Not All About Me

My last several blogs have focused on my experiences with thyroid cancer, but I realize life is not all about me. Stuff happens to the rest of the family too... 😉 However, I was just reviewing a blog post I wrote almost a year ago, and realized that some things have changed very little in the last year or so. 

Josh is still working concessions at the Mile High Flea Market on weekends. He enjoys the job and has impressed his managers with his responsibility.

School has begun for Josh and Peter. Josh is taking a class at Front Range Community College and Peter began his junior year of high school. Thankfully they are both able to attend classes in person this year!

Peter again got a part in the school's fall play. This one is called "Done to Death" and from what I understand is a spoof on murder mysteries. Peter was disappointed when last year's fall play was cancelled due to pandemic concerns, but we have high hopes that this year's production will be performed as planned.

I'm still teaching seminary, still at 6:30 am, but now five days a week rather than four. I have about 30 students in my class this year, all sophomores, and this year I get to teach in the chapel rather than the gym. Since the pandemic restrictions have eased a bit, we no longer have to wear masks so I can see my students' faces, which is wonderful! 

I mentioned that Steven was laid off in June. He actually found a new job within just a couple weeks. Because he had only stayed at his two former jobs for about six months each, this new company hired him on as a contract worker at first, so they could see if things were going to work out before putting him on salary. From the beginning, Steven has really seemed to enjoy working there. The people are friendly. They appreciate the things he can do. He has productive things to do. The job is only a few miles from home. While the original agreement was for a 90 day trial period, after just two months they decided they wanted to hire him full time, so he is on salary now and hopefully this job will last him many years into the future.

Hannah returned to Recife, Brazil and spent an entire month with Moroni and his family. She had a great time there and is counting the months until he will be able to come to the States and they can be married. (And no, they aren't *officially* engaged yet.) While there was a hiccup flying to Brazil due to the requirement to get a COVID test within 72 hours of her flight which delayed her departure by a few days, Hannah was able to return home from Brazil on September 10th without any cancelled flights or other drama. She and Steven left the following morning to drive her car to Rexburg, ID where she is attending BYU-I. Steven made sure she was settled in, and then flew home the next day.

On September 11th, I picked John up from the airport as he returned home from his mission in Florida. 

A year and a half ago, the pandemic hit and John and Hannah both came home from their missions in Brazil. Hannah was just a month from when her mission would end anyway, so she was released. John, just six months out, had been having some struggles and decided that he would take a year off to go to school before returning to finish his mission. In May, he was temporarily reassigned to the Florida, Jacksonville mission, and we sent him off to Florida on July 6th. The first couple weeks he seemed okay. He wrote emails and we would chat, but whenever we asked about the work he was doing, he wasn't able to talk about it. Then the emails stopped and we didn't hear from him for a few weeks, and finally we received a phone call from the stake president. John was struggling again and needed to come home. 

The day after John's return, Steven, John and I met with our stake president and talked about how John could transition to being a service missionary. We talked with the service mission leaders about the different options available and John chose which ones he would most like to do. It has taken a few weeks to set things up, but this week he began working on the temple grounds two days a week. When the Fort Collins temple opens again, he'll be able to serve in the baptistry there. He will also be able to work for the Church's global service center as soon as they can get things set up for him there. 

(Photo from 2017)

Service missions are different from proselyting missions in several ways. John can wear normal clothes and is allowed to read books, watch movies, and do normal things. He doesn't have specific bedtimes or get-up times. While he is officially a service missionary, he can't have a paying job, he can't attend school, and he can't date. He can choose what service opportunities he participates in - whether it is at the temple, at a food bank, an animal shelter, or whatever. He can still wear his name tag when he is at church or performing service. He has a companion (or two - he's in a threesome right now) but the companion is primarily just for companionship study, and they meet online each day. 

I'm glad that John is able to continue his service in a less stressful environment and that he'll have this opportunity to develop skills and serve in new ways for the next year and a half.

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