It’s been a roller-coaster ride in our home this week. Our feelings have been near the surface and still are. My daughter’s boyfriend entered the MTC yesterday. Frankly, I didn’t expect the rush of emotion I felt.
This fine young man has become a beloved member of our family and cherished like one of my own. We don’t bid him adieu with regret. Of course we are excited, pleased, and supportive of his decision to faithfully serve the Lord. I know from personal experience that this is the best decision for him, his family, and my daughter. Yet that knowledge doesn’t make it easy. It makes it bearable. Let me explain.
My whole life, I have planned and prepared for a mission. It was a goal that my parents established in my heart as a child. Through both the good and the bad, a mission has been a beacon and a goal for me to which I could aspire. So naturally when I became a new father, I wanted this privilege for my own son. Since his infancy, we prayed that he would have the opportunity to serve a mission. We shared experiences and told stories from our own lives and experiences to inspire, encourage, and motivate our son.
His mother told him stories of stripling warriors, faithful sons, and sacrifice from the scriptures and real life examples. She is a convert to the Church and two young missionaries found her when tracting her childhood neighborhood at the time. Because other fathers and mothers faithfully reared their sons to serve the Lord and were willing to be separated from them during the prime of their lives, my sweetheart was taught the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which ultimately enabled us to meet, fall in love, and get married. I owe a debt of gratitude to these young men which I cannot even articulate.
But admittedly, I wasn’t ready for the swell of emotions I felt when I sent my own son into the mission field. We had such a great time during his high school years—baseball, music, concerts, and friends—it went all too fast. So when we considered the reality of sending our boy away for two years at the prime of his life, it was an emotion that I never anticipated. I prayed for this event my whole adult life and taught him to plan for this day since he was just a boy. But I never anticipated the depth of emotion that would come to the surface when I was actually facing his leaving us for two years at the prime of his life. It was stark, unexpected, and raw. But I knew it was the right thing to do, so I held my emotions in check and encouraged him as any father would. These emotions were revealed again this week as we sent another missionary into the mission field—my daughter’s missionary.
It has been years now since my son arrived home from his mission. Upon his return, he selected a school, declared a major and completed his education. Now he has a beautiful wife and family of his own. He is teaching his son to serve the Lord and prepare for a full-time mission. He, too, will experience the tangible emotion and personal longing associated with sending your finest into the service of the Lord. But I have perspective now that I didn’t know then when I was young. My commitment is more than faith. It is borne out of a life of experience seeing the blessings of service in the Lord’s Kingdom. Now I know from personal experience the efforts we expend in the Lord’s behalf will be returned with blessings a hundred fold even now in this life, coupled with the greatest of all the gifts of God in the world to come—eternal life.
Others give valiant gifts through noble hardship, lost loved ones, or service in the Kingdom of God. He appreciates these gestures all and stands ready to open the windows of heaven to bless those who serve and sacrifice for Him. Malachi 3:10
“Rise from mediocrity to competence—from failure to achievement—to be our best selves.” -President Thomas Monson
“Each of us has a part to play in the plan. And each of us is equally valiant in the eyes of the Lord.” -Sister Bonnie Oscarson
“Find happiness in ordinary things and keep you sense of humor.” -Elder Boyd K Packer
“Strive to be that kind of disciple of the Father and the Son and your influence will never fade.” -Elder D Todd Christofferson
“Through the Savior’s atonement we can achieve capacity and strength beyond our own.” -Elder David Bednar
“We never need feel we are alone or unloved in the Lord’s service, because we never are.” -President Dieter F Uchtdorf
“Defend your beliefs with courtesy and compassion, but defend them.” -Elder Jeffrey Holland
There is no tomorrow to remember if we don’t do something today.” -President Thomas S Monson
“30 But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life.” Mark 10:30
It’s an honor to give your finest to the Lord, and the fathers and mothers in the Lord’s kingdom all across the world do it every time they send and support their sons and daughters on missions as ambassadors for Christ.
VICTORY THROUGH JESUS CHRIST
“Every man born into the world will die. It matters not who he is, nor where he is, whether his birth be among the rich and the noble, or among the lowly and poor in the world, his days are numbered with the Lord, and in due time he will reach the end. We should think of this. Not that we should go about with heavy hearts or with downcast countenances; not at all. I rejoice that I am born to live, to die, and to live again. I thank God for this intelligence. It gives me joy and peace that the world cannot give, neither can the world take it away. God has revealed this to me, in the gospel of Jesus Christ. I know it to be true. Therefore, I have nothing to be sad over, nothing to make me sorrowful.
Joseph Fielding Smith
You served me well my little child. Come into my arms to stay. When He Comes Again
In 1989, Walter Penning formed a consultancy based in Salt Lake City and empowered his clients by streamlining processes and building a loyal, lifetime customer base with great customer service. His true passion is found in his family. He says the best decision he ever made was to marry his sweetheart and have children. The wonderful family she has given him and her constant love, support, and patience amid life's challenges is his panacea.