7 Sep 2014

Family Thoughts - John Teal

We are developing a pattern ! 
Wednesday nights updates from Elder Teal. 
Sunday nights "Family Thoughts" 
Tonight I decided it was my turn to share my thoughts about having a son on a mission.


From when he was a little boy, we hoped that our son would choose to serve a mission. We knew it would give him experiences that would shape the rest of his life. We held Family Home Evenings where we have talked about being a missionary and sung primary songs

When I have grown a foot or two. 
I hope by then I will be ready, 
To teach and preach and work as missionaries do. 

I hope that I can share the gospel 
With those who want to know the truth. 
I want to be a missionary 
And serve and help the Lord while I am in my youth."

I have seen our son grow, physically, mentally and spiritually throughout his life. Along with a class of his peers, I have taught him for 3 years of daily early morning Seminary and last year he was in an evening Institute class where I taught a group of 18-30 year old young adults.

As a former missionary myself, I knew what it would be like for him leaving home and spending two years, learning, growing and sharing. I knew what the joy of seeing someone embrace the gospel would bring him. I also knew of the discouragement and heartache that rejection would bring him.

What I didn't know.. is what it would be like saying goodbye to my only son and best friend.

For reasons I understand, missionaries restrict their communication with home to letters and emails once a week. They can Skype home on Christmas Day and Mothers Day. This helps them focus and reduces the potential of home sickness. It also ensures fairness among missionaries. Understanding doesn't always mean things are easy though. There are times when I am doing something and think "If Jake was here..." or I will hear something on the radio and think "I'll talk to Jake about that at tea tonight" but He isn't and I cant...

In the Old Testament Abraham is tested to see if he would do anything to obey God. Abraham is commanded to take his only son Issac to the top of a mountain and sacrifice him as a burnt offering. Issac as a fit young man, could have rebelled but dutifully obeyed his fathers instructions.

Why would God ask this of Abraham ? 
Perhaps God knew Abraham would be obedient, but Abraham needed to know he would be obedient. Perhaps God wanted Abraham to understand what it would be like to sacrifice his only Son as type of the Sacrifice God would make? Abraham was tested to the limit and then an alternate sacrifice was provided.

This story has been on my mind a lot this last 5 weeks. Sacrificing Elder Teal by him being away from home for two years is hard. It is nothing though compared to what Heavenly Father felt when He watched his own Son Jesus Christ suffer for the sins and pains of us all.

Elder Teal being away from home is helping me understand the atonement of Jesus Christ a little more. Elder Teal has chosen to represent the Saviour out of love for the people he will meet and teach... 
And that fills me with pride for the man he is becoming.

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