Arrival of mission calls an emotional moment for all

Mar 27 2013 - 12:47pm

Images

In this still image from a video posted on YouTube, a newly called missionary opens a letter from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to learn where she will be serving and what language she will speak there. (Courtesy of YouTube)
In this still image from a video posted on YouTube, a newly called missionary opens a letter from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to learn where he will be serving and what language he will speak there. (Courtesy of YouTube)
In this still image from a video posted on YouTube, newly called missionaries open letters from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to learn where they will be serving and what language they will speak there. (Courtesy of YouTube)
In this still image from a video posted on YouTube, a brother and sister open letters from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to learn where they will serve their missions and what language they will speak there. (Courtesy of YouTube)
In this still image from a video posted on YouTube, a newly called missionary opens a letter from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to learn where he will be serving and what language he will speak there. (Courtesy of YouTube)
In this still image from a video posted on YouTube, a newly called missionary opens a letter from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to learn where she will be serving and what language she will speak there. (Courtesy of YouTube)
In this still image from a video posted on YouTube, a newly called missionary opens a letter from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to learn where he will be serving and what language he will speak there. (Courtesy of YouTube)
In this still image from a video posted on YouTube, newly called missionaries open letters from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to learn where they will be serving and what language they will speak there. (Courtesy of YouTube)
In this still image from a video posted on YouTube, a brother and sister open letters from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to learn where they will serve their missions and what language they will speak there. (Courtesy of YouTube)
In this still image from a video posted on YouTube, a newly called missionary opens a letter from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to learn where he will be serving and what language he will speak there. (Courtesy of YouTube)

Young missionaries wait anxiously for the mail on Wednesdays, the typical day the large white envelope comes telling them where they will be serving missions for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

But recently those letters have been delayed, so there has been some disappointment, and some plans have had to be changed.

Receiving a mission call is a family affair, and many families plan dinners or refreshments and invite grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins to be there when the envelope is opened. If the call doesn't come on Wednesday, those plans must be changed.

Justin Meyers, of Kaysville, had to wait the extra day before he received the letter.

"With the influx of missionaries, most of them are getting them on Thursdays instead of Wednesday," he said.

Once the mail was delivered to his home and he found his long-awaited letter, he waited again until his parents were home from work.

"I opened it at 6 p.m. We invited family and friends and used the speaker phone for those who couldn't come," he said.

He opened the envelope and read that he had been called to serve in the Arkansas Little Rock Spanish-Speaking Mission.

He was able to open his mail himself, but he told of a friend whose family opened his.

"Everyone read it but him, and they made him guess where he was going," Justin said.

Sarah Oldham was a student at Brigham Young University when the envelope arrived at her home address in Fruit Heights. She was performing in a concert at the university that evening and couldn't go home, but her parents gathered her siblings, and the family drove to Provo for the concert and to watch her open the big white envelope.

"I opened it in the dorm a half-hour before the concert. It was a whirlwind," Sarah said. She is going to serve in Norway.

Another young sister missionary was at work when her mother called telling her she had a letter from the Church. She asked her mom to deliver the letter to the health food store where she was working. Her younger sister came with her mom. A customer who was in the store at the time wanted to wait while she opened the mission call. There was no fanfare -- just her mom and sister and a customer were there to share the news. The new missionary was thrilled to be going to Illinois, and the customer said she happy to be there, as she had never seen anyone open a mission letter before.

Jantzen Read had to wait for his parents to get home from work before he could open his mission call. Then they waited for his sister, who is in Texas, to get home, so they could have her on Skype while he opened the letter that told him he is heading for Denmark.

When his cousin Nathan Read received his notification nearly two years ago, his whole family, including grandparents, was there to witness the event and to learn he was going to Cape Verde.

It isn't just the young missionaries who are excited to find out what their assignments are. The Read cousins' grandparents, Virginia and Lewis Read, have served two missions, one in the Philippines and one in Australia.

"We had the whole family present, even my niece," said Virginia Read, remembering when they opened their letters letting them know where they were going.

When Ruth Naylor, a single senior missionary now serving in the Africa South East Area Office, was waiting for her call, she didn't get it on the day when most of them come. Her bishop had been able to follow the paperwork on his computer, so he told her it would come on a certain Wednesday. She was overjoyed.

"I promptly called my son so that we could make the necessary Skype time arrangements, and I would open the letter so that we could share my first mission experience," she said.

But Wednesday came and the letter was not in her mail. She called her son and left a message not to Skype. She expected it to come on Thursday. But Thursday came and went with no letter.

On Friday she came home and flung off her shoes, prepared something to eat and then walked to the mailbox. When she found the large envelope, she was so excited, she hurriedly tore it open and scanned the letter to learn where she would be going.

After that, she called her family to share the good news.

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