For some that may not sound like any great feat but for those who truly know Emily, will understand and realize just what a gigantic accomplishment that was for her today. She did not let her fears control her. She took that huge leap of faith and trusted in her Heavenly Father to get her through this. As a mother, I could not have been more proud of her.
Let me back up just a little bit and let you know about our day. When it came time to leave this morning, Emily was actually doing amazingly well. She had watched one of the required missionary videos on the internet while she finished her last minute packing. After Frank offered a family prayer, Emily looked at me and said "let's go!" I said, "let's go! She hugged her sister Rachel and brother-in-law Jackson good bye and headed out to the car. While walking to the car she realized she had not said goodbye to our dog Buddy. He is an old dog with bad kidneys and Emily has been told he will not be here when she gets back so it was important to her that she said goodbye. That was a sad goodbye but she did it and we were on our way.
The MTC is about a 3 1/2 drive for us. Of course since Emily was now a set apart missionary, we knew we could not listen to the radio on the way to Provo. Earlier that morning while looking for some Mormon Tabernacle Choir music on cassette and unable to find any, I came across an old cassette tape that Emily's Aunt Amy had sent our family when she was on her mission back in 1995. We have a whole collection of tapes from both of Emily's aunts who served missions 15 years ago and my kids would listen to them each night while falling asleep. These tapes are all in the basement now in a box and I am not sure why this particular tape was upstairs and out of place but I decided to grab it and take it with us.
It was the perfect tape for our car ride. Emily's Aunt Amy served on Salt Lake Temple Square and in this particular tape she bore her testimony several times and talked about her struggles as a missionary but how it was all worth it and how she loved the work. She talked about how wonderful it was having her sister Sarah serving at the same time but over in Japan. It was a wondeful 90 minute tape that I am sure helped Emily be even more determined to get through this day. (Thank you Amy and Sarah for being such wonderful examples for my children!)
During our ride and while listening to the tape, Emily was still working hard preparing to be the best missionary she could be. After writing a few thank you cards, she spent the remainder of the car ride marking her new scriptures.
Before going to the MTC we decided to park in the Provo Temple parking lot so we could say our goodbyes since you have very little time to say goodbye at the MTC dropoff. (This temple parking lot really is the pre-drop off spot as we saw several other families doing the same thing.) I won't lie, our goodbyes were very difficult and very tender, I was not sure Emily was ever going to let go of me. But after a few minutes, we wiped our tears and we were on our way.
As you can see by the pictures below, the MTC is an amazing place and they have quite the system for dropping of the missionaries. They have 25 different dropoff spots along the MTC and we were directed to spot "2" which I think was a blessing as we were close to the main entrance and a lot of exciting things were happening around us for Emily to see. I have never seen so many good looking young men in white shirts and ties wearing their missionary tags and a huge sticker that said "HOST".
When we opened our door, there were two missonaries waiting for Emily. They asked her what her name was and where she was from and where she was going. One of the missionaries was from Eagle, Idaho so that was fun for her. Her luggage was quickly retrieved from our van. Emily hugged her dad, hugged me, and then turned to the two missionaries and said "let's do this." One quick wave and she never looked back. Frank and I got in the car and then the sobbing began as I mentioned at the beginning of this posting. I was so, so proud of her!
And then tonight, just before I got ready to do this post, I received an amazing phone call. Apparently one of Emily's good friends from her work, Casandra, has an aunt who works in the MTC. Casandra and her family live here in Shelley and it was her mother who called me to let me know she had talked with her sister who works at the MTC. I guess she had called her sister earlier and told her Emily would be checking in today and might be scared and asked if she would watch for her. This sweet sister apparently found out about when Emily would be checking in and was watching for her. She went to where the missionaries where checking in and she saw this scared little girl who looked like she was about ready to bolt. Emily did not have her name tag on yet so she did not know for sure if it was Emily but really felt like it was so she went up to her and asked her if she was Sister Hawkins. Emily told her she was and was so excited when she found out it was Casandra's aunt. Apparently they hugged and took some pictures and then this aunt told her sister that she saw a calmness come over Emily and that she knew she was going to be okay.
How grateful I am for tender mercies of the Lord and that this sweet sister was able to find Emily when she needed to be found the most.
Thank you so much to those of you who have been praying for Emily, I know those prayers are being heard and answered. Please continue to remember her in your prayers.
Saying goodbye to Buddy!
Study and preparing right up to the end!
Approaching the MTC
Getting our directions!
We are spot number "2"
Grab the luggage!
Hug for dad!
Hug for mom!
Off I go!
Never looked back!