Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Week 6 - Flying to Fresno- Sept 28th

  This morning I woke up and found the following email in my inbox, Elder Schaff sent it late last night at the MTC, time to enter the mission field.

"I was able to bust into email! Wow, district goodbyes have been tough, but we know it's for the best. Everyone has grown so much, and now our district and the neighboring one, district F, are like family. Here's the Flight info:

Delta, Flight #4815. Departure time is 11:10 AM. We leave the MTC at 6:20 AM. I'm being told buses take two hours, plus one hour for security. So expect that it will be 9:20ish~~~10:20ish here when I call. Everything is packed and ready to go, just have to get out there! We learned so much this week but I'll have to tell you on the call. Excited to enter the field!

Catch the family soon!" 

--Elder Schaff 

  So, as he stated above, he had permisision to call home at the airport. Of course, I was excited about this, I was anxious to hear his voice and talk to him. So, I cleared my schedule and stayed home. I set my cell phone and our house phone on my kitchen island and willed one of them to ring. The time frame started to pass by, neither phone had rung. So, I finally picked up my cell phone, yes, the ringer was on, and no, I hadn't missed a call. Then I picked up the landline, it had a dial tone, so I looked at the cradle on the counter top and the voicemail light was flashing!! What?! How did I miss a call? I had been home all morning, waiting. I listened to the voicemail, it was Hayden, I had missed him!! I wanted to cry. The worst part was, his voice. He was so sad. I think he was shocked no one had answered, wasn't sure what to say and basically said, "I hope you get a hold of me. Sorry I missed you Mom." What? How was I supposed to get a hold of him? Then, I retrieved the number he had called from and starting dialing it over and over, but it was always busy. I was afraid I had lost my opportunity, but my husband suggested I call the airport and ask to have him paged. I didn't know that was possible, but I quickly found the number to Salt Lake International, called it, hit the prompt for, "request a page" and then a wonderful gentleman answered. He asked me who I needed to page and why. I simply told him I had missed my missionary's phone call and he responded with something like, "Well now, we can't have that mom. What is your son's name? Now listen close, do not hang up under any circumstance. This may take a few minutes, but we will page and find your son, and the next voice that you hear will be his. How many minutes until he boards?" I told him, waited a few minutes, then all of a sudden, Hayden said, "Mom, are you there? This is great, there were only 4 pay phones, and 5 of us missionaries, now I am speaking on an airport phone. How did you find me?" It was amazing. What a thrill to hear his voice!!

When I didn't answer the phone, he had decided to go eat breakfast and try again later, but now, he was so anxious to tell me more about the MTC, and how hectic getting to the airport was that morning. He had assumed they would board a bus and go directly to the airport, but that did not happen. A group of 24 missionaries left together. They took a short bus ride to the nearest Trax station in Provo. Then took a train up to SLC, then had to transfer to a different train to get to the airport. I guess it was quite stressful to have so many moving together and they had a lot of luggage between everyone. A few missed the second train, but they all got to the airport eventually. He had to remove his scriptures from one of his big suitcases to meet the weight limit, but other than that, he did fine. After that, the group divided up, about half heading to Eugene, OR and his half to Fresno, CA.

He told me he loved the MTC. That he was nervous when we dropped him off, because he wasn't sure what to expect, but once he settled in, he had done great. He said he felt the same way about going to CA, nervous, but sure that it would be fine. He was eager to find out who his trainer would be, where he would be assigned to serve, where he would be living, etc. I could have talked to him longer than 20 minutes, but I finally asked him to hang up with me and use his calling card to call his dad, who was at work. So, he was able to do that and he told Michael that he only had a few minutes before boarding his flight, but that he was excited to get going. He said he had gained 8 pounds while at the MTC, so, he had to stop drinking the chocolate milk! So, the milk rumors are true, but he was so thin from running cross country, that gaining a little isn't a major problem, and his bike has been assembled and is ready and waiting for him in Fresno, so he will be burning calories soon enough. It was great to connect with him today.

He had a direct flight from Salt Lake City to Fresno and arrived safely this afternoon. This evening at the mission home, he was able to send a short email to give us an update. We are not nervous for him at all, we know he is in good hands, that President and Sister Clark are ready for these new missionaries, and that he is going to be well cared for. He is excited to be serving in California and anxious to get acclimated to his new surroundings. This was his email-

"Hi mom, I have been given the chance to email after arriving here in the mission field. I have arrived safely and they have received us all with open arms. The Elders and Sisters here seem, nice, which is good. The Preparation day we have here will be on Mondays, and I will be able to email you then. I am emailing from the secretary’s email, so respond to my “” account. We’re about to go out and do an “open your mouth street