you may have seen Mormon missionaries before. usually you see them in pairs. they dress in white shirts and ties. they wear name tags. they usually smile a lot.
we call them "Elders." these boys (girls serve as well, though we haven't really had any lady missionaries serving in our area) leave home in their late teens through early twenties for between 18 and 24 months. they give two years of their life to teach the gospel and offer valuable service to others.
Elders don't choose where they go on their missions. they pay their own way, too. they sacrifice all TV, non-church movies, and video games. they only use the internet once a week to communicate with family via email. they don't date at all for those two years.
their days consist of teaching lessons about Christ, studying the scriptures, praying, looking for those who are lost and searching, and showing Christlike love to the people around them.
Mondays are their personal days, for grocery shopping and playing sports, and things like that.
you may have noticed them in our pictures before. we love the Elders. they are really, very normal young men. they joke and laugh and tell great stories. and they bring a spirit of positivity and love into our home every time they come.
we feed them dinner as often as we can to help their tight budgets stretch and to offer them our support for their valiant sacrifice of so much during a time in life when folks are generally pretty self-absorbed.
we get pretty attached to these boys. sometimes we get so attached that we want to keep them.
we might just get to keep one of the young men pictured above. he recently finished his mission and returned home, but made immediate efforts to contact my darling sister Tamsin. after months of skyping and flying across the country to see one another they are quite in love. as of this last week they are finally living in the same town going to the same college. we'll see what happens.
if you ever see the Elders in your neighborhood, give them a high-five for me.