Monday, June 27, 2011

A Missionary Birthday

Has it really been 20 years since the morning Jacob was born?  Where have the years gone?  Where is that little boy with the thick white hair and big green eyes?

He's all grown up and serving the Lord as a missionary in northern California!  And yesterday he celebrated his 20th birthday far away from us.  Of course we sent gifts (a WalMart card and a care package full of goodies), but it's hard for a mom to wonder from afar if someone else will make the day special for her child.

21 June 2011: Elder Jacob Carter and a view of Fairfield, California.
It seems I needn't have worried! In today's email from my son, he describes the wonderful birthday he enjoyed yesterday:
     "Thanks for the birthday wish!!! I truly had an awesome birthday. In the morning we went to a member's house for breakfast. We had eggs, sausage, pancakes, English muffins and strawberries. After that it was time for my gift. They gave me a cup with a whole bunch of candy in it. I thought that it was just an ordinary cup, but they asked me if I could read it and then I saw it. It said "Elder Carter Santa Rosa Mission." Then I finally opened the box you sent and out popped a lot of candy and cookies. I was in heaven, but I don't know how I'm going to eat it all. After that we went to church and I got sung to at Primary. Then we went to a member's house for dessert, which was flan."

26 June 2011: The previously mentioned birthday mug.
Wow! The members really came through for his big day! I'm so thrilled that he is so happy to be where he is, doing what he is doing.
18 May 2011: Jacob's companion, Elder Edwards.

Jacob went on to describe an exciting event from this past week. In fact, he was so excited and trying to write it so fast that in places he's not as detailed and clear as I'd like, but I'm sure you'll get catch the enthusiasm he's feeling just as I did:

     "This week has definitely been the best week ever. Me and my companion get along really well, and we found a solid investigator named Romy. He is from the Philippines. So the story is, we were walking down the road and we saw this guy taking out his trash and we decided to talk to him, but he kept on saying that he was busy. But we kept talking to him through the week and he started to open up a lot more. Then it went into the baptism invite because he was so solid. He wants to be a missionary just like us. He said he would get baptized, but he's going back to the Philippines on July 8th. So we were freaking out because he needed to be baptized right then, but it is a rule that they have to be at church more than one time. So we were praying so hard that night and that day that he would find work and that he would change his moving date. By the time that we had an appointment with him, he was working in the back to make some money, and that was from the power of prayer and he recognized it. Then we met with him later that night and he was able to change his moving date to July 15th so he can get baptized. You don't know how pleased I am!"

21 June 2011: Elder Carter (in the back) with two other elders.

In his email to Dylan, Jacob said of Fairfield, "this area is exploding and I hope it continues." He's so happy to finally see his hard work coming to fruition.

Speaking of Jacob's birthday, it turned out to be quite a missionary-related day for us, too! First of all, we had two missionaries give their farewell talks in our ward that morning. Monte Prestwich, oldest child of our friends Eugene and Wyndie, reports to the Mission Training Center on July 6th. He'll be serving in the Salt Lake City South Mission. Colten Richards is reporting to the MTC this week. He'll be serving in the Louisiana Baton Rouge Mission, Spanish-speaking.

26 June 2011: My nephew, Elder Marcus Butler, with his parents,
my brother Jeff and his wife Dana.

After church we hurried home to grab some lunch and then we headed to Show Low to attend church at my brother's ward to see my nephew Marcus give his farewell talk. His younger siblings Elsie and Burke also spoke during the meeting. Marcus reports to the MTC on July 6th, the same day as Monte. He will be serving in the Argentina Resistencia Mission!

Several of Jacob's long-time friends are on the same path. His good friend Bryn Cochenour left last month to serve in the Washington Seattle Mission. Soon his friend Beau Gardner (our former bishop's son) will report to serve in the Hawaii Honolulu Mission. We are so proud of all these young men, choosing to give up two years of their lives to serve their Heavenly Father.

26 June 2011: My niece Ashley and her sons Gage and Garrett.
Another highlight of the day was getting to spend some time with my niece Ashley, Jeff and Dana's oldest daughter. Several months ago she and her husband Matt left our fair mountain to live in Texas, where Matt was hired to work as a fireman. She came back to visit for Marcus's farewell, but she returns to Texas in a few days. (By the way, she's expecting their third child and--pssst!  It's a girl this time!)  We sure miss having them nearby!
So, all in all, the day of Jacob's birthday turned out to be a celebration for many people! Happy 20th birthday, my son!

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