My mom and step-dad have always had it in their plans to serve a mission after they retired. My mom retired a couple years ago and Tab retired in November. Shortly after General Conference this spring, the itch to leave on their mission began. They turned their mission papers in early May and finally received their call (it was so hard waiting to find out where they were going) to serve in BELIZE for 23 months! (For anyone wondering where that is, it's in Central America below Mexico and next to Guatemala.)
The circumstances surrounding their mission call and the experiences they had in preparing for it are all very unique and inspiring. I believe all our family has already received testimony that Belize is where they are meant to go although I still have a hard time wrapping my mind around the idea that they are going that far away. For some reason, I thought for sure their call would be closer - I mean at least in the United States. :)
|Mendenhall Missionaries - leaving to serve a mission in Belize on July 22, 2013.|
Of course I worry for their well being - this type of worry is a funny feeling too, almost as if they were my kids rather than my parents. I'm sure it will certainly be a culture shock for them and prove a humbling and trying experience which is as it should be. I believe missions are meant to stretch you, teach you, plant in you an even deeper appreciation for the Savior and His work. Can you imagine the impact such a mission will have on them!? :)
I worry over myself too - having them (not only because they're my parents, but because they're my closest of friends) so far away is unnerving in and of itself. It will likewise prove a trying yet beautiful experience for family left here at home - what an amazing journey we get to share with them!
My family and I are so very grateful for their righteous example. In one of our recent conversations, my mom made the comment that "you prepare your sons to go on missions, you talk of going on one someday, but this is 'walking the walk' now - we're actually doing it!" As hard as it will be to say goodbye for two years, we're so thankful they have chosen to serve, so proud of their willingness to 'walk the walk'. I've seen already how this mission has stretched them and think it's incredible how much they've learned and grown already in just their preparations to serve.
As their family, I know we will be blessed for their service and learn so much from their experience. I believe the impact their service will have on those around them will be far reaching, it's so true that your decisions affect not just yourself but those around you because I really feel a part of their mission in a very real sense - and I'm not the one serving - it's hard to explain. I've already learned much, specifically about sacrifice and fulfilling your duty to do all you can. I'm excited to see what more is in store for them and me and all our family as we support them in this important work.