I went to a baptism on Saturday. In the hallway of the building where the baptism was, I saw a large picture of two missionaries. The artist drew the missionaries as if they were walking away with their backs turned to the viewer. The setting was a wide open rural lane. I had quite a hard time for about fifteen minutes because it looked liked the kind of setting Ian might be in. I guess mothers of missionary sons have a few moments during the course of a very long mission where reality sets in. There were three missionaries at the baptism and they sat behind me. One very sweet missionary saw that I had tears in my eyes. I said to him, "I'm sorry, seeing that picture made me miss my son." He then got tears in his eyes. He asked how long Ian has been gone. I said, "five months." He said, "that's how long I have been out." That didn't help too much because it made my tears well up more. I said to him, "Elder, do your mother a favor and write her a long letter this week." He said that there isn't really time on P-days to do such things but he was very, very kind when he said it. He proceeded to offer a few words of comfort that were much appreciated.
Here are a few lines from Ian's e-mail today:
Dear Family and Friends,
I wish you all a very happy Presidents Day, the minor holiday that it is, and hope you are all well. I consider this week a good one. We are starting to work harder and more effectively and this week we saw some good results...It has been a good transfer and I have really learned a lot...We are about to start the change into fall and winter here. Yesterday the hours changed and we moved back one hour...It is not quite so hot anymore. :)
Every once in a while on my mission, I get the chance to catch a glimpse of the changes that are happening within me. This is always a great blessing...I am learning a lot though experience, about dedication to the Lord, in our callings, in our lives, and in all things...In losing myself in the service of the Lord, I really am finding out much more about who I really am. Before the mission, I wondered a lot about these things, about who I really was, the way I am and so forth. It is hard to explain but while in the service of the Lord, I am finding more definition to my life, my personality, and who I want to be. These are things that I have always known, but now I am getting a clearer vision of them...I really don’t know where all that came from but these are just some of the thoughts that have been swarming about in my head this week. You think a lot when you are a missionary. I am out of time again. I hope this was a good email for you all. Many times, I really don’t know what to write. We just do the same things all day every day. Write me some questions of stuff you want to know... I leave you with my testimony of the Church that it is true. I know that it is led by prophets and apostles who talk to God and receive revelation for us in our days. I know that the Book of Mormon is true and that it is a precious gift that God has given us. We are so very blessed to have the restored gospel in our lives. I am so very grateful for goodly parents who have taught me so well, I have been so very blessed and I think of your examples very often here. I love you all very much and wish you a good week."