Hannah, the mother of Samuel, and I have something in common. We know what it's like to fast and to pray and to plead with the Lord for a son. Her petition was granted when she gave birth to a child who would become a prophet in Israel. The Lord answered my prayers in the form of a mission call. Maybe my faith doesn't quite compare with Hannah's, but I believe I have faith enough.
Neil has had a desire to give back. Heavenly Father has put so many blessings into his life in the form of increased abilities, strengthened faith, healing, and inspired, loving people who've helped him along his road to recovery . Doesn't it make sense that he would want to show his love and thankfulness to the Lord through actions?
Early this year, we decided to help him pursue a Church mission. Since he is not currently able to serve a regular, proselytizing mission, we found another way he could possibly serve as a missionary. He eagerly participated in countless evaluations and interviews to see if he would be an appropriate candidate for a special service mission. His final paperwork was submitted last Monday. After making a circuitous route to get to us, we got the official word on Sunday that Neil has been called to the Family and Church History Headquarters Mission in Salt Lake City for two years. He is to report to his mission on July 6th.
My prayers have been for Neil and his ability to be the missionary that he wants to be, but I've also prayed for myself. Neil's been working toward independence for some time now. He can do his own laundry, prepare some of his meals, shop for groceries. He can keep his room clean, clean the bathroom, clean himself. I'm glad he'll have some supervision--a kind mission president and some senior couples who will keep an eye on him and the other young missionaries. He's ready to leave home, but am I ready for him to leave me? For three years we've been inseparable. Quite honestly, it will be hard for me to let go and put him in some one else's care for a while. I am willing to make that sacrifice. As Hannah said, long ago:
"For this child I prayed; and the Lord hath given me my petition which I asked of him:
Therefore also I have lent him to the Lord; as long as he liveth he shall be lent to the Lord."