Today I received Sister Heimuli’s last handwritten letter from Japan. I can count on one hand the number of handwritten letters I've received. So from here on out, it’s all email. This letter…not earth-shattering. Good thoughts on Change. But you thought I was going to say something more inspirational. Sorry. In fact, she wouldn’t have even sent it if I wasn’t in the middle of appealing residency status for her to attend Weber State. And she wants to attend Weber State. So she had to mail me a copy of her driver’s license and mission call…thus, this last handwritten letter.
It was reading her mission call NOW, and the blessings promised to her by President Monson THEN, that pierced my heart. I don’t know why I never noticed these very specific, profound blessings before.
Every child of ours (so far) has chosen to serve a mission. Thank goodness, these kids are nothing like me and my husband. Funny thing is, with every missionary – Hema to Ecuador, Helam to Atlanta (Spanish-speaking) and Hevynn to Japan – it's my husband and I who have benefited the most.
Well-known blogs get 20,000 hits a day. This one won’t even get 20,000 hits by the time she returns home (at 4:09pm on January 17, 2015, but who's keeping track?). And none of that matters. I created a mission blog for each child so it could be converted to a book and given to them to enjoy with their future families. Noble cause, right?
But more importantly, I realized today when I accidentally clicked on an old link in this blog, that it has been my great privilege to witness and document each of our missionaries' tremendous personal growth and “increased knowledge and testimony of the Restoration and of the truths of the gospel of Jesus Christ” as promised in their mission calls.
Thinking about serving a mission? It’s a lot to think about. You may have already seen the “Most-Read Posts” listed on the front page: Last Week at Home, and Surprise Letter to her dad…written when she was extremely homesick in the MTC. It happens. Expect it.
But if you’re new to this blog, you haven’t read the old posts, like The Call and Aloha ‘Oe about her time as a “should I stay or should I go?” BYU-Hawaii student (I use that term loosely). View the Before and After Videos documenting her decision to ultimately go and serve the Lord.
Family Tradition? Another Tender Mercy detailed MTC Drop-Off Day. Let me just tell you...Mother's Day, it ain't. In Week 1 – God Guides Moving Feet, she received a sign her first night in the MTC about how she should carry out the next 18 months. No bold angel. No heavenly voice. No bright light. An actual sign.
Learning the Japanese language was rough as explained in No Doubt In My Heart. But tender mercies like providentially-timed letters and packages from family and dear friends, General Relief Society Meeting and Last Week as a Dai Senpai helped her realize God’s love for all His children, including her.
Leaving SLC…Headed for Japan put her back into the world. I’m in Nihon! was her first day in Japan and her 20th birthday. Her Polynesian Cultural Center dancing skills were put to good use in Aroha (yes, that’s how the Japanese -- and her Maori grandpa -- say Aloha). Fun times. It wasn’t all fun, though...as in Thanks for Your Prayers but we know without a doubt that missionaries are protected and prayers are answered. Week 60 –You Would Not Believe the Week I’ve Had was the realization of many wonderful blessings promised by our beloved prophet.
I can’t express how thankful I am for the missionary experiences of each of our children. They have blessed our family beyond description. This is true for every missionary's family. Does a missionary miss out on a lot...being gone for 18-24 months? Maybe. But probably not. Especially when compared to what they gain. I have missed Hevynn more than anyone can imagine. And now she only has 8 weeks left. That means I only have 8 blog entries left. Then what am I gonna do?
Houston, you're next.
A Missionary Mom