Saturday, March 15, 2014

Considering a Senior Mission

My sweet husband has been asked to coordinate the upcoming 50 year class reunion for Millard High School in Fillmore, Utah. Larry graduated in 1964 with a class of around 70 students.   About a dozen of those original graduates have since passed away and some others have lost contact - no one seems to know where they now live.  But as much as it is possible to do so, Larry is contacting everyone he can find to let them know about plans for this event.  He has enjoyed reconnecting with old friends and acquaintances  he had not spoken with for decades - some not since they graduated all those years ago.

While there were a few students who moved in or moved out over the years he went to high school, Larry had known many of them from their early elementary school days.

They have enjoyed sharing memories of days gone by and catching up with each other on where each person has landed in the ensuing years.

While many are looking forward to seeing one another at the reunion in July, a few have not replied at all or called to say they won't be available to attend, for one reason or another.  That is of course to be expected.  Some are still working or have family obligations. A few now live long distances away and are not in a position to make the trip.  Some, I suppose, may not have had a great experience in their high school years and simply are not interested in rehashing it. There was one response, however, that has caused Larry and I both to do some serious thinking about our  own situation.

Larry recently heard back from classmate Bruce Beckstrand, who told Larry that he and his wife, Debbie, would be unable to attend because they will be leaving the country to serve as Senior Missionaries in the small island nation of Tonga.  Bruce is a dentist and his wife worked as his hygienist, so they are going to run a dental clinic there.

This is not a surprise, really.  Since Fillmore was and is a strong Mormon community and nearly all of his fellow students were active LDS, it just makes sense that some of them would be following the prophet's invitation to serve Senior Missions. We have talked about it ourselves many times in the past.  On several occasions when we would see the printed list of Senior Mission Opportunities tacked to the bulletin board at church we'd flip through it, dreaming of the day we might one day be in a position to serve together ourselves. Still, a Senior Mission seemed like one of those "Someday, honey, we really ought to do this" sort of propositions that was still hanging out there in the unspecified future.

Hearing Bruce and Debbie are going on their mission this year prompted us to re-examine our own timetable for considering it.

I simply hadn't thought of myself as "senior" enough for a senior mission.   While my husband retired at the time we moved to Boise in 2010, I'm still busy with my career and felt like I had some important things yet to accomplish.

However, with a 12 year age gap between us, if we are serious about serving we really should not put it off till I reach traditional retirement age.  So we have started talking about it, considering, pondering, praying to know when might be the best time for us to answer the call to serve.

For years now we have heard messages from our Church leaders about the need for more seniors in the mission field. Our recent experience serving as Ward Missionaries in the Shamrock Ward was something we both felt really good about.  However, leaving home to serve a full time mission in some other place would be a very different sort of serving. There are so many different kinds of missions, and different places - both foreign and domestic - where we might be asked to go.  It is a big decision.  Increasingly, however, we are both beginning to feel it is not a matter of IF, but more a matter of WHEN.

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