This week is the mark in which Austin will be home from his mission in 4 MONTHS! I can't believe it. I remember when he was just barely out for 4 months. Time went quickly, yet it seems like forever since I saw him last. I am getting ready to have him home. I miss just being able to pick up the phone and talk to him. Christmas and Mother's Day are great times because we get to talk to him on the phone for 40 minutes, but I am ready for more. The rest of our correspondence is through email. I am so grateful my son is a good writer and sends long, detailed letters!
Austin's mission has been a blessing for both him and us, the family left behind. Austin has had better health over the last two years than he has had most of his life. I know it is because the Lord is blessing Austin because he is willing to work 7 days a week, all day long for Him. Austin has sacrificed so much for what he believes and I know that Heavenly Father is blessing him for his commitment to Him. I am a little worried what will happen once he comes home. I love these extra blessings!
As a family, we have been blessed too. We pay $400 a month to have Austin on his mission. This pays for his living expenses. Can I tell you that we have been blessed more than $400 a month. Jay's business has grown and things have worked out in various situations that I know have come from Austin's willingness to serve his Heavenly Father.
Besides those blessings, Austin has learned to become a leader. He has learned to be even more obedient. He has learned sacrifice and service. He has learned to love those of other cultures, backgrounds, lifestyles and beliefs. Below is a picture of the Garcia family. Austin baptized them and he loves this family so much. It is wonderful to see your child love unconditionally.
Austin was recently transferred from Oakland to Richmond. He is homesick for Oakland, more so than home. He said that in his last letter. I was so happy to hear that! It means he loves what he is doing. He said he is going to miss all the people he helped and worked with. He is looking forward to his time in Richmond and wants these last months to be the best, but he has a longing for his last area.
I am so grateful that he has had such an eye-opening experience. He has worked with drug addicts, homeless people, prostitutes, former convicts, the poor, the sick, the needy and he loves them all. What a great life lesson. He has also learned to live with another person 24/7 as missionaries can't be alone. Some companions have been hard and some incredibly enjoyable, but he has loved everyone and learned from every one. He has had companions from Spain, from Ireland, from New Zealand, from Utah, and from Argentina. He has learned to cook, clean and wash his clothes. It was a big lesson when he turned all his shirts pink!
Here are Austin and his last companion having some down time. The get a break from working on Monday from 6 am to 5 pm and an hour for lunch.
Austin has turned into a man. A good, good man. Every week when I get his letters I cry. I am so grateful he is happy and I am so thrilled about what he is sharing. For us, our religion comes first in our lives. Everything we do is based on our beliefs. Are we perfectly doing everything we should? No. But we are trying. We try to be good. We try to do all that is asked of us. As parents, to see your child embrace Heavenly Father on his own and have his own testimony is an amazing thing. I am grateful each day that Austin is living his life in the service of his God.
Recently, I have started picturing in my mind , what the airport will be like when I see him for the first time. I can't wait to hug him and hold his hand. I can't wait to smell his skin and hear his voice. I can't wait to hear, first hand, his experiences and to hear his testimony and love for our Heavenly Father and His son Jesus Christ. I can't wait to get to know the man that was once my little boy. I love him. I am glad he is mine.