Today (November 23, 2011), I got to spend a few precious minutes with my very wonderful, very tall grandson, Kyle Hudgins. He has been in the Missionary Training Center for almost two months, learning Spanish and preparing to serve the people of Neuquen, Argentina for two years.
I am currently going to the MTC three times a week to be tutored by Brother Blake Mason, a returned missionary who served in France and Switzerland. This is preparation for the two year mission to DR Congo which my husband, George, and I will serve beginning in February. Last week, I had emailed Kyle that I would come early for my lesson and try to be “in the vicinity” of the building where he has a 12:15 pm class. (Missionaries say goodbye to their family when they arrive at the MTC and do not receive visitors after that, but since I have a valid reason to be at the MTC, I hoped that we might increase the chances of a “chance meeting”.) Unfortunately, I got sick last Friday and had to cancel my class.
Two days ago, I tried again. Monday was a cold, wet and windy day. I arrived early and stayed outside waiting until 12:25 pm, only to finally give up and walk sadly to my class, cold and disappointed.
Today, I arrived early once more. When my watch told me that it was a moment or two past 12:15 pm and the traffic of elders and sister missionaries seemed to have stopped entering the building, I was sure I’d missed him yet again. It was a very sad feeling to know that Friday would be my last chance to see him before he left the MTC to fly to Argentina on Monday (Nov. 28) and to realize that any number of circumstances could thwart even that last opportunity.
Just as I was considering giving up, I heard a shout and looked up to see someone running toward me. It was Kyle. He had a grin from ear to ear and his face radiated with sheer delight. He was calling out to his companion, “There’s my Nana!” I got up quickly from the bench to go to him and he gave me the biggest hug ever! Neither one of us was holding back & neither of us was anxious to stop that hug. We both expressed the love that we have for each other. It was such an incredible blessing to see him and he expressed the same feeling. I know that Kyle loves me, but I also know that for that short time we had together, I was representing, in his mind, ALL the people he loves… his father and mother and his brother, Tyler… as well as his other grandparents, among many others. I told him that his mom and dad were going to be so excited to hear that we had the chance to meet. Knowing how much his family loves him, he understood and agreed.
He looked more mature, a bit slimmer (quite fit, trim and healthy)… and very, very happy!! He quickly introduced me to his companion, Elder Kimball, whom I asked to take our picture. Since they were on the verge of being late for class, he couldn’t linger long, but he hugged me again and expressed how extremely happy he was to have seen me; how much it meant to him; how happy he is that George & I will also soon be experiencing the blessings of a mission; how wonderful his own experiences in the MTC have been; and how anxious he is to begin actually serving as a missionary in Argentina.
We agreed that we can’t wait to exchange our very unique stories from Argentina and the DR Congo. Then we again spoke of our love for each other and had one last, very heartfelt hug and said goodbye. As we parted, I turned and said “Au revoir” and he laughed and answered, “Ciao”!
Kyle will be an outstanding missionary and will help many people learn about and accept the gospel of Jesus Christ. That knowledge will give them an understanding of The Plan of Salvation which our Heavenly Father established to prepare His children for eternal life. And the happiness that Kyle will see come into the lives of those people, as they commit to obey God’s commandments, will give him the deepest and most profound joy of his life. (jh)
Joan Girvin Smith (aka Nana) and Elder Hudgins