Saturday, December 29, 2007

December 29, 1977

Thirty years ago today I walked through the doors of a school called the Language Training Mission. It was a dream come true for my mother. I signed in at the registration desk and became a Mormon Missionary.

Some weeks earlier I had submitted paperwork to go on a mission and was delighted when I received my "call to serve" at the Bolivia, La Paz Mission. Every 19 year-old Mormon boy who puts in to go on a mission hopes that he will be sent to a foreign mission. I got my wish. I knew kinda where Bolivia was when I read my call but there was no way I could know the enormous impact that Bolivia would have on my life.

But first was two months at the "LTM". I had to learn Spanish and I had to memorize a series of lessons that were to be taught to prospective converts. I was in a class of 12 missionaries all headed to Bolivia, La Paz. The LTM is it's own small college campus with young men in suits and some young women in modest dresses all walking around speaking different languages and counting the days before they were to leave to their respective countries. There was even a pecking order of things about the place.

Now I had gone on my mission because of my mother but that's not to say that I wasn't taking it serious or I didn't understand the magnitude of doing "the Lord's work" for two years. But there were various reasons for going and even a few who felt they HAD too go. We had one of those in our class and he didn't last long once we got to Bolivia.

I was in it for the long haul. I was in it to go the distance. And that's what I did. I learned the lessons, I learned the language and I taught in Bolivia. I baptized converts and I would meet guys who I was sure that would be life long friends. One of my best missionary friends would even be the guy who introduced me to the girl who I would eventually marry. Now thirty years have passed and everybody has faded into memory only, except for one.

12/29/77 I started my mission and I would finish on 12/15/79

(to be continued)

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