Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Call I Hear

Anticipation: expectation, hope, eagerness, enthusiasm, intensity, devotion, dedication, wholeheartedness, belief, trust, optimism, fervor, zeal… etc.

A feeling that has been present my entire existence. Indeed this feeling has been invested in one particular direction: Serving a full time Mission

In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, young men and women, ages of 19 and 26 leave their homes, friends, and family, to spend 18 to 24 months serving the Lord and His Children in various lands and languages. For the Gospel of Jesus Christ will spread to every nation, tongue and people. I was “born with the desire to go on a mission.”

It is not my turn to serve, for those who have the desire, are called to the work, and as my mother will tell you, I was “born with the desire to serve.”

Today is the day. It’s coming today, my call to serve, I can feel it. It is an interesting sensation, knowing that I can go anywhere in the world… and more importantly, that I will. I have been praying a lot about this very subject. And enough of my friends have predicted me going to temple square in Salt Lake City. Don’t be wrong, salt lake is great, but it is a very different mission than going to some third world country. In general people have an idea about where they want to go. For the longest time I was convinced that I would be called to serve in Italy. But after praying, the thoughts of my soul tell me that where I am called is where the Lord needs me, whether it is SLC or Rome. In truth, I have my suspicions about Florida, but I suppose we’ll see.

When mom walks in with a large envelope, my heart jumps, and my mind starts to race. The first question is “when should I open it?” shortly followed by “with whom should I open it?” Finally I make a decision. 5:30 and we’ll Skype all the family. Meanwhile I stick the envelope under my pillow for safe keeping. Whoever decided that was safe, I have no idea, but in my childhood there was no safer place.

As we gather around the table I think of all the places that can go. My whole family is here via skype or in person, except Hoss who’s at school. I gaze on their faces and can feel their anticipation and I clutch my dad’s Robert the Bruce letter opener. It is a mini sword replica that my brother brought back from Scotland. My envelope has creases from where my fingers have been holding. As I slice the paper, you can hear how deliberate my tear is. As I pull out the sheet of cream colored paper I quickly conceal the section of paper that gives my destination. I can’t very well read ahead… that would be cheating. As I begin to read my heart starts to swell “Dear Sister Milmont: You are hereby called to serve as a missionary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints” what an awesome responsibility, to be a representative of Christ. I continue to read “You are called to labor in the….” My heart stops, and I choke up. I know that this is where I am meant to serve, my family members are all holding their breath and as I speak through tears I finish “… in the Argentina Buenos Aires North Mission”

I cannot remember ever being this happy. This was my brothers’ mission, and several of my cousins’ missions, and my best friend from high schools mission, but above all this is Gods’ mission and Christ Gospel. I report on April 13th and I can hardly wait to get out there, to serve Gods’ Children. I know that God loves each of us, and He knows the desires of our hearts. As we strive to keep His commandments we will become more effective instruments in his hands.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

The Holiday Dunk Incident

When a person inspects their childhood, they often recall chores and responsibilities. Said obligations may be rotated among family members such as who does the dishes each night. Or tasks may simply fall upon the oldest child living at home, like loading the trash bags into a rickety old cart and wheeling it down the hill to be picked up by the garbage men the following morning. In many families there is an annual ritual know as "Spring Cleaning" which can be traced to the ancient Jewish practice of thoroughly cleansing the home in anticipation of the spring-time holiday of Passover (Hebrew: פסח pesach‎). During the eight-day holiday there is a strict prohibition against eating anything which may have been leavened. Jews are not only supposed to refrain from leavened foodstuffs (known in Hebrew as חמץ chametz), they are expressly commanded to rid their homes of even small remnants of chametz for the length of the holiday (Exodus 12:15). Therefore, for the past 3,500 years, observant Jews have conducted a thorough "spring cleaning" of the house ridding the premises of all types of leavening before the Passover begins.

While growing up, members of my family participated in what I like to call the "Semi-Annual Cousin" to spring cleaning. Not really having a proper name for it, I have recently dubbed it the "Holiday Dunk." It generally falls between Thanksgiving and Christmas so it seemed appropriate. Preparing all the bedrooms for guests. Vacuuming, dusting, cleaning out the garage, thawing the freezers, bringing in the long and ridiculously heavy table, the Christmas decor and so forth. After installing the new sink down stairs, mom was installing glass shelves in the vanity. As I began to help her, one of the shelves slipped and greeted my finger most sharply. The inflicted wound immediately started to gush. And thus ended the Holiday Dunk.

The Initial Gush

Upon Further Inspection

The Magic of Indian Paint (Iodine) Applied

Collodion Discovered and Glued