December 28, 2008

Mom's Christmas Phone Call

The Christmas Phone Call from missionaries is a Mormon tradition, as most of you know. The missionary gets the opportunity to phone his family at home and talk for a varying amount of time. Elder Jenks was allowed 60 minutes. As his family, we have, of course, been anxiously awaiting that moment. He was able to make his call on Christmas morning for us and Christmas evening for him. They make the call from an international pay phone located in some kind of an Internet cafe. The cost of such is call is surprisingly less than $3.00!
It was so comforting to hear his voice. There seemed to be so many things to learn from just it's sound; he is picking up an accent. Not just the missionary accent where they raise their voice at the end of each sentence as some sort of questioning procedure just to be sure you are listening and understanding. If you have not spent any time with a newly returned missionary, you will not understand what I am referring to. But aside from that, he is acquiring a mixture of a British and Indian accent in his own speech. That is to be expected, I am sure. But there was something else I heard in his voice; a maturity that reflected experience beyond what I might expect. A knowledge that there are things more important perhaps than the frivolous facts we were pressing him for. He seems to find his daily existence normal now; nothing of note worthiness to himself. He was very articulate in his answers to our questions and the observations that he was able to make about the people of India, their lives and culture. I was thrilled to hear him and judge for myself his state of happiness.
We found out some interesting things. Most of them of little importance, other than they are just that - interesting. There is one story he told that is haunting me still and moves me to deeper and more meaningful prayers in his behalf. It is a story that he was not able to relate within my hearing, so at this time, I am not going to pass it on. I will get his permission before doing so. I am assured now, as I have believed for a very long time, that we in the United States, the West, "Zion", are sheltered and protected from the very worst that exists in this world. The blessings that come from simply being one of those allowed to live in this country are innumerable and mostly invisible to us who have not ever been absent. As I try to imagine my baby boy encountering these things and the impact that they may have on his character and life, I am moved to tears and my heart aches for him. But I know that it can be for his own good. These experiences, taken and reflected on and viewed through the lens of the of the gospel, can make him a more charitable person. I hear that in his voice as he speaks of his daily activities and adventures.
I am glad for the Christmas Phone Call. I am happy for the maturity that I hear developing in him. I am grateful for the growth of his character that comes through with the sound of his voice. I will be waiting for May when he calls again. I hope that it is not too hard for either of us to wait that long. MM

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