Tuesday, February 7, 2017

The Last One

I haven't gotten an email from Elder Jayden yet this week.
None of the Colombia moms have yet- we all assume it is due to transfers.
I am grateful for technology this way, the support I have had from other missionary moms has been indescribable.
It is a club of strong and wonderful women- who feel like they haven't done enough for their child, who rejoice in the success of other missionaries, grow to love companions they will never meet, and cry at the drop of a hat- for joy and sorrow. Sometimes both simultaneously.
As I have walked this path as a missionary mom, I have had many missionary moms reach out to me and walk beside me for a time.
I know that when things were hard, there were footsteps before me.
I hope now, drawing to the end of this experience I have earned the empathy to make a difference to new missionary mamas, and I hope that I have left good footprints.
It's hard, you guys. The whole two years (18 months) is hard.
I thought this last part would be nothing but explosive happiness, so it caught me off-guard at how emotional the homecoming is.
I sat on my couch Sunday night to type my e-mail to my boy in Colombia.
I didn't have much to say, and it felt strange to know that I would just be seeing him soon.
"I painted the bathroom!" (delete, he will just see it)
"We got new snow." (delete)
"When are the next transfers?" (delete)
I tried to find the right balance of not being overly excited about his imminent return, and trying to focus on the work he is still doing his last week.

Then the weirdest thing happened. I went to hit "send" and I couldn't bring myself to do it. I realized then that this was my last email to him. The last one.
I didn't want this 3,000-miles-away-sweet-relationship with my boy to end.
I sat on the couch and had myself a mini breakdown for a few minutes.
Moms feel for their kids.
We are happy when they are happy, and sad when they are sad.
Part of my heart is pained with sadness for Elder Jayden leaving the people he has grown to love so much.
The other part is nervous to meet him again. Anxious for him to begin a life as an adult.
Yes, there is a portion of excitement too- but it is a weird mix of emotion, much like it was when he embarked on this adventure.
My husband had to remind me that it is all just change.
I don't deal well with change.
But, I didn't want things to change two years ago either.
I am so glad it did.
So here's to change. And strong mamas.
And boys who become men.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Running Out of Time

I probably have one, maybe two more posts left for this blog.
My amazing boy (man?) comes home a week from tomorrow.
I can't really put into words all of the things I am feeling.
I think my friend described it best when she said "it is just as exciting as the day of their birth, only better- because you already know them."
And just like his birth day- I have been nesting. Trying to get everything in order. Anticipating his needs as best I can, and really just trying not to let the butterflies in my stomach take over my whole day!
At the same time, my heart aches for him. Leaving the people he has grown to love so much over the past two years, and knowing, he and I, that he will never return to them. Oh, we will visit- but he will never return in the same capacity that he serves them now.
Here is Elder Jayden's e-mail this week:
Well this week i have learned something. It seems like i am learning a lot of things lately.
I have been able to see that even though i am leaving Colombia and all the people here the work moves forward. 
We are finally getting the area up and running and should be able to put down some baptismal dates this week. It seems like this always happens, i finally get really excited about our work and the area and everything and i have to leave right after that. 
Sahagún has really grown on me this last couple of weeks and i really have gotten to love the people and this place. I am really grateful for the opportunity to come here and be able to work. Sahagún is full of great people and good members! It is growing fast and i am sure it is going to be a really strong ward one day! 
Well this week went by fast and it has been crazy but i have really enjoyed it and i am sure this week will be even faster! 
Well kinda a dry week, no pictures.....sorry i will get some this week though! 
Love you!
Elder Wadley
Oh man. I am sorry to be *that* mom- but how amazing is he?
We had a little back and forth this week.
This made me cry.
I am so proud of you! And yes- the work goes on. Sometimes the Lord needs good people to get the ball rolling. It is frustrating to not immediately see the fruits of your labor, but when we are banking blessings from the Lord, it doesn't matter. He gives us full credit for being obedient and just doing His work, without complaint. I think sometimes we are even blessed more, when he asks us to do thankless things.
Will you be traveling back to the mission home this week?
this sunday i will be traveling:(
Oh man! That's going to be a long, sad ride.
I really can't believe all this.
Change is hard.
I am praying for you, because I don't know what else to do.
My heart is heavy- but also so excited.
it is hard haha to be honest i really is! 
There are a lot of good things to come home to though!
I am happy to hear you say that.
That is a healthy way to approach change.
And there are soooo many good things coming in your life. It is the decade of decision. You have so much support though, lots of friends and family waiting to walk you through it all. We can't wait to see you again!

