Rodney M Bliss

Gone, But Still Home

My son recently left home. Well, sort of.

He’s become a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Mormons. It’s something that many Latter-day Saint young men do right after high school. They are those young men you see in white shirts and ties, riding bikes, or walking around your town.

Missions typical last two years. Although with COVID, nothing is typical anymore. My son has been called to work in Indianapolis, Indiana. He’ll be teaching people about the church and about Jesus Christ.

Missionaries and their families pay expenses during a young man’s mission. Missionaries don’t work at regular jobs during their term of service. They devote 100% of their time to service and teaching.

But, before they can teach, they have to learn. “Back in my day” we attended the Missionary Training Center. It’s located just down the valley from my house, in Provo, next to Brigham Young University. “English speaking” missionaries spend two weeks in the MTC, as it is called. They spend their time learning the doctrines of the church and how to teach.

“Language” missionaries, those called to teach in a language other than English, spent two months at the MTC. The additional time is psent learning a new language. When I served a mission to Chicago in 1984, I spent two months at the MTC learning American Sign Language.

But COVID has changed everything. There are no large gatherings. No classrooms full of young men and women. No assemblies of thousands of young adults gathered to listen to church leaders.

But, life goes on. Work goes on. Service continues. My son entered the MTC today. But, he never left home. He has set up a computer in my lovely wife’s sewing room. He wakes up in his own bedroom. Showers, gets ready for the day. Dresses in his white shirt and ELDER BLISS nametag and then sits down at the sewing table which serves as a makeshift remote MTC. It’s called the “Home MTC.”

He’ll folow this routine for the next couple of weeks. Sometime shortly after New Years, he’ll pack his brand new suitcases with his only slightly less new sits and shirts and shoes and we’ll take him to the Salt Lake City International airport where he’ll board a flight for Indianapolis. He’ll be there for possibly the next 23 and a half months.

I say “possibly” because with COVID, nothing is certain. Nothing except the understanding that life, work, service, us. . .we’ll go on.

Stay safe

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.

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(c) 2020 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved

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