First, he emailed me from the MTC with his impressions and also a few boring housekeeping items. I'm going to share part of his email here:
Hi mom and Family.
I am having the best time here at the MTC. I have learned so much since I have been here. The spirit has never been with me more than I am here, except maybe the temple (of which I will go to today).
The food here (you are probably laughing right now) is amazing. My companion elder Holm is extraordinary, and we feel like brothers. My district is fantastic. We consist of 4 elders and 4 sisters. 320 missionaries came in last Wednesday. *Jan 27, 2016
I fly to Santa Barbara on February 8th with a 3 hour layover in Phoenix. I also get to ride the UTA FrontRunner to SLC International. 2 hours to PHX, 1-ish to SB. It will be a long day.
I have only met one person who I know I know, ya know? Zac Moon, Excelsior Academy, will serve in the Pittsburgh Pennsylvania mission, the same mission as my friend James Richens (Bond).
The MTC is like a college campus, and is part of BYU. Everything I need is right here. I could live here for the rest of my life, but, that is not an option.
Give my love to everyone there. I miss you all, but probably not as much as you miss me. Sorry.
-Elder Brandon Chesley
Yesterday, obviously, was February 8--his travel day. Surprisingly, I was at the Dr yesterday morning and received a call from an 801 area code. Lo and behold, it was Elder Chesley calling from the SLC airport! Being a mom, I had to ask him if he'd gotten permission to call me. :) I was so unprepared to hear from him that I didn't have much to say--it was just good to hear his voice. I couldn't believe how much he'd changed in just the TEN short days since he entered the MTC. He sounded so happy, too, which was good to hear. He said he'd try to call me again from PHX during their layover. I had to hand the phone off to my mom to talk to the Dr, so she got to talk to our favorite missionary too!
That afternoon I was home (briefly, between Dr appts for me and my daughter) when I got a call from a 602 area code. Now that I knew (kind of) what to expect, I answered it and Elder Chesley and I chatted a bit longer. Again we had a lull in the conversation, so he filled it by saying, "So, how was the MTC? Oh, Mom, the MTC was great!" and proceeded to give details. Again, I'm stunned by how much he had matured. This time he got to talk to his youngest sister before he had to go (eat and catch his flight). We received an email from the mission home that evening stating that he'd arrived and been received by President Felix and his wife, Sister Felix.
So, he's there. Ready to go to work for the Lord. He's arrived in his mission field and is ready to serve. I'm so excited for him.
Yesterday, I found myself breaking out in tears for what seemed like no reason at all. It was kind of a high pain day for me, so I was feeling tender hearted anyway, and I imagine that contributed to my overall feelings. As I lay in bed last night, ready to fall asleep, I felt more tears form and slide down my cheeks (well, kind of toward my ears--you know, gravity and all).
This (sending a missionary out) is an amazing, wonderful thing. I literally have no idea how it will continue to affect me. I'm just sort of taking these new things as they come.
Feeling the Lord's hand in our lives more than ever now.