Thursday, March 19, 2009

Flash Back Friday: The Mission (Part 2) & EFY



During the last summer of Randal's mission (it was actually winter in Brazil), I spent 6 weeks in California as an EFY counselor.  Besides housewife and mom, EFY counselor is seriously the best job in the world!  During that time, we didn't really exchange any letters because I didn't have a permanent address, so we emailed each other every week.  On Wednesdays, if I remember correctly.  Randal's emails were always so funny.  He loved what he was doing as a missionary, but he would flirt and put these little one-liners in his emails talking about marriage and ...  stuff.  This one was actually from a couple of weeks before I left for EFY, but it's pretty representative of Randal's personality:
I have only about 4 months left.  That's crazy!  I don't have any idea of what I'll do.  I have mixed feelings about going/coming home.  It is unbeatable to be able to preach the Gospel as an ordained minister of the Restored Gospel.  Testifying of Jesus Christ and prophets and baptizing and changing lives.

On the other hand, it is unbeatable, as I remember to hold a girl's hand and snowboard and go to the temple every week and talk to girls on the phone and go on dates and dance, etc.  I get nervous just thinking about it...

Teu coracao bate um pouco mais rapido quando recebe a minha carta atraves doe correios? {Babel Fish Translation to English: "Your heart beats a little faster when it receives my letter through the post offices?"}
Last time, I told you all about how I would make the commute home and back to work during lunch, if I knew I had a received a letter.  Well, don't think that I was the only one:
Monday I received your tape and letter.  I was pretty happy.  Actually, I called and cancelled lunch and we went to the area of the other Elders because they had grabbed our letters.  We didn't need to do this, but Elder Lau said that I got a tape and so the decision was made.
And here are some examples of the kinds of things he would write to make sure that I didn't forget about him while I was in California - this one is actually really special, because he made it rhyme.
My companion's fine and doing well
In California, you'll do just swell.

I am such a big dork.
Here in Brazil, we eat a lot of pork.

Forget me not, say I unto you
Especially for a California surfer who surfs the "Big Blue"
Well, I didn't "hook up" with any California guys while I was there, but I did make so many wonderful friendships with people who I am still in touch with today (thank you Facebook).  One night, me and two other girls were up late working on end of the week notes for our girls and I had been talking about "Randy" and all the tapes and letters and emails we had been exchanging and the girls wanted to hear more.  So, I went and got my boombox and one of Randy's tapes and put it on for them.  There were so many nights during those six weeks that I listened to those tapes over and over again.  In fact, if I had trouble sleeping, I would put on one of his tapes - not because they were boring, but because his voice was so soothing to me.  It still is.  In fact, if we are up late in bed talking, and he uses just the right tone, it can totally put me out.  I really love my husband's voice.  But back to the story.

So I was in California, having the time of my life, and Randal was in Brazil dealing with some tough things.  One week, a man attacked him - he wasn't hurt physically, but having someone right up in your face, accusing you of some horrible lies can be just as hurtful and draining as being sucker punched.  He always made sure to write to me every week though.  One Wednesday he missed because of some of those tough situations, but he sort of kind of broke the rules a teeny tiny bit and wrote to me on Saturday.  Which was good because I was kind of worried.  What I loved the most though, was that he always threw in some little flirty comments that made me smile and like him just that much more.
So, how is EFY going?  Are you having fun?  Are you learning a lot?  Are you making sure to stay far away from those vulturous guys who are working there also?...

I dreamed about you several times (we were married).  Prophetical?...

I will be sending you out a tape so that when you get home, you'll have a tape.  You haven't gotten yourself engaged yet, have you?...  I am looking forward to getting home and going on a date with you. ...
The awkward words and grammar crack me.  Remember, he was speaking Portuguese full-time, as he had a companion who was Brazilian.

I say that these little one-liners were cute and endearing, which they were, but they also freaked me out.  Big time.  The following is from my journal.  (And by the way all the "..."s are actually written in the journal, I'm not leaving stuff out.  I just overused that particular punctuation.)
I am getting scared for him (Randal) coming home...  It really freaks me out.  I don't think I'm going to go to the airport.  I think he needs to focus on his family.  He can call me later or something...  I'll go to his homecoming - I'll even bring my family... but I just don't want to expect anything and I don't want him to either.  

While we're on the subject...  Marriage scares me.  Don't take that the wrong way - I guess what I should say is that getting married scares me...  I {heart} marriage - I know how important it is and I just want to do it right and I want whoever I marry to know how important and sacred it all is.
In September, I started at ASU.  Finally, after nearly 5 years taking many different classes and changing my mind about majors about half a dozen times, I knew what I wanted to study and major in.  Religious studies, specifically Jewish studies, was my poison of choice.  I LOVED it!  Before I started school, I asked my father for a special blessing to give me strength and comfort as I started this new school year.  It was a beautiful blessing.  I wrote down what I could remember from it in my journal.  One of the very last things I wrote down was a bit confusing to me though.  I wrote down that I would understand Heavenly Father's plan more and that I would help bring my family to the Church and be an example.  Which was interesting, because all of my family went to my church.  Cousins, aunts, uncles, even my new brother-in-law's family were all church going people. 

That September, I also wrote this in my journal:
Grandaddy thinks I'm on the right track and that I'm doing well.  What a compliment.
So the summer and that first month of fall left me on a high.

Enter October.  My cousin was getting married to a girl I really loved and adored.  We were all in the single's ward together and she was going through the temple for the first time.  Right before I left, I got an email from Randy.  His father had passed away and he was just two weeks from coming home.  He asked me to check in on them and see if they needed anything.  I'm going to be honest with you, the prospect of checking in on a family that I had never met or talked to, during such an emotional and hard time really freaked me out.  But I did.  Turns out, the ward that his mom lived in (none of his family actually being members of his church), had taken care of everything.  I did bring by some flowers though and met his mom and youngest sister, who was only 6 at the time.  I made one of my former roommates, Jacque, come with me.  I don't think she'll ever forget that experience.  It was...  well, let's just say, "It was."  Randal made the decision to finish out the last few weeks of his mission rather than come home early.  And so he did.  The last email I got from Brazil was on October 16th.   He arrived at Sky Harbor Airport in Phoenix, AZ on the morning of Wednesday, October 23, 2002.

1 comment:

Kristina P. said...

I always wanted to be an EFI counselor. It sounded so much fun!