My Family

My Family

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Ye Elders of Israel...

The COOLEST thing EVER happened to me last night. First, a little background to help this make sense...

When my son, Grant, left on his mission in February of 2007, he asked me if I would help him keep track of some of his high school buddies. Most of these boys I'd never met before, but I knew they were important to him. So, I started a monthly newsletter that eventually included 28 missionaries. It was called Ye Elders of Israel. Each month, I'd contact their parents, or other family members, and ask for an update and some pictures. Then, I'd gather everything together and make a newsletter, listing the missionaries alphabetically, with 3-4 pages of pictures at the end. Sometimes, the parents would email their missionaries to ask for a submission for the next newsletter, but most of the time, the parents would just type one up themselves. Then, one or two of the families would mail the newsletters out - they each took turns so it wouldn't be such a financial burden on me. This went on for about a year and a half. I had a great time, and came to think of each of these boys as "my" missionaries. Instead of one missionary son, I had 28! I loved reading about their adventures, and seeing pictures of them. It was nice meeting their parents as well. In fact, we had a big "family" get-together several months after Grant left with as many families as could attend. One of the dads was a photographer, and he snapped a picture of all of us. We sent the pictures to our sons. As a gift for the missionaries, I asked for each of their testimonies in English and in the language they were speaking on their missions. I gathered them together, and with the help of my friend Carol Rice (at Cherish Bound), I made a beautiful little book, complete with all of their testimonies, and about 20 testimonies from the girls they went to school with. Using this book, they were able to share not only their own testimonies, but the testimonies of their friends - around the world. I even sent a copy of the book to President Thomas S. Monson, who sent me a letter of thanks. Cool, stuff, huh? I consider myself the lucky one here - I gained 27 sons, and had a great time.

Then, in August of last year, 8 months before Grant came home, I was diagnosed with breast cancer, and completed just two more newsletters... one for that whole summer, and one more by the end of the year. I've always felt that I dropped the ball in a really important game - I didn't finish what I started, and I wish I could have a do-over.

In November, the last one of these missionaries completed his mission and came home. And last night, much to my delighted surprise, my doorbell rang. Rick opened the door, and there stood several of "my" missionaries - or, rather, returned missionaries, some with wives and girlfriends. In disbelief, I walked to the door, and they broke out in song - "Ye Elders of Israel"! I stood there crying - you just can't imagine how wonderful it is to see all of them home safe and sound. Their voices were beautiful! We invited them in, and they presented me with a beautiful print of Christ, surrounded by children, and a book of notes that they wrote to me. Of course, I thanked them for the inspiration they have been to me. They sang another song - "We'll Bring the World His Truth" - the same song that my seminary students sang at Grant's baptism once upon a time. Then, I got a big hug from each one of them.

There is no way that anything better than that happened to anyone else last night!

Oh, and I promised Grant that I'd tell anyone who is reading this that he said "hi"!


Stephen and Debbie said...

What an awesome story! It is so cool that they all served at the same time. Sometimes in life you feel like no one even cares about what you do and they did! Such a great story! Hi to Grant also!

Cindy said...

It was fun knowing that you were being rushed out of our anniversary party for mom and dad for that surprise! I didn't know about it until you were out the door, and then I wished I hadn't held you up!

Kris said...

Wow. I'm bawling. What awesome friends. You deserve this Kara, you have such a huge heart and worked so hard to do this, even when you weren't feeling well. So pround to call you my sister. You are an Incredible woman! I'm glad the guys all appreciated you for this and showed it in such a wonderful way! Any mom would love to have been acknowledged like that! xoxoxoxo

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My Gorgeous Boys

My Gorgeous Boys