In The Mommy Zone Column

The Third Mission Call

The third mission call has come.

It came in the mail while my third son was out of town.

I put it in a prominent place and nervously waited. He wouldn’t be home for two days.

I have to admit, more than once I picked up the ominous envelope, trying to spy inside, helplessly speculating where my son would be called to serve, but to no avail.

I worried silently, bittersweet in the fact that I already had a son on a mission in a faraway land, serving a difficult stint in the remote jungles of Central America with a year left.

Unfortunately, the native food and the region’s cooking methods sicken him regularly. The heavy rains swell in brown rivers up to his knees and he spends most of his days soaked and shivering. His crude jungle hut is warmed only by one single hot plate. He takes freezing cold bucket showers, has no commode, gleans medical advice from the native witch doctor, and sports a thick mosquito net covering his bed to fend off brutal insects.

The few members share what they can, but meals are sparse, electric power shoddy, and proper sanitation can be sketchy.

Still, he absolutely loves his mission and everything about it. He is growing and changing in miraculous ways.

My third son devours every revealing missionary email from his brother, relishing in his sibling’s service, harsh challenges and all, giddy at the thought of serving his own mission in the near future.

But as a mother, I can’t help but dwell upon his debilitating mission trials, including the hunger, the rejection, the living conditions, and my uneasy angst at the possibility of yet another son serving in similarly less than ideal circumstances.

My anxiety continues to grow as the new mission call sits, waiting to be opened.

This single letter holds the key to my third son’s greatest and grandest adventure yet, one that will take him away from everything and everyone he has ever known, but one that has limitless potential for growth and development.

My mind wanders, envisioning him being called somewhere with a pleasant climate where scores of accepting investigators and gracious members are willing to feed him well, someplace with unlimited access to proper health care, living conditions, and sanitation.

But these mission scenarios are completely out of my hands. Of course, I know he will serve where he is destined to and there is absolutely nothing I can do about it.

A few sleepless nights later, my son stands in the middle of our living room, surrounded by loved ones, family, and friends, excitedly grasping the mission envelope.

He tears it open and silently reads the entire letter to himself as we hold our collective breath.

A wide grin spreads across his face, calming my heart, and tears fill my eyes.

He stands there a minute, allowing the spirit of the mission call to wash over him, filling the entire room with an almost tangible light.

At that moment, I know that wherever he is called to serve is his perfect place. I harbor nothing but genuine love, encouragement, and support for his new, life-changing venture.

He reads the letter out loud, pausing before announcing his mission location, gazing straight at me. I freeze with anticipation.

He then joyfully announces that he too will be serving in the remote jungles of Central America; in fact, his mission will border that of his older brother.

I wouldn’t want it any other way.

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