Well, here we are. The day we have been preparing for since Joe was born. What an emotional whirlwind! It is hard to say goodbye for two years... two whole years. When Joe returns, he will not be the same teenager who left. He will have had experiences I can't even imagine. He will have sacrificed. He will have learned. He will be the Lord's man. I am so thankful that he is willing to serve; I know that he will be blessed, and that many lives will be improved as he shares the light of the gospel. The other day, a friend said to me, "I couldn't let my sons do it. I couldn't let them go." I was very tired that day, and only smiled and said "It is hard." I wish I would have said what is really in my heart - "How can I not let him go? Knowing what I know, how can I not want every other mother to have that joy? We all have a Savior who loves us. Families can be forever. If my son is willing, how can I not let him share that good news?"
We were up at five this morning so that we could drive to Wenatchee to meet with our Stake President. After talking with Joe for a little while, President Hunsaker set him apart as an Elder and gave him a wonderful blessing. Officially presenting Elder Joseph Toolson...
We had about an hour to kill, so we stopped for one last pancake breakfast at Sharri's. But then the time to go to the airport was upon us.
Once again, Joe had so much support. Gathered around to see him off were Grandpa and Grandma Toolson, Charlye, Jana, Jared, Casey, Kelly, Carrie, Itzel and our immediate family. Watching Bronte and Paul say goodbye to their brother is something I will never forget.
And now, as I type this entry, Joe is getting ready to board a plane for the last leg of his journey to the Guatemala MTC. He left Wenatchee for Seattle at 10:50 a.m. After a three hour layover, he flew to LA at 2:45 p.m. He will leave LA at 11:40 p.m. and is scheduled to land in Guatemala at 5:30 a.m. local time (they are one hour ahead.) You can bet I have been praying all day. We are anxiously awaiting the call letting us know he safely arrived. But at the same time, I feel peace. He is on the Lord's errand now, and will be guided every step of the way.
I love you, Elder Toolson. So very, very much. God be with you until we meet again.