Saturday, March 29, 2014

Mission Call Opening Day

I love our mail carrier.  Darlene is such a nice person.  You have to respect a mail carrier who will still dare to drive up your driveway even after being startled by a man in a bathrobe and morning hair (she caught me on a better clothed day, thankfully).  She delivers many items, some anticipated with eagerness, many not so much.  What a magical place, a mail carrier’s bag.  What mystery lurks?  It’s the lure of the unexpected that grabs you.  A letter from a long-lost friend, an invitation to an adventure cruise you’ll probably never take, a notice that you are a guaranteed sweepstakes winner, an announcement of a sale on something you never knew you needed, a summons to jury duty?   Usually Darlene just brings me bills, sometimes solicitations, advertisements, and other junk items I sort and toss in the trash before entering the house.  Sometimes she brings me happy news, like a wedding or graduation announcement.  And then, once in a while she brings you something really awesome,  the kind of mail that makes you want to run after the mail van and give a government employee a big hug and say “Thanks, can I pay more for a first class stamp?”

Such a delivery occurred on Saturday March 29, 2014, when Darlene delivered a big, white, legal-document-sized envelope from the headquarters of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints with the distinctive address on North Temple Avenue in Salt Lake City, Utah in the left upper corner. 

It’s a unmistakable moment.  Every Mormon family who has ever sent a missionary off to service of as a representative of our Heavenly Father as a full time missionary knows what to expect.  The scene has been replayed many, many thousands of times in the past century in places across the globe.  We’d been checking the mailbox almost daily.  Now, here it was. It made me think back to the summer of 1973 when I received my first Mission Call as a 19 year old college Freshman living with my family in Wilbraham, Massachusetts.  How much happy anticipation we felt as my family gathered that evening in the living room and read my Call from a Prophet of God, Harold B Lee, to serve for two years in the South East Asia Mission, reporting on September 8, 1973.  My Mom was in tears, we were all excited and raced to find a world map.  We’ve experienced the same joy with our three sons.  Chris went to Dominican Republic, Marc to Honduras, and Peter returned home from Brazil in 2013.  Kathy and I have planned for years to be ready to accept this call to serve as a Senior Missionary Couple when the time was right, and here we were.

After hooping up the driveway, bypassing the trash can, I ran up to show Kathy.  We were elated, but showed great reserve and called all of our local kids to join us at Marc’s that evening.  After assembling together, including FaceTime feeds with our daughter Cassandra in Hawaii, Peter in Utah, and Chris in Tucson,  Kathy opened the letter, and read:

“Dear Elder and Sister Williams:

“You are hereby called to serve as a missionary of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  You are assigned to serve in the Indonesia Jakarta Mission.  Your primary assignment is to labor as a member and leader support missionary.  It is anticipated that you will serve for a period of 18 months.  
You should report to the Provo Missionary Training Center on Monday, October 13, 2014.

“As you devote your time and attention to serving the Lord, leaving behind all other personal affairs, the Lord will bless you with increased knowledge and testimony of the Restoration and of the truths of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Your purpose will be to invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and his Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end.”

It was signed by Thomas S Monson, President of the Church, and the Lord’s Prophet on earth at this time.

It’s a remarkable experience to have this direct assignment from a Prophet of God. We look forward to having Priesthood hands soon laid on our heads and be set apart in this calling, as was Aaron of old.  We look forward to serving God with fullness of heart, might and strength, lifting and blessing His children in Indonesia as best we can.  We ask for your faith and prayers as we go forth, to have abilities beyond our own, to have the Gift of Tongues to be able to speak to them in their own language, and to be led, minute by minute and day by day where we should go and what we should do and what we should say, always confessing Christ before men (Luke 12:32).  The Lord uses the simple and plain things of His Kingdom to bring to pass His grand designs and great purposes. 

So, thank you, Darlene.  Little did you know as you made your Postal delivery that day what joy and rich experience and opportunity for good you carried in your magical bag.

Thank you to parents, family, friends for your support and love.

And thank you Lord for being able to share in Thy divine plan for these latter days. 

Keith and Kathy

Indonesia Jakarta Mission!