July 23, 1997

This is a day that will forever change my life. It's the day I left my home in Sandy, UT and went to the Missionary Training Center in Provo. You could sneer or think it a little dramatic to say that this was such a big day, but it marked a change in my life from worrying about myself and my little nest of friends that I grew up with to leaving to serve the LDS Church and focusing on something besides myself for a change.

The day began quietly enough. My friends came over to say goodbye to me one last time, Chris and Ryan are in the picture here. Saying goodbye was difficult, but we had already hugged and said bye a few times before, so it seemed to go okay.

For families that live close to Utah (or maybe not so close, either), dropping their departing missionary off at the Missionary Training Center (MTC) is a pretty big event. We all drove down to Provo and ate dinner at the Brick Oven. Funny enough, there were several other missionaries that were eating lunch with their families there as well. After lunch, we drove to the MTC and sat in a large group of people and listened to the President of the MTC speak. He was a very gracious man who commanded the Spirit well and he brought a feeling of comfort to the departing missionaries and their sad families. Leaving loved ones is always difficult; this is one of the more bittersweet feelings I think I have had in my life. Excited to finally get moving on the mission, but sad to leave behind all the people you love from the first 19 years of your life.

A few pictures of the departure are here. My brother and my Dad, my girlfriend at the time (!) also pictured with my goofy little brother and my sister, and my older sister, too.

Last is a picture of my Mom. Mom's hold a great symbolism in our church. There is a story in the Book of Mormon about 2,000 young men who fight in a war. They're not trained for battle, yet their courage takes them to the battle field to defend what they love and believe. At the end, their Captain, Heleman, frantically searches through the ranks to see how many of the precious youth had died in the battle. Miracously, none of them had died. Every one had sustained injuries, cuts, fatigues, some very serious, but all of them had lived. Many from the army of men they had fought alongside had lost their lives in the battle. When questioned, the young warriors replied that their mothers had taught them that if they did not doubt, God would deliver them. I feel that way about my Mother, too. I tried to believe in what she taught me to be true as I went out into the missionfield.


Chris said...

At least your family dropped you off! I had to say goodbyes at my home airport. A friend and her mom picked me up and then dropped me at the MTC. A bit strange, actually...

Lee&Tami: Their life said...

This is great matt. I didn't know this was here until seeing it tonight. Hard time sleeping, but this was better than sleeping any day - I mean night.


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