He has been away from home for 25 days.
In this very brief time, his mum and I have often been asked what it is like having him away from home? In truth it is a mixture of different things ... of course we miss him! ... of course we are concerned for him! ... but we are also incredibly proud of him. As alluded to by President Preston in the last Blog [a mission] 'is just where we want our son or daughter to be'.
To put it into a bit of perspective, both his mother and I served missions for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Both served in exotic climes ... I served in the England Leeds Mission from 1992-1994 and his mother served in the Scotland Edinburgh Mission from 1992-1993. We both had a variety of experiences. We experienced highs and lows, successes and failures. We encountered all the climates the respective areas could throw at us (I think Steph (Elder Reynolds' mum) had the lions share of that one). We met some amazing people (companions/members/investigators/general public) and gained some amazing memories. Some of these memories and experiences have gone on to shape the rest of our life. So was it easy? ... No! I was shot at, had beer thrown over me and stones thrown at me. Steph was in the home of a really 'friendly' Scotsman who stated that 'he wouldn't think twice to slitting an English woman's throat' (she was grateful for the American accent she had adopted at this point). Not including the doors shut in our faces, rude comments and other disappointments. Nevertheless, I wouldn't have changed it for the world.
From a very young age we talk in particular to our young men in relation to going on a mission. The call to serve is extended but the young man or young woman then applies to go on a mission. before a mission call is received they have medical and dental examinations to complete in order to ensure that they are physically able to undertake the call. In addition they are interviewed by their local Bishop and Stake President in order to ensure that they are worthy to represent the beliefs they are going to share and adequately mature enough to deal with the task in hand.
So, with all that in mind, here are some excerpts from his email home this week:
To the left is a photo of a Mexican wrap he had managed to cook from scratch. He was taught how to make these by his mum before he left for his mission. Mexican (in particular Mexican made by his mum) was his favourite food whilst at home
I've been very busy! Me and Elder Whitehead sorted through 70+ Potential Investigators, which was fun! We are hoping to have 2 baptisms by the end of this week! They are people that have been taught in the past and we are hoping to re-invigorate their love of the Gospel this week! We have been trying to talk to as many people as we can, on the streets, on buses and trains! I find it easier to talk to people on the bus and train, so needing to improve on talking to people on the streets! Haha! Also when knocking doors is interesting, Elder Whitehead does it best!
At church with it being the first Fast &Testimony meeting away from home, I was thinking about Ashton 1 quite a bit and all the amazing friends that I have back home! Just to let you know that my love for Ashton 1 ward has grown since leaving! Haha! What an amazing ward! Testimony meeting at Epsom was amazing! Felt the spirit throughout the meeting! It was amazing!
Below are perhaps some of the feelings of a loving mother epitomised by her closing remarks in her email:
I'd better sign off now! Take care and have a great week :)
Work hard and keep smiling - I love seeing your photo's, it's great to see you looking so happy :)
Love you tonnes!
Ps Don't forget to keep your shoes shiny!