27 October 2014

The Call

Earlier today, a young man, dressed in his suit and wearing his badge identifying him as a missionary, strode through airport after airport as he made his way to his assigned field of labor in a not-so-distant country, but in a world totally new to him.

Of course, that young man is The Missionary formerly known as The Boy. He, along with 11 other missionaries, made their way this morning from behind the Zion Curtain to Mexico. All twelve are bound for the same mission - Tuxtla Gutierrez. Their group has made their way through three different airports today before they'll get to their fourth in Tuxtla. I'm sure it has made for a bit of an amusing site. I would have loved to been a fly on the wall to watch twelve sets of eyes get progressively wider with each new airport and change of planes.

We've been able to stay in touch with him today, thanks to a throw-away cell phone that we sent him. Because airport payphones. I mean think about it - A) are there even any left anymore and B) who needs whatever highly contagious disease lurks in those that remain? So a throw-away cell phone it was. To hear his voice for the first time in six weeks was an absolute joy. From his first call to his last today, he sounded happy. It was a thrill for me to hear his conversation peppered with Spanish, albeit heavily American accented, it was Spanish just the same. It was even better to hear his excitement. He was excited to start talking to people. He sat next to a couple from Spain during his first flight and was excited that he could understand them describing their vacation in Cancun in Spanish. Any trepidation that the stunningly patient and mighty fine SML and I may have had vanished with that first call. A calm, even a peace, enveloped us as we talked to him. I am so grateful for that comforting blessing.

Talking to him from Mexico City was even more fun. The reality of being in a new country sounded like it was setting in. I asked him how it was clearing Customs. I've cleared Customs more times than I care to count in Mexico City so I know what he would experience. He told me, in Spanish, how it went down. As the Customs agent began to pepper him with questions, The Missionary said he asked him, again in Spanish, if there was anyone who spoke English. The Customs guy apparently smiled and said, "Mihijo Usted ya esta en Mexico. Ya habla espanol." (Son, you're in Mexico now. Now you speak Spanish!) That ringing you hear in the background? Yeah, that's the reality check bell clanging loudly. He then mentioned that his group was the only group of white people anywhere. How's that for enlightenment? It's actually a young man realizing he' not in the proverbial "Kansas" anymore.

I can't believe how good it was to talk to him. I'm so grateful for how good he sounded. I'm even more grateful for the peace that his mother and I are feeling. We'll need that knowing that we won't speak to him again until Christmas. Wait...what? That's right. A missionary calls home twice a year - Mother's Day and Christmas. It allows for the missionary to focus on what he / she has been called to do and there's some growing up that happens too, as a result. It's probably worse for the parents. That being said, I'm excited to talk to him at Christmas. By that time, his American Spanish accent will be long gone. He'll have gone native at that point. It'll be the Battle of the Accents - my Cuban versus his Mexican. We'll see who takes it. I can't wait!

The Final Leg

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