5,719 miles

I’m torn.

Part of me wants to move to Hungary (or France or Russia or Wisconsin) where our entire family could serve as member missionaries

and the other part weeps because I can’t go to the airport tomorrow morning to give Stefan one last hug goodbye.

(stupid missionary rules) (why do they have to be so strict?) (grumble, grumble, grumble)

Yesterday we watched a church wide broadcast on missionary work.  Knowing Stefan was singing with the MTC Choir, we were glued to the computer screen, listening to the words, while praying the cameramen would pan to the choir seats. You should have heard the shout for joy when we spotted him (and I’ll admit to watching those ten seconds of footage over and over and over yesterday and this morning).

 photo ScreenShot2013-06-24at54120PM_zpsd30d47b2.png

The past two days I’ve received letters from missionaries in Stefan’s district at the MTC telling me how much they love him, the fun and inspiration he’s brought to their group. Both mentioned the way Ben and Stefan greet each other, the love between them (and I’ve read those two notes as many times as I’ve watched the 10 second footage– I imagine I’ll wear the paper to shreds during the next twenty-two months).

We’ve been spoiled. These past nine weeks in the MTC, Ben talked to Stefan at least every other day; we sent him packages in the morning and they arrived in the afternoon; several friends and neighbors reported glimpses and conversations.

But tomorrow he’s flying, quite literally, halfway across the world, eleven time zones away to a place no one I know has ever visited, you shouldn’t even bother mailing a package because it will never arrive and I’ve heard several reports of missionaries getting beat up by drunks, mugged in back alleys…

Stefan is strong. I know. And he’s so excited. He’s in love with the Russian language and can’t wait to meet the people. More so, he loves the Lord. One line from his letters reverberates in my head, “I’d stay up all night, fast all day, go anywhere HE asks me to.”

 photo EI3C7036copy_zpsb351b71f.jpg

I also know the people of Russia need the gospel. One of my favorite topics of conversation with my kids is “how the earth would be if everyone followed Christ.” Sometimes, I think we imagine an entirely Christian world as slow and boring and austere. Rather, our cities and plains and valleys would echo with joy. If we all truly followed Christ there would be no child abuse, no theft, no murder, no drug abuse, no pornography, no war, no hunger. Imagine the abundance of resources in the world if we no longer needed police and jails and nuclear weaponry? Every child would be fed and clothed, loved and educated.

And so, I wish I could do more to share the message myself. I’m serious about the desire to move to Hungary (though my boys argue for somewhere French speaking). If it weren’t for those annoying details like a job, food, housing…etc. we’d be out of here tomorrow.

I can’t go. But I’m sending my son.

 photo EI3C7130copy_zps2e5612c2.jpg

 photo IMG_6347-2copy.jpg

Hello Russia.

June 23, 2013
June 28, 2013



  1. Linn

    June 25, 2013

    “I can’t go. But I’m sending my son.”

    I’m absolutely sobbing here. Going myself would be easier, in my opinion. Sending your boy, so much harder.

    Stefan will be in our prayers.

  2. Tracy

    June 25, 2013

    Thinking about Stefan as he goes out on this incredible journey. xo

  3. jen

    June 25, 2013

    I’m reminded of Psalm 121:8 — “The Lord shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.” (All of Psalm 121 is quotable for this, actually.)

  4. Chocolate on my Cranium

    June 25, 2013

    You are seeing the fruits of your teaching! And so will the people of Russia. I love what Pres. Packer said in that meeting, “The greatest teaching done in the church is done by mothers.”

  5. Noémi Kereki

    June 25, 2013

    Oh, dear Michelle, this post is heart-melting and heartbreaking at the same time.
    Stefan is the most dedicated missionary I’ve ever heard of! He will be great! People over there need him so much.
    And Yekaterinburg is not so far from Hungary, we’ll see, maybe he will get packages one way or another!

    Thinking of you all!

  6. annie

    June 25, 2013

    Thinking of you today. Also, when my parents were in Moscow, I sent a Christmas package on October 1st, thinking surely it would have enough time to arrive. Then it finally arrived in April! Better late than never I guess. 🙂

  7. Julie

    June 26, 2013

    Prayers for Stefan–and for you.

  8. ellen

    June 26, 2013

    I was so happy to see missionaries in the SLC airport last night on my stop from Portland to Boston. Called to serve him…

  9. Tasha

    June 29, 2013

    These are the words that popped into my head at the end of your post: “God loved us, so He sent His Son.”

    Not that I’m comparing any of us to God, but sending a son is a significant sacrifice.

Comments are closed.