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

An Adventure in an Ugly Hat

This week Elder Jayden went on an adventure! His zone had a conference, and spent a day at a Colombian military base that had a museum. He sent a bunch of really cute pictures, almost more in this one e-mail than I have been able to scrape out of him HIS WHOLE MISSION.
I'll take them when I can get them.
This will fill his scrapbook out nicely.
In the meantime, Utah has been dumped on with another huge load of SNOW, and the pictures of his sunburned face make me jealous! My week has been a struggle, and I think a lot of it has to do with the dreary weather here.
Here is his e-mail this week:
Well i can tell you one thing, my week was not filled with snow:)
This week President came down and stayed for a long time in Sincelejo. We had a zone conference with him and learned some more about repentance and had a really good conference. 
This keyboard sucks.
I am sorry that your week kinda sucked. I hope this week goes better for you! 
This week was filled with amazing instruction from President. I willl shoot you some pictures in a sec. We went to a military base and we had a really good time. We played sports and ate and just kinda chilled as a zone there. There are a lot of parties and stuff going on in Sincelejo so the missionaries there couldn't really work so President decided that it would be better if we did something as a zone. 
With the meetings and the activity we had,  and because we have to travel an hour away(ish) to Sincelejo, we haven't been able to work a whole lot.
Oh also this week i split my pinky toenail in half, hurt really bad.
That's about all i have but i will hit you with some pics in just a little bit and hopefully that will make you happier:)
Love you!
Elder Wadley
I caught him online and we had this little convo:
Do you realize you have two more Mondays?
mom stop haha i know how much time i have left but i dont like people reminding me:) crazy though!
Can't stop. Won't stop.
Did you just miley cyrus me??
I also gave him a little crap about the hat that he is wearing in all of these pictures and who in the heck approved this hat? He looks like a 87 year old lady! I guess he hurried and bought it when they went out to the base. Maybe it was all they had? I dunno. It's pretty special.
Elder Flores, Elder Wadley, The Hat, Elder Canavese.
Two hats! One of the other Elders looks dorky too!

A little blurry, but USA!
His horrible split toe.
His whole zone.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Baptisms on the Colombian Coast

I think I have kind of checked out on this blog. Maybe this is how missionary moms get "trunky." Our e-mails get shorter and more boring than normal, because we know the light at the end of the tunnel is getting closer. I have also been nesting a little, like you do your last month of pregnancy- getting his room ready, and preparing for his homecoming.

My heart is heavy too, for him. For him leaving the people he has grown to love so much. They say this separation is more painful to missionaries than the one two years prior when they left home. Because in the back of their heads they know that they will be returning home one day. Elder Jayden will never again return to the people of Colombia. Maybe for visits, but not set apart as a missionary, with all the rights and privileges that come with that call.

As he has been winding down his last few weeks as a missionary, he has been working hard.
This past week they had three baptisms!

I asked him a little about what he wanted by way of food for his homecoming. I told him I would have brownies for sure (they are his favorite, and he has missed them!)

Here is his e-mail this week:
Well honestly brownies yes! I feel like whatever will be fine though i think i am just going to get sick either way from the change of food so i guess it doesnt really matter what it is! Also 1`oclock church is going to be weird as well..... every church building here always starts at 9. Well i guess like dad always says "change is always good," but i dont know if i am quite ready...
Well this week was good and bad. I have been a little off this week. I guess i have been stressed and sad i guess you could say. Even though maybe i have not been up to par God still has taken care of me and given me a lot to be thankful for.
We also had three baptisms this week. two in our area and one in the other area. It was cool because we got to baptize them in a pool. It was a really cool experience and i was able to feel the spirit really strong even though we weren't in a church building for the baptism.
Honestly that was about it for this week pruebas, paciencia, y bendiciones.
(tests, patience and blessings)
Love you!
Elder Wadley
Our baptisms were: Jairo and the kid is Diego (i baptized him) and the other girl is from the other area her name is Maybelin ( i think is how you spell it!)

Side note: The day after Christmas, Elder Wadley transferred back up to the coast of Colombia. It was a long (12 hour) bus ride, and the coast is where he started his mission. It is super hot there, the missionaries are allowed to wear hats and sunglasses. His area is called Sahagún.

These baptisms took place in a local swimming pool.

This last picture he sent will always be one of my favorite mission pictures of my boys. One I will keep forever. He looks so good in his whites, and he looks so happy- a fullness of joy.
He also looks more filled out, and more mature and just different- and all those things tug at a mama's heart.
To notice the things you have missed by being apart for two years, balanced by the changes he could only have made by separating himself from you.
23 days.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Feliz Navidad, 2016

Internet connection from Colombia has never been really great- but it is always so good to see even a glimpse of Elder Jayden's face, and hear his voice- that is is hard to complain.
Technology is awesome, isn't it?
I also wonder sometimes if Satan is running the internet.
It seems like the times when the internet was the worst, were times that Elder Wadley was bearing his testimony (in Spanish) or where we were trying to have a Skype family prayer.
When we were joking around and being silly, connection= clear as a bell.
Something slightly sacred= choppy and crappy. (Looked like Max Headroom, throwback from the 80's.)
My favorite part of the week of Christmas was that Valeria went home for the holidays- and my Snapchat was a constant stream of sneaky Elder Wadley pictures!
Snapchat screen shots from Valeria.
These were from a party- where Elder Jayden was dressed as a carrot for some reason.
Quite an exciting week on social media for me!
Elder Wadley and Elder Brendan timed their Christmas call to be on Skype with the family together. We had a split screen with both of our Elders.
We talked with them, they talked with each other.
We invited a couple of Elder Jayden's friends over who have recently returned home from their own two years of mission service.
It's a thing for these return missionaries to grow beards. Just because they can.
It was so nice to see my boys! And to know that next time I see Elder Jayden I will be able to give him a big fat hug felt pretty good.
I got a surprise e-mail from him the following day. Christmas was Sunday, and normally p-day is on Monday, so I wasn't sure if I would hear from him again the very next day.
It was a surprise to hear his e-mail chime in!
Here is what he wrote:
Well hey i will just hit you with a quick one!
I had the longest travel day ever haha almost 12 hours on a bus! I am super tired! 
I was the only one that was going to Sincelejo so i traveled alone haha but since i am sending you this email it means i got here in one piece and that i am alright! I am with my new comp and he is a really good guy, Elder Robles. He is a convert as of three years ago and is really cool! So far everything is going good! I am hot but the good thing is that the area seems cool and the house is decent. Sahagún has a weird natural smell to it.
It was really good to see you guys yesterday!! Love you!!
Elder Wadley is going to "die" in this area on the coast.
Missionaries have their own little weird language.
To "die" in a place, means that it is your last area, where you finish your mission and go home.
The coast is hot and humid, and pretty much the exact opposite of what he will be coming home to.
We are currently at a bone-aching 20 degrees here at home.
Speaking of dying- I bought an extra blanket for his bed.
It's electric.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Dealing With Stress

I have had a more stressful than normal week. In my local church (ward) they called me to the the president of the young women organization. This puts me in charge of 30 girls 12-18, and in charge of staffing positions to run the organization. I have jumped in with both feet, learning the program, and getting things organized. This on top of the regular holiday season. When things are new, it takes some time to get a routine down, and I am not the most patient of people.
I wrote a little to my missionary boys this week, about the stress of the changes I was going through. Here are Elder Jayden's words:
Well mom i will let you know that my week has not been very interesting. We have seen some progress in the area which is good but nothing phenomenal. But still i am pretty happy for what we have! 
Well i don't really have any stories or any pictures either, i have honestly been kinda out of it in that aspect. I will try and get some for next week though! 
I am glad to hear that the calling is going good! Sorry about the stress it is a killer! I remember when i got to the office there was so much i had to do and i got super stressed as well and i developed an eye twitch. and it wouldn't go away for the longest time! No worries though once you get the hang of it all will be good and you will be almost stress free!
Trust in the Lord! 
That's about all i have for this week! 
We started English classes again this week! So far nobody really comes but it will get there! 
Love you! Merry Christmas! 
Elder Wadley
I wonder, when did he get so wise?
A little reminder to focus on being grateful, to be patient, and things will work out if I lean on the Lord.
And I am happy to report that I haven't developed an eye twitch.
This boy is Skyping home for his last time on Christmas day.
It is all that a missionary mom wants for Christmas, all other gifts pale in comparison to seeing the far-away face that they have missed so bad and hearing their (Spanish-accented) voice.
Valeria went home for Christmas, and took some gifts in her bag for Elder Wadley. I was able to send him homemade fudge, and he requested an American football.
He is home for good in 49 days. :)

Friday, December 16, 2016

Unexpected Convert

This week has been a crazy one for me, and it is almost missionary Monday, again.
Slow posting on my part, apologies.
Here is the update from Colombia:
Well this week we are still trying to find new people to teach and not really having a whole lot of luck! We have had some weird and good people answer their doors and whatnot but when we go back they aren't home.
For example we knocked on one house and started to talk to this girl that answered the door, she was maybe 17ish. She had talked to the missionaries before at a friends house but then lost contact with that friend and the missionaries. We started talking to her a little more and she was apparently only at that place for a group photo and they were taking pictures. She ended up telling us that she wasn't interested and that her friends there weren't either because they were all trannys and homosexuals. It was kinda awkward but i mean thats just the kinda stuff you get knocking on doors in Colombia.
Other than that we haven't been doing much else. It has been contacting and walking basically. Nothing really interesting. 
I did finally get my hands on a conference magazine and have been reading it! It is really good! 
That's basically been our week hah! 
Here are some pictures of the dead pig trucks:)
Elder Wadley
I am not sure what is going on with the pigs. It looks like this guy is selling pig parts right out of the truck. Those are some huge pigs.

The work sounds a little frustrating for him right now. I have been praying for him to find some success in this area, so he can finish his mission feeling like he has made a difference, and leaving no regrets.
His time is getting limited, which is both exciting and heartbreaking. These are the same feelings I had when he left, but in reverse, if that makes sense.
When I think about his success- I think about all of the people he has taught the gospel to, and the people he has baptized. Usually this is what people ask about when a missionary returns.
I think anyone who has been involved in the work, as a missionary, or as someone who supports a missionary knows that this isn't all that the work is about.
First and foremost, real conversion comes to the missionary himself.
This is the true success.
I've watched my boy gain an unwavering testimony of Christ. I've watched him study the gospel, share it and teach it, and live it every day.
I have watched him develop a close relationship with his Father in Heaven, strengthen his faith, to deepen his prayers, and serve the people of Colombia with his whole heart.
Somewhere during the course of this, Elder Wadley converted himself, and another person.
His mother.
No one told me this would happen, but it did.

The past two years have changed me, more than I ever thought was possible.
So when I think of his success- I put myself on his list.
I get to thank him in person in 54 days.