In October he was to report to the Brazil Missionary Training Center in Sau Paulo, Brazil. Just days before he was to leave for Brazil we learned that his visa had to be re-done because Brazil had changed their visa procedures. So instead of reporting to Brazil, Jordan was to report to the Missionary Training Center (MTC) in Provo, Utah.
I will say that it really was okay with me that he would remain in the states for a few more months. My heart wasn't quite ready to have him leave the country and, besides that, it made it much easier to send letters and packages. My concern was his Christmas package. Getting packages to Brazil can take a few months and timing a package to arrive in Provo in time for Christmas was much easier than timing it for Brazil! So I was good with him sticking around the states longer than planned.
Fast forward to December 11th... The word we had from Jordan was that he would most likely remain in the MTC until January 4th (which is two weeks longer than he was supposed to be there) and then, if the visas came he would go on to Brazil but if not, he would be sent some place stateside until the visa arrived. Again, I was good with that! We could get his Christmas box to him with the ties he requested (and an extra special University of Kentucky wildcats tie that as a missionary he can't wear but he needed a little UK memorabilia to boost his spirits with all the talk of BYU football at the MTC!) We also sent him Brazil nuts, (thought that was clever since he was headed there!) a pooping reindeer and other goodies for him to share with the other missionaries in his district. I sent the box priority mail on December 13th so it would get there in plenty of time for Christmas.
Fast forward 4 days (December 17th)....I went to pick up Abigail at the middle school because she had a pie order that came in and there was no way for her to bring the pies home on the bus. On my way home Annah, who had stayed at home, called my cell phone and said, "Mom! Jordan called!"
"What? Jordan called???"
"Yes!" she confirmed. "He said that he was leaving for Brazil next week!"
(A quick calculation in my head and I think he must have gotten his visa so he will leave on December 21st just as scheduled. Perfect! His box should arrive on the 18th so he will get his Christmas things just in time. I am feeling proud of the timing of sending out that package!)
I ask Annah, "So what day does he leave?"
Her little 10 year old voice on the other end of the phone says sweetly, "I don't know. I forgot to ask him."
Wow...wind out of my sails! Then to comfort my obvious disappointment she adds, "But he said he will call back tomorrow!"
"Oh good!" (I am feeling better about missing his phone call now.) "What time is he going to call tomorrow?"
Another sweet and unassuming reply, "I don't know. I forgot to ask him."
I couldn't contain myself anymore, "You FORGOT to ask him? How could you FORGET to ask him?"
Well, she was beginning to feel bad as she realized she forgot to ask the important information and I was feeling bad because she forgot to ask the important information. When I hung up the cell phone all I could do was cry. I do that a lot when I think about Jordan. I miss him. Add in there that it is Christmas and I now know he won't have a package and my boy is leaving the country! So yes, I cried.
Well, I waited the next day for a call from him but the time came and went that I expected his call. Later that evening Tim and I were out doing some Christmas shopping at about 7:00 pm my cell phone rang...it was Jordan!
Imagine our shock when we ask when he was leaving for Brazil and he said, "I am in New York right now and we fly out at 10:45 tonight!"
"What?? But, but...." I stammered. "Annah said you were leaving for Brazil next week!"
"No," he said. "I told her that next week I would talk to her when I was in Brazil because I can call on Christmas."
Makes perfect sense....NOW! :)
It was a thrill to talk to him even though we were standing in Meijer when we did!
He was traveling with only 2 other missionaries with him as they were the only ones who got their visas. We did learn that he did NOT receive his Christmas box since he had left the MTC at 6:30 Friday morning -- the day the box was to arrive. I felt bad that he would have nothing for Christmas but this year his gift would be that he was able to make it to Brazil where he has been so anxious to serve the people there. He was dreaming about the day he would be able to get his visa and go on to Brazil and now that was a reality for him. He was happy and we were happy for him.
Only a week went by before we were able to talk to him again because missionaries can call home twice a year, on Christmas and again on Mother's Day. In the afternoon of Christmas Day we called him and we all talked to him for an hour. It was good to hear his voice, hear a few stories of what his experience had been already, be able to ask him questions and be able to hear his Portuguese when we asked a question that he didn't know so he had to ask his Brazilian companion, Elder Ferreira.
It was an emotional time speaking to him, knowing that he's feeling the struggles of every foreign serving missionary of understanding the language and being understood but we know that in time it will come. In the meantime, we pray for his language abilities and his patience with himself in learning. He is in the Lord's hands and He will comfort him and help him because he has promised,
"I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you." ~John 14:18~
The same promise goes for me too.