This morning marks the official first day of Zach's mission. We will drop him off at the Missionary Training Center (MTC) where he will begin his missionary training. The MTC is set up similar to a college campus with dorms, cafeterias and everything necessary to prepare missionaries for their service around the world. He will study with other missionaries, attend Spanish language classes (so much for all that French in high school!) and learn from the instructors about what to expect during mission life, many of whom are returned missionaries themselves.
In the good ole days, parents parked and walked their missionary into the MTC for a brief church service and farewell, with the chance to say goodbyes. With the on-set of the flu epidemic several years ago, the procedure was changed and now missionaries are dropped off curbside, after a few minutes to say good bye. Many we have talked to here who have dropped off Missionaries under both the old and new systems, prefer the new.
We've prepared, we've prayed (and I've shed a few tears already) and think we are as ready, and Zach is as ready as he can be. After a visit to the Provo Temple later on this morning, our Missionary will report to begin his labors. Mom and I have filled his suitcases with stamps and postcards, and his Uncle Ken and Aunt Patty made sure he had a supply of paper and envelopes. There's no excuse for not writing!
Today also marks the change over for this blog. It will no longer be a travelog of our adventures in Utah pre-mission. Once Zach reports, his mind, energies and efforts will be on his mission. As he writes and emails us, I will share his thoughts with you here.
A father's parting advice to his Mission-bound son: Know the people. Serve the people. Love the people!
Vaya con Dios a mi hijo. Te amamos y sabemos que va a hacer bien!