After 23 hours of driving back to Texas on Sunday, March 18th, we swung by the mailbox to get our pile o' mail. We told Jake he could do the honors. He carefully looked in and turned back to us and said very solemnly, "It's here." I didn't believe him and said, "No way, it's not." He looked at me seriously and said, "Yes.It.Is." And then, from the bottom of the pile, he very carefully pulled out the big, white envelope as proof.
We were SHOCKED!! I wish we had been there to get the mail ourselves so we would have known for certain when it came, but at the longest, if it arrived the day before, that would have been 13 days from start to finish. LESS than 2 weeks. All of a sudden this was becoming more and more real--and a lot faster than we expected!!
He wanted to coordinate with some friends who just moved to Hawaii over Christmas break so they could FaceTime when he opened it up. But we didn't want to wait too long. We decided the big moment would be the next day, Monday, March 19th at 8pm. (Good luck focusing at school, Jake!)
For Family Home Evening, before Jake opened his call, we listened to Elder Rasband's conference talk, "The Divine Call of a Missionary." In it, he describes the general process of how the sacred mission assignments are made.
Here are a couple of the friends who were eager to learn about Jake's call.
My friend asked me where I thought Jake might be going. I said I've always felt he'd go overseas and speak a foreign language. I think that will become important in laying the groundwork for other callings later in life as described in his Patriarchal blessing. Selfishly, I wanted him to go to another country so we could learn about a new land and culture and people that we wouldn't know any other way. But...we were also preparing ourselves for Utah or Idaho. :) Of the 14-16 missionaries serving from our stake, about 6 of them are in Utah! Being found worthy to serve a mission is the most important. Where he's assigned to labor is only secondary to the call to serve. And, we know from the experiences of others that a missionary could be reassigned to a different location for a myriad of reasons such as health, natural disasters, political unrest, visa delays, etc. just to name a few. You go where the Lord needs you. But--we also told Jake that if he goes stateside, then he'll get packages. Warm ones with goodies in them. :) So it's a win-win!!
Without any further ado--
Jake has been called to serve as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He has been assigned to labor in the HUNGARY/ROMANIA Mission where he will prepare to preach the gospel in the Hungarian Language! He reports to the Provo, UT Missionary Training Center (MTC) on Wed. July 11th. He was also informed that, "in addition to your calling to share the gospel, you will be assigned to serve in the Hungary Mission Region." We're not entirely sure what that means. We also noticed there was no map of his area included in the papers he received. So everyone was googling it and trying to find out more about this particular mission, which was funny to see.
That's Jared on the left, Jason Schubert (former bishopric member of our ward and Jake's home teaching companion) in the middle and Nate Roeth--2nd counselor in the Stake Presidency on the right.
We have since learned that the Hungary and Romania missions, which are currently separate, will be combined into one mission this July--hence no information. It will be interesting and exciting to see how this all unfolds! The current mission president and his wife have been serving since July of 2015, so Jake will have a new mission president when he arrives in September because those amazing couples serve for three years.
Jake's buddies who treated him to Bahama Bucks after the big reveal!
Several friends from Oregon told us that our former Stake President's daughter just opened her mission call on Saturday. She was assigned to labor in the Hungary/Romania mission--Hungarian speaking, reporting on July 11th--just like Jake!! So fun that, while they didn't know each other back then, they have both lived in the same stake/area (and went to church in the same building!) and will definitely get to know each other while in the same district at the MTC!
Earlier this morning, my friend texted to tell me that her nephew's best friend just opened HIS mission call on Sunday. He was called to labor in the Hungary/Romania Mission--speaking Romanian and reports on July 4th. What are the odds of that??
Jake is already trying to get his hands on a Hungarian/English dictionary. :) My friend, Erin Stokes, sent us an article from the Ensign (church magazine) that explained the history of missionary work in Hungary. It was fascinating! Reminded me a lot of the experiences that other missionaries had in the Book of Mormon. I find it no coincidence that Elder Russell M. Nelson, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, dedicated the area in Hungary for missionary work thirty years ago and is our current prophet whose signature is at the bottom of Jake's call.