Friday, April 25, 2014

Elder Graham

Mason enjoys dinner with a family in Texas

Elder Graham (right) with his mission president, John Pingree (center) and companion Elder Chandler
My dreams have come true!!! Years of piano lessons are put to good use as Mason helps during a mission conference

Elder Graham with Sharolyn, a lovely woman who Mason taught and helped to baptize in February.
It is so tender to me to see the love she has for my son. 

Mason's current companion, Elder Armacost

Elder Mason Graham left the Spruces on August 14, 2014 to serve a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. At this writing he has served one third of his total 24 month mission. Time flies for us and stands still at the same time as we read about Mason's life as a missionary in his weekly emails home. Mason is growing up in so many ways, and yet he is still himself. He still loves comics though he does not read them on his mission. He makes calzones, one of his two specialities (omelets are his other). He struggles to get up right on time each morning. And his letters are lengthy epistles with words like "magnanimous" that sound more like Charles Dickens than any contemporary college kid. He is reaching up to Heaven to become more of his true self; he cares about other people. He has a conviction that Jesus Christ is real and that because of Him we can be forgiven of our sins when we repent. He is leading in unique ways and having surprising experiences. This is what it means to be a mormon missionary. When you represent the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and commit to invite others to come unto Christ your perspective and your daily life revolve around that commitment. And as you continue to experience the mission you become more; more loving, more dedicated, more eager to share and more interested in the welfare of others than in your own life. 

Right now Mason is being challenged in surprising ways. With few people who want to hear his message and a companion who requires some special help and support, our Elder's time is centered around seeking those who would hear and helping his companion and friend to adjust to mission life and feel confident that the rigors of the daily schedule will not be too difficult for him. This new companion is teaching Mason lessons that are unique and invaluable. In our modern scripture we often quote a verse that says "if it so be that ye should labor all your days and bring but one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father".  We interpret this to mean that even if all your time and effort only brings one person closer to Christ the value of that soul is eternal and precious and we will feel the great joy that God feels when one of His own comes home. We often don't recognize that that 'one' could be anyone; and for Mason perhaps that one is his companion and new friend.

Being a 'missionary mom' is still being a mom.  I pray for my child daily, sometimes multiple times a day. I think of what he is doing, how he is getting along, if he is growing and maturing, if he is helping others, how he spends his time and if he thinks of home. I send long emails on Monday (Mason writes home once each week on Monday mid-day) and sometimes I send little packages in the mail or letters with an old fashioned stamp.  I eagerly talk about him when people ask about how he is doing. I feel proud and worried and happy and sad. Joy and sorrow. Worry and peace. All the feelings a mother has still come even though I have placed my son in God's hand quite literally and have given him (of course, he chose to give himself! But I let him go, didn't I) away like Hannah at the temple gate. Though I have not likely raised a Samuel, I have handed my firstborn back to the Lord who gave Him to me. 

And sometimes I miss him terribly. 

But most days I feel peace. And pride. And joy. And love. And gratitude.
I'm glad I am a missionary mom. I'm happy to have a missionary for a son.

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