On the first Saturday in October at the General Conference for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, this announcement was made:
For as long as I can remember, young men have had to be 19 and young women, 21 to serve missions. This was a very thrilling and unexpected announcement.
To be honest, I was at a child's soccer game on that bright, sunny October morning. I was texted by #3 who was home watching Conference. She shared the announcement. When I read it, I thought it was a joke, but then I thought, "Why would this be a joke? It could be true."
This had some HUGE implications for us as a family. #1 would turn 19 in a month. #1 had been planning on a mission already. Woah! As I started to put the pieces together, I had a joyful feeling in my heart. This opened up a whole new option. Suddenly, life was different.
I texted #1, who was in Salt Lake City with a friend at the friend's grandmother's house watching Conference. I wrote: "Are you planning on turning in some mission papers?" Her response: "Hmm....I was thinking about it. :)"
I remember that day I walked around with this ecstatic feeling but at the same time, there was this rock in my stomach. How were we ever going to afford such a thing? I finally decided that that wasn't mine to worry about. If the Lord wanted her, He'd get us there on His time. It would be okay.
I pondered and pondered on how we'd get the money and where it would come from. I guess I had to do that. I had to be secure in our weakness so that when the time came that the money appeared, I'd really know where it came from and would see the miracle that it was.
I got home and spoke with the Warden. We were very much on the same page.
One thing I needed to know was how much a mission cost. I searched online and found that a missionary pays $400 a month to go out and serve the world. Hmm. That didn't seem so bad. I started to crunch numbers and found that for a young woman to serve her 18-month term, it would be $7200. Okay, again, not going to kill us.
It was then that I went to our bank accounts to assess where we are in savings both our family accounts and our children's accounts. It was then that I saw the miracle. There it was....sitting there....the exact amount she needed. The amazing thing was it wasn't even in our savings. It was money we'd set aside for other things. It was saved for other things, but it was there. Was it ours to sacrifice?
Of course, #1 was away at school, and this was all hers to plan. It was ours to support. It was just nice to know that we could do that without reservation. When she was ready to go, we'd be ready too.
The next few weeks were full of excitement. She decided that she wanted to go another term and finish out the school year. That would eliminate half of that money, and she'd have to re-earn it. She was okay with that. She went to see her bishop and got the process started. She started filling out her mission papers. They're all online now, which is fabulous.
|I know. I know...the bangs!|
The other morning I received a text stating that she'd been talking to one of her roommates and her roommate asked what she had against just staying home next semester. She said, "I couldn't think of a reason."
Woah! This was something I didn't expect. This meant there were a whole new set of options. She could get her medical and dental stuff done a bit more casually--not have to cram it all into the few weeks she would have been home for Christmas break. This meant she could interview with OUR bishop and stake president. This meant she could come home and earn money, which has been a huge thing sitting there in the back of my mind since this whole thing began--I want her to feel that she has invested a big portion of herself into this experience. I just feel it will mean more to her. This also means she can put her papers in earlier than originally expected.