Last night was an exciting one at my house. My fourth son opened his mission call. Family and friends gathered around, some on skype from far away, some listening on the phone. He was nervous. Where would he spend the next two years? All three of his older brothers served missions. In fact, one is still serving in Hawaii and will not be home for a month. He tears open the call and reads to us out load, “Dear Elder Peck, . . . you have been called to the Finland Helsinki Mission.” Cheers spontaneously fill the air. He leaps for joy. Hugs. Yells. Facebook is updated. Emails are fired off. Everyone is excited. A globe is produced to see how far north it is. Wikipedia is consulted amid scores of little conversations that erupt all over the house. I wander from group to group like a lost child, randomly pointing out that Finnish isn’t in the Indo-European family of languages–just because I don’t know what to say in such an adrenaline fog. My wife chats in the corner with a friend over travel to Europe. Excitement. My son’s eyes are glowing and a smile won’t leave his face.
Last night I lay in bed feeling waves of gratitude washing over me, thinking about what a blessing this mission will be to my son, just as my mission was to me, and my other son’s missions were for them. I know there are challenges for him ahead. But right now I just want to say thank you to a church that gives its sons and daughters such a wonderful chance to serve; to go out into the world, do something worthwhile, to learn and grow, and to develop a deep and rich spirituality. Happy Thanksgiving Indeed.