It's all good, though.
First, we talked a bit about food. I mentioned in my last post that he's gained 15 lbs in the last month. Naturally, I asked him what he's been eating. His answer was pleasing, and a little surprising (but not very). We haven't always been able to exercise true healthy eating habits, but we do talk a lot about eating well and what sorts of foods should make up the majority of one's diet. It's not a perfect approach, but it's better by degrees than what came before.
So, Brandon--who does not care for salad or fish--has been eating lots of salad and fish. :) This is something we've been warning our kids about since they started thinking they could get picky about food. When they are on their mission and being fed by the ward they serve, they can't be picky about what they are fed. They have to eat what they're given. (then we found out the twins had food allergies, but that's a whole different blog for another day)
It's wonderful to see your words as a parent come full circle: The most 'fun' thing I have had, is the fish tacos. It's weird, but everyone out here eats normal food, or extremely healthy food. I have had a lot of salad since I have been here.
Last night, I had fresh Alaskan Salmon, like "caught the day before", fresh. Bro. Mackay [Mack- ee] (who looks, and sounds, and has a sense of humor like Armie Hammer, but not as tall) brought it over to the Judds (ward mission leader), and told us it was "alive and swimming the day before". It tasted wonderful, but had that fish texture.
So, yeah. Food.
That kid of mine. How he's grown in just a month. Fish tacos? I couldn't have gotten him to try a fish taco if I'd bribed him!
Another beautiful thing that has come from Brandon's experience is that he's sharing what he's learning with his younger brothers. Jeffrey and Daniel will be eligible to put in their mission papers in LESS THAN A YEAR. I didn't intrude in full on the letter Brandon sent to his brothers, but part of it included a gentle admonition about preparation--based on what Brandon's tendency toward procrastination taught him. This is the kind of thing that warms a mother's heart. It's one thing to be backed up by your spouse when teaching your children. It's another to have a child go out ahead of his siblings and turn back and relate tips and guidance to those siblings to help ease their way.
Naturally, it's up to them whether or not they choose to listen. That is the way of agency.
Brandon's information email is short. He expresses his love for all of us, and also his thanks for the prayers that we wing toward heaven on his behalf. It may just be me, but I sense that he's starting to more keenly recognize the separation he's experienced from his home and family, and that he's truly out doing the work. Not on his own, because a servant of the Lord is never alone, but without all the familial anchors that have secured him since infancy.
What is fascinating, is his continued interest in his personal family history. Something that was only a moderate fancy has turned into a deepening quest. Which means lots of writing for me and his dad, but hey--I am, at least, used to that.
I will leave you with these words from our favorite missionary:
After pondering this past week the fact that I have been out here for over a month, I have come to the conclusion that I am needed in this glorious land for a reason. I hope and pray that I will find that reason.
I have also decided to, every week, personally write one of you, either by mail or by e-mail, to make this experience even more enjoyable.