Sorry for all of the technical difficulties with the video I posted below. I can watch it on my desktop Mac (but not on my Windows laptop). I actually stole it from Jordan's FB page, but since I'm not friends with the creator I couldn't share it on FB. Anyway, for those who couldn't view it I'm going to post my own, poorly conceived video, below. It's a video (from a weird angle) of skype on our tv. Not great, but I think it becomes especially explosive when she announces her call, and I throw the phone. I enjoy it.
For those of my friends who are not Mormon, perhaps a little background is in order. I'm fairly certain most of you are familiar with Mormon missionaries. We have several boys from our community who are currently serving two year missions, so we've talked about that a bit. Until very recently (October 2012) boys were allowed to serve missions at age 19 and girls at age 21. Don't ask me why. I could give you lots of facts and feelings on the age discrepancy, but the bottom line at this point is that girls can now serve at 19. And thousands of girls have stepped up. Within the first month of the age change, missionary enrollment grew by 400%. Girl power is a terrible force. And by terrible I mean wonderful.
Jordan, my ever-anxious firstborn, was torn at the announcement. She was on the precipice of 19 and serving a mission at this point was not on her radar. And she was understandably anxious about it. A bit of a wreck really. Sterling and I remained neutral, committed to supporting her in whatever decision she made. She wrestled with her options for a bit (not long really) and then decided to serve. She made all of the required appointments, filled out the lengthy paperwork, and moved the process along. When she was home at Christmas we visited her doctor, dentist, and an oral surgeon to complete the packet.
Missionaries are called to serve all over the world, and you have absolutely no say in where you go. There is no protest process. You can't really receive your call and reject it on terms of location. Of course, no one is forced to serve a mission, but the understanding is that once you commit to serve the Lord, you'd be willing to do that anywhere. Certainly the people of Provo, Utah are no less deserving than the people of Rome, Italy. And Jordan assured me she would be fine wherever she was called. She had a great attitude.
As a mom I was suspicious that Jordan's health issues might keep her stateside. We talked about how cool it would be to experience life on the east coast. Maybe Maine. Or Vermont. Or NYC. Lots of cool places in the United States.
Her dream, of course, was to serve a French speaking mission. She took four years of French in high school. Tested out of French 101 and 102 at BYU. Took 201 last semester. And is currently slugging through 202 -- French literature. When we were in France last summer she did a bang up job of conversing with the locals. But keeping it real? There are very few French-speaking missions. And you don't get to make any requests. (She did, however, indicate on her application that she had taken French in school.) So...we weren't holding our breath. She kept saying, "I'll be great with wherever I'm called."
We planned to open her call on Wednesday -- that's typically when mission calls are delivered to the dorms. But Wednesday afternoon came and went and no calls arrived at the Cannon Center (where Jordan eats and gets her mail). Jordan was convinced the call would come on Friday. We started making plans to skype at our house Friday evening. So Thursday, just as I arrived at the junior high for a meeting, I got a semi-hysterical call from Jordan telling me the call was in. She was ready to open it RIGHT THEN.
Except I wasn't home. Neither was Sterling. Or Madison. We made plans for 7:30, and through the miracle of texting, everyone showed up on time. I'll be honest, I was nervous for my kid. Not in the sick-to-my-stomach kind of way. But in the I-hope-this-is-everything-she-imagined kind of way. I just wanted her to be happy. And excited.
Everyone gathered around the tv. We got hooked up with Jordan via Skype, and from her dorm lobby she read the papers. "Sister Jones, You are hereby called to serve as a missionary of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. You are assigned to labor in the FRANCE, LYON mission."
And she screamed. And I died. And then I must have thrown my phone -- although I have no memory of that. We googled the mission boundaries, finding it takes in most of southern France, Monaco, the Isle of Corsica, and a sliver of Switzerland (including Geneva). And we dreamed of boulangeries and fine cheeses and imagined our girl walking through the quaint villages of France.
Of course, there is lots of hard work involved too. And she has to leave us. And completely dedicate 100% of her time to serving others and teaching the French people about the gospel of Jesus Christ -- all in French, of course. She'll be gone for 18 months. We can e-mail her weekly, but we can only phone her on Christmas and Mother's Day, so it's going to be a long haul from June 26th, when she enters the Missionary Training Center in Provo, to December 25th. If you guys thought I was whiney when she left for college, you are probably expecting some tantrum and fit-throwing over this. I promise to spare you. (My husband is fair game.)
Ahhh, I'm so proud of my girl. So excited for her next adventure...