Wednesday, April 30, 2014

First message!

I was watching our youth practice for dance festival when I got a wonderful text message and pictures of Elder Campbell:

Sister MacDonald my name is Sister Roby my husband and I will be keeping you informed on your wonderful Missionary.  He is in Rockford IL, Rockford 1st ward. His Companion is Elder Noho and he is from Tahiti.  He is a wonderful trainer and your Son will learn a lot.  I send a picture of his shoes because they will be dirty soon. They do a lot of walking. We are grateful to Heavenly Father has blessed us with a new Missionary son. Talk to you soon. Catherine 

Friday, April 25, 2014

Where's my letter?!

An email response to my query as to where my letter is!!  Now I can stop haunting the mailbox this week.

Yeah about that. I wrote it and then didn't like it and then I just thought I might as well wait for preparation day to give you some updates. Monday's the big day! Though we must be at the MTC's shuttle pick-up at 4:30 a.m. I'm thrilled to be moving on. The experience you have at the MTC seems to directly correlate with the consistency of relying upon the Lord. To be honest, my stay at the MTC has not been overwhelmingly happy, but that was because of my lack of self confidence, and lack of proper perspective. Earlier in the week, I struggled to stay focused and teach with the power and conviction I wished to possess. My expectations were laughingly unrealistic. I wanted to come home, but my companion's faith in me elevated my heart and gave me the momentum to persist. What also helped was meeting with the counselor they have here. He ran a test and asked me several questions and it's very likely that I am ADHD, which I'm realizing more and more. Even though I am, he gave me some reassurance that it won't be crippling enough to affect my success as a missionary. I just have to be humble and admit when I'm lost or distracted so that my companion can get us back on track. When I do that, and have faith in the atonement, the blessings of strength I receive not only stabilize me, but they elevate me. Heavenly Father's plan is a plan of growth and progression, and as I depend upon that, I find that I receive blessings exactly when I need them. I find that I'm not struggling to meet his expectations, but that we're cooperating and working together in the same cause. I've never felt such love from Him before my trial of faith at the MTC. I know that He loves me and that we work together to bring me closer to perfection.
...Not only did President Uchtdorf come to speak to us, but so did Elder Dallin H. Oaks and His wife. All three of them had similar messages, but what I want to employ in my own life is a fearless approach to missionary work. Being set apart, having the Lord and Our Father on my side, there's no reason to fear anyone or any situation. We just have to be prayerful and prepared. Also thank you for the package sent. The Elders in our residence will sip on the Martinelli's on Sunday night before we depart. Such obedient and powerful Elders in our district.
What has been strange is that even though we teach fake investigators at the MTC, the Spirit still teaches us and touches their hearts. Amazing. We're improving every day. By the way, Elder Christenson from "The District 2" is a teacher at the MTC and he spoke to us yesterday about working with members. Quite interesting. He showed us a Bednar clip about how we need to act like missionaries before we enter a member's home that really affected me. I'll have to send you the link.
Anyway, gotta finish my laundry. I'll email later in the day. Love ya'll!

Friday, April 18, 2014

The day of departure

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014.  Elder Campbell, his sister Carly and I (mom) had just finished what would be our last lunch together pre-mission.  We knew that we would not be able to hug each other goodbye at the MTC, so before we got back in the car to head down to Provo we said our farewells.  Elder Campbell gave Carly a nice brotherly hug, and then it was mom's turn.  I don't think either one of us was ready or willing to let go, but it was an embrace I will always remember.  

The drive down to Provo was uneventful, and before we knew it we had reached the MTC entrance.  There were SO many cars and people - it was just amazing.  We were met by our first "usher," who welcomed us and verified who we were dropping off and where his ultimate destination was - and we were sent on our way around the bend to the CURB.  Car upon car were lined up along the curb, each with a departing missionary.  We were signaled over to the curb by 3 smiling, waving Elders of Pacific Island descent, and as soon as Elder Campbell stepped out of the car each on of his "hosts" embraced him and welcomed him.  With 3 strong young men, the luggage was quickly removed from the roof rack, and then it was time.  I wasn't sure if I was ready for this, but I kept my composure, lowering the window and appropriately embarrassing my son with a, "I love you schmoopy poopy!"  All the elders got a good laugh out of that and I got confirmation that, "He's going to do great."  I already knew that though.

As Carly and I drove away from the curb we noticed all of the other families dropping off their missionaries.  The new standard is that you don't get out of the car and say goodbyes at the curb, and there are several good reasons for this:  1.  There are A LOT of missionaries checking in constantly, and there simply is not enough space for people to hang out at the curb.  2.  Saying goodbye at the curb is harder on everyone!  Get it done before you leave and it will hurt less - kind of like ripping off a band-aid.  SO, of course as we drove away there had to be at least 1 family that did not heed by this new rule, with a father and his son embracing and the poor kid in tears.  We made it around the bend, past the dreaded curb and out towards the exit.  Cue tears.  Both Carly and I kept our composure until that very moment, and then it was a free-for-all.  Yes, there were some sad tears.  Elder Campbell is such an important part of our lives it will be hard to not see his face or hear his voice for 2 whole years.  But there were also tears of joy, knowing that he was where he was meant to be.  I know without a shadow of a doubt that my son will be a tremendous missionary, and will be loved by the people of the Chicago West mission.  But not as much as he is loved by his family.