Last week Eric Whitlock and I went to our mission reunion.
I guess now is a good time to let that cat out of the bag.
Yes, I met my sweet husband on my mission.
How awkward this is. To write a blog to a gaggle of future sister missionaries and admit that.
That’s another story for another day, but all I will say is that Eric Whitlock not only won my heart after the mission, but didn’t even try to pursue it until then.
But that’s not the point of this blog.
I am changing the subject because I’m feeling a little awkward.
Stop looking at me like that.
So we went to our mission reunion.
It was the happiest.
I didn’t get two feet in the door before I found myself wrapped in the arms of my trainer who is still to this day, the best missionary I have ever met.
We started chatting about life and this blog, oddly enough, when I felt a hand on my elbow.
It was my mission president.
I want to weep now thinking about how much I love that dear man.
As is typical, I would imagine, of most reunions, we gathered into the chapel to listen to the testimonies of our president and his dear wife.
I felt like a kid on Christmas.
I’m sure I looked the part too — eyes wide and mouth agape, I wanted to soak in every word the Gardners spoke.
“How I’ve missed you!” I thought.
They may never know how much they altered the fabric of my life.
As I listed to my president speak, all I could think of was heaven.
I sat next to the love of my life with my hand resting on his knee.
I was surrounded on every side by old, dear friends who had served their hearts out in a place called Montana.
We were united by love, friendship and the bonds of eternity.
And I couldn’t help but think of my Savior.
One day, He will come again, and I hope to experience a very similar thing.
To have my love by my side, surrounded in every direction with dearest friends and family.
Only this time, we will be addressed by our Savior, Jesus Christ.
“How I’ve missed you!” I will think.
I will soak up every word he says, and if I’m lucky enough, I’ll kiss His feet, bathing them with my tears.
He was the reason I went to Montana, after all.
Not because He sent me there, but because he led me there.
I was young when I first walked into a church that bore His name.
Only 5 when I took His sacrament for the first time.
Eight when I was baptized.
And from then on, I’ve stumbled and faltered as I’ve made slow and gradual steps back to Him.
He sent me on the scenic route.
Once to Rexburg, Idaho.
Then to Orlando, Florida.
I made a stop in California, then I was on to Billings, Montana.
Then eventually, he sent me back to Idaho.
With each marker, each step, each journey, I have found a piece of Him. And he’s helped me put together the pieces of me.
Each time, he’s taught me the power of love and the everlasting joy of missionary work.
I will forever be grateful to have walked those dusty roads of Montana.
But infinitely more grateful that He walked those dusty roads of Galilee. Even the one that led to a cross on the hill called Golgotha.
I love my Savior.
And I know you do too.
That’s why you embark in the service of God, to share his message in lands far and near.
That’s why any of us do.
That’s why I did.
And when I stand before Him again, after I’ve done my best, how I hope and pray he’ll share my sentiment.
“I’ve missed you too. Well done.”