While Braden was 4-wheeling with his dad, the mail arrived and there it was. The big white envelope from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints addressed to one Elder Braden Reese! Oh how I wanted to rip it open and read where my son would be going for the next two years of his life to serve our Lord and Savior. I was praying for stateside to keep him close since his brother, Elder Trevan Reese, has been serving in the Belgium/Netherlands Mission for the past 21 months. You know, the good ol United States of America was what my dreams where made of for my beloved second son. He would be safer, I would say. I could send him packages and letters faster and cheaper I told myself.
Once he got home, he sent out mass texts to friends and family and announced he'd open his call at 7:30 that night.
Friends, friends, and more friends showed up to put their sticky note choice of where Braden would go on the map. Did anyone get it right? NOPE! Braden was scared that he WOULD be called stateside so he covered up the line that told him his destination until the very last second.
CHEERS exploded as he announced that he would be going to the SAMOA, APIA MISSION!!!
I was in shock. What, that's NOT stateside. I looked at my sons face which was so full of joy and excitement and knew that I would have to get on board. Comments from friends where things like, "hey your going to get fat", and "the spiders are huge there". All Braden could say was "I hope I get to wear a lava lava!! My son wants to spend the next two years in a SKIRT! OH, and he was super excited that he doesn't have take or buy a suit. Short sleeves and crocs! Way to go.
Sooo, here we go...... passport applications, immunizations, checking off the "to do" list one by one in the "what to do before you go" book that accompanied his call. Everything with $$. Stress level on hyper-speed and the final recognition and acceptance that your little boy is leaving half way around the world where the seasons are opposite and he's 13 hours ahead of us. Once a week emails, not daily conversations. Skypes instead of hugs. How is a mother to survive. Faith. Faith in knowing that there is no where else he should be but there serving the Samoan people and our Heavenly Father. Faith in knowing that he is under the Lord's protection and comforting guidance. I will miss him so much but having the knowledge of the Gospel and the love Braden will have for these wonderful people will get me through just as it has for Trevan.
Braden enters the Provo MTC on August 24th for this new chapter in his life and I am happy to say that he is well prepared and very excited to go. His testimony is strong and he has been going to the temple every Wednesday morning for the past few months which I know has given him much peace and comfort about going to another country with all their customs and traditions. I love him with my whole heart and know for certain that the next 2 years will change his life forever.