MTC. Even Em's man was there with us as he had just come off his shift there at work. You looked gorgeous, I was about to pop with Lizzy a week later, you truly glowed! But, your mission now is the greatest ever and you are definitely up for the challenge babe! Love you loads.

Joan Koplin said...

LOVE the pics of Ian and Tay! Such darling boys. Thank you for sharing the event. I'm sad I missed out.
Love you guys.