My son was called to serve in the Washington DC, south mission. He was the third member of my family to serve a mission and we were excited for him. He had always wanted to serve and he was excited that it was his time to go. We had some medical concerns but the doctors and the missionary department had cleared him. He was spiritually more prepared than any young man that I knew and we felt he would bless many people in the field and that he would be blessed.
After Jason had been in the mtc about a week we received a call from the MTC president saying that Jason was struggling. We discussed it with the leaders and were able to talk to Jason a couple of times over the next couple of weeks. We fasted, we prayed, we went to the temple and asked for the Lord’s help but there seemed to be no relief for Jason. The counselor and the president of the MTC decided that Jason, on his own would never give up and that his mental health was too fragile for him to stay and they called and told us that they were sending him home and that we needed to pick him up.
That was the beginning of the some of the most trying weeks of my life. To see my son suffer with such anguish was more than I could almost bear. I wondered why God had deserted him and why our prayers were not answered. The love I felt for Jason was overwhelming as was my confusion. I asked myself why would the Lord not bless such a worthy, faithful, prepared young man. I knew God had the power, I knew God was aware of us but I wondered where the help was. The next few weeks were so difficult but we searched the scriptures and came to see how many times God lets His people go through really hard times. The prophets especially were cast into prisons, and left to wander alone. I knew that God teaches us through trials but I had never had to walk through a time that was so dark. As we prayed and searched the scriptures I came to feel of God’s love and also that this was God’s will. I came to understand that this was Jason’s trial. I believe all missionaries have trials on their mission that is one reason they grow so much in two years. I don’t totally understand why yet, but I have come to understand that this was Jason’s trial. I understood that God was aware of him and that Jason was learning what God needed him to learn through the things that he suffered.
I still worry about Jason. His priesthood leaders have been very supportive. Jason serves and continues to serve at the conference center. His life will never be the same. I continue to pray that the Lord will bless him and make up the difference. Jason continues to go forward with faith sometimes still walking in the dark. I worry about the culture of the church and wonder if his early return will shadow him his whole life. I know that God’s ways are not our ways and I have faith that God will make up the difference. He continues to bless us and strengthen us along this path that we are called to walk.
I don’t really know what to tell other parents…. Have faith, draw near unto the Lord and He will draw near unto you. Love your children and don’t worry about what others think. Love, Love, Love your children.
What do I wish??? I wish that we didn’t have to go through this. I wish that the MTC would not have been so cold when they decided Jason needed to come home. I wish that there were more options for young men like Jason. He has so much to offer and so much to give. But wishing doesn’t matter. I do trust in the Lord with all my heart and believe that all this will work together for our good and Jason’s good. We are here to learn and to grow. That means we have to do hard things.