Dear Family, Feb. 28, 2013
A letter dated Feb. 13, 2013 from Thomas S. Monson sat on our front porch probably for a day or two until Saturday February 16th. Federal Express delivered the mail by passing the postal service who was on alert to intercept any peculiar correspondence from - 47 south Temple, in Salt Lake City. (Thanks to Karol). We were spending the week with President and Sister Bruce and Karla Cook in Carlsbad California learning the intricacies of missionary work from the professionals. Incidentally they are wonderfully skilled and have grown immensely. Missionary work is amazing and vibrant. It requires your all and more….life goes forward one minute at a time. You can never plan what the next minute might bring.
Interestingly enough we had been whale watching on the preparation day, and we were able to see a good sized whale swimming off the coast of Dana’s Point north of Carlsbad. Dolphins were swimming in the wake of the ship and it was fun to watch and take pictures. The whale that looked like it could swallow a man,… upon a ship that probably would be vulnerable in a storm tossed sea would be a reminder of a type and shadow of events that would evolve later in the week.
Saturday still having not received a call, and being telephoned by the Area Seventy and learning of others who had received their call we began to become fidgety. I was content to wait until we arrived home, but was sure the call had been sent. Greg driving home from a play on Saturday night decided to drive by the homestead and see if per chance there was a letter in the mail box. To his gleeful and impetuous nature, rightly inherited from his mother, I’m not sure he didn’t ….right then and there open the letter. But he called California and in a frantic and rambling excitement told us to get on skype he was opening the letter. ‘ Brady bunch fashion’ families were awoken and directed to there ‘ google-hang out stations’. Bryan coming out of a deep sleep, Clayton with no sound and cue cards at appropriate moments, Kallee some where in Kansas?, Beckah in the Dark in Missouri, Kjersty and Chris in Provo and Rachelle and Cody scrambling from an Aggie Victory piled into Gregs’ abode with everyone stumbling around trying to get directions on the designated site .
The letter was opened and what we all knew was a possibility, became possible. A Call to the Democratic Republic of the Congo Kinshasa Mission. Everything from cheers, to moans, sighs and groans, from all,… shoulder slumping relief for knowing finally where we had been called. From behind me I heard “I am so sorry, and I will never complain about our mission home again”. From the screen, “we’re coming to see you!!!” “We’re going to Africa!!” “Bring me back an elephant!” “Holy Gorrilla, yah gonna live in a tree house?” “Where is the Congo?”
Karol at times makes fun of my imitating my mothers- parkinsonian, catatonic stare- glaring off into the unkown. She seemed to be doing, at the moment, her own transfixed imitation quite well. Later that night as we climbed into bed and the lights were turned out, I tried to draw her out of her semi- conscious condition into a state of coherence but she would have none of it. “Bryce, Don’t speak to me….don’t touch me, don’t preach to me, don’t look at me…… I need some time… to look at me!!!”
Well the next day the sun came up, and I must tell each of my children, although this hasn’t been the case with our grandchildren, but in our home…. Birth has not been the most physically glamorous day of your lives. Blame you mother and I, but, by and large, in our family... birth has been ugly!!!
It didn’t take long, but we fell deeply in love with each of you. Large noses, stubby noses, chunky chubby cheeks, scarcely any hair, distorted faces strangely bizarre we as new parents grew to admire and respect the differences. It wasn’t hours but minutes before we took pride in each birth, we cared and nutured each new thing we learned about you. The days that followed gave recognition to personality and given time for physical development…. each of you really became attractive, and not only to just ourselves, encouraged by others we entered some into baby contests and took continual pictures and fell in love with all,.. all that you are and would become.
Who could ever imagine what beautiful examples of the noble and elect would come from such a coarse and undercooked beginning. Now fully ‘pasteurized’,’ prepared’ “Cooked”, ….you are not only wonderful, but you have added such beautiful ingredients to our family mixture. I love the lord and his patience for letting us… “look at me”…. during times of birth as well as rebirth.
Seeing pictures of Tytan with his arm around Brie, Caden asking me for a grandfathers blessing prior to a spelling ‘B’ when his dad was out of town, Brandon writing a talk for me to give to the people of Kinshasa when I arrive there…it’s on “Forgiveness”…(two pages long), Cache and Molly making pocket calls to me at work on the cell phone, Ashden and Mayce promising me to take care of their mom and the new baby (Blade or Dora?) Jared singing -popeye style- “let your lower lights be burning…” ; and was it Krystal or Kinlee that thought Kinshasa to be somewhere between Lego Land and the Wild Kingdom. Kylie’s hugs, JC and Bradys loves, Kates and Mckennas’ smiles. Each of these portentous births have blossomed into an ownership that could never be separated from whom we are and what we are about. We love you and each of your spouses (and spouses to be). Your children are our children!!
We will love this new birth in our lives, it is a rebirth and it will grow exponentially to proffer us with beautiful brothers and sisters, communities and nations. Innumerable and sacred will be the blessings that await to befall us as we cradle, nuture and sustain opportunities that give us life!!
Remember the LORD loves you and so do we!! Your are all …so beautiful…to me…can’t you see…
Father and Mother