I'll never forget this day.
She'll never forget this day.
Her dreams coming true.
Early last month, our church announced that the age requirement for young women who would like to serve as full-time missionaries would be dropped from 21 years to 19 years. Serving a mission has always been something that Jane dreamed about, but never knew would be part of her life's plan.
Well, once she heard that announcement, her world would soon change. Her heart burned, this dream and desire confirmed, that yes, this was the right choice for her to dedicate and set aside 18 months of her young life to God and go wherever she would be called in this world to serve His children.
Her brother Gary's current missionary service in Finland has been an inspiration to Jane. They have always shared a close relationship and bond, and will be a great support to each other as they each labor in different parts of the world. I never dreamed that two of my children, these two, would be doing this at the same time. An idea that I'm still trying to wrap my brain around, but at the same time, beyond thrilling and a blessing to our family for which we are profoundly and eternally grateful.
So for the past month, she's/we've quietly (I haven't shared any of these doings here in this space) gone about visiting with her ecclesiastical leaders, getting paperwork completed, and doctor and dentist appointments scheduled. It's been a busy time, between her demanding college life and all the changes (Grandpa's death and my going back to school) these past few months have brought to our family life.
So yesterday, we found out that the special "call" or letter would be coming in the mail this morning. I went that afternoon to pick her up from school to bring her back home where she would stay the night and we'd wait eagerly for an early visit to the post office.
You can imagine that sleep didn't come easy. Like that night last December when Gary, too, was waiting on pins and needles for his own mission call. Think Christmas morning anticipation x10.
Last night, Jane made a little chart for us to all place our guesses for where in the world Jane would serve her mission.
(The one closest gets a prize, she said.)
So the moment we'd all been looking forward to, this pivoting, life changing moment for a girl who's now made the journey into womanhood, this moment that she'd dreamed and hoped for and worked for her entire life...
...it was finally here.
And then there was that hushed, sacred quiet while she silently read, and we looked on in wonder and anticipation.
All of us privileged onlookers, each holding our breath.
And then those tender tears began to spill.
"Dear Sister Jane Crofts,
You are hereby called to serve as a missionary of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. You are assigned to labor in the Taiwan Taipei Mission. It is anticipated that you will serve for a period of 18 months..."
You see, this was all part of her dream.
It all began when she met Xiaoyi way back in her Sophomore year in high school. She felt a special connection and bond with this new found friend which soon blossomed into a love affair with even more Chinese friends, the Chinese culture, and the Mandarin Chinese language. A language that she has now pursued as a major these last two years at university.
But when this past September came, Jane was faced with a painful realization that this language, one that always came so easy for her, was becoming more difficult and would continue to become so if she wasn't given an opportunity to learn it with native speakers. So she turned to God one night in frustration, pleading for help in knowing what course she should take; whether or not she should drop her class and if this whole idea of majoring in Chinese was an impossible dream.
After the missionary age change was announced, and after determining and deciding that a mission was right for her at this point in her life, she kept all these feelings in her heart, knowing, too, that God knew it, but at the same time coming to a place of willingness and peace that wherever she would be asked to go, she would go and serve with her whole heart.