Over almost two decades of married life, we have had the missionaries over for dinner a lot! We’ve collected quite a few memorable moments during these wonderful meals together.
Like the time a missionary got up from the table in the middle of our spaghetti dinner, opened the pantry and pulled out the Doritos. He continued talking to everyone as he took large handfuls and crumbled them over his plate of spaghetti, before putting the Doritos back in the cupboard.
He then grabbed the Ranch dressing, dumped it over the crumbled chips. While he’s creating this culinary masterpiece, he’s talking away without interruption. Then he opens the fridge, and begins moving things around as he searches. He stops his one-man conversation to look straight at me and in a very offended voice say, “You guys don’t have any Coke?”
Feeling a little taken aback by this entirely unexpected turn to our dinner appointment, I stuttered something about how we really don’t drink soda as a family. To which response, he sat down in a huff and began to take large mouthfuls of the spaghetti/Doritos combination.
As this missionary left that evening, he loudly exclaimed, “Hey! Are you going to give us some left-overs? Because I don’t want salad, just spaghetti.” Had I been more thoughtful, I probably would have stuck the remaining Doritos in with the left-overs! ☺
Our youngest is now ten, and she is FULL of energy. Non-stop, constantly in motion, energy. During meals when she was little, she was constantly up and down and up and down. We could hardly get her to eat a bite! Finally, I had the brilliant idea to use one of her Dad’s belts around the chair and around her to hold her in place long enough to get her to eat a meal! It worked like a charm! After a few months, she had grasped the idea of sitting through the entire meal, so we removed the belt.
As our little Lula bounced in and out of her seat during a lunch with the Sister missionaries, I finally warned, “If you don’t stay sitting, Mom will get the belt!” Seeing the missionaries’ eyes widen in horror, I hurriedly explained what that phrase meant and the Sisters laughed in relief. The Sisters imagined we were threatening our daughter with a spanking!
It didn’t take long for the Sisters to laugh along with our family at Lula’s antics. During one meal, she was trying to impress the Sisters with her round two-year-old belly and cute belly button by pulling her shirt up and over her head. However, since she wasn’t eating anything, I called out to her, “Put away your belly button!”
… that is something I never imagined coming out of my mouth …
And there is the time when our son’s best friend was over for dinner and loudly proclaimed to everyone, “I want to be a missionary!” Given that his Catholic mother and Jewish father have raised him Catholic, we were a little startled. The missionaries responded, “We’re missionaries!”
His crestfallen response is priceless, “Oh. I thought being a missionary meant you were mature.” Tears streamed down our faces as we laughed and laughed.
Missionary energy and vitality lights up our home from the moment they arrive. Their sincere testimonies taught my children so much over the years about God and His love for us. Each missionary brings a unique perspective to our home and we love them all.
With my son serving a mission of his own, I have so much appreciation for those who open their homes to feed and love my son. I have received texts from unknown phones, with a simple, “We love your Elder!” and a picture of my son and his companion attached. I have read my son’s accounts of people sharing their food and hearts with him. If I could say something to these wonderful families, it would be this:
Thank you. Thank you for giving my son a place to rest. A place where he is accepted and appreciated for the sacrifices he is making. Thank you for feeding him! I worry with him so far away. It means so much to know that there is someone there, caring for him when I cannot.
Because of having my son out on his mission, having the missionaries in our home has brought a new joy to my heart. I get to cook for young men again—with their larger than average appetites! I get to mother and smother them with concern. Are they getting enough to eat? Do they need anything? Can I take their picture to send to their families?
This last week, the missionaries left our home with a slightly different left-over bag than usual. My son shared with me how expensive laundry supplies are on a tight missionary budget. So along with their usual bag of food, this time the missionaries took along a bag of a few laundry supplies. Not much, but, for this mother of a missionary, it helped to know that for this week, at least, their clothes would not be getting washed in the bathroom sink with a bar of soap! ☺