[Yes, I’m going to bury the lede here. Sue me.]
Tomas got his mission call this morning, quite out of the blue. Well, not entirely out of the blue, of course. This is something he’s been working on for months, if not years. Putting in your mission application involves multiple interviews with church leaders, doctor visits, and dentist visits, not to mention the big question of “do I really want to do this?” Missions are a two year commitment. You don’t get to say where you go, or when. They’re largely an act of faith. You trust God will send you to the place where you can do the most good.
Tomas put his papers in last week. Typically we understood that it takes about 2-3 weeks to get the call, and that when it comes, it comes on a Wednesday. This morning at 11:00am, he got the email that his call had arrived. Many people do livestreams of themselves opening their call these days. Tomas had told us ahead of time he wasn’t interested in that. We’d already decided he’d open it up when he wanted, whether or not Denisa and I were there.
Heading into this, all three of us really wanted him to go to Slovakia, though it was sort of an unspoken rule in the house not to say that out loud. Denisa’s from there, obviously. All her family is still there. We’ve gone multiple times over the years. Denisa’s worked to make sure to teach him Slovak since he was born. It made a whole lot of sense for him to go there, and if he did, he’d have two years living in a culture that’s always been somewhat removed from him, even though it’s half his heritage. He’d come back really fluent in Slovak, with a much better understanding of what it’s like to be there. I served in Germany, and I still feel a strong connection to the country more than 20 years later.
But . . . just because something seems obvious when it comes to a mission doesn’t mean that it is. One of Denisa’s Czech friends had two sons serve: one to Poland, and one to . . . Brazil. Or he could just as easily be called somewhere stateside. St. Louis. Tampa. There are 404 church missions out there. Only 1 of them speaks Slovak. And so I was steeling myself to give Tomas the “it’s okay, all missions are wonderful” talk. This reminded me a lot of when I was finding out where I was going to go on my mission. I really wanted to go German speaking, and I worried that just wasn’t going to happen.
So when Tomas texted to say he got his call and had opened it, I was quite nervous.
Where’s he going? Czech Prague Mission. Slovak speaking!
And there was much rejoicing.
He’s scheduled to leave on September 19th, which was a bit of a surprise. He’d put July 5th as his availability date, with the thought of coming home before BYU’s fall semester starts in 2024. This means he’ll likely miss that semester, but no worries. It’ll work out. The good news is this means we’ll also be able to fit in one last European vacation before he goes. (Which means I need to start planning that yesterday.)
But for now, a hearty congrats to Tomas. T-minus 5 months and counting . . .
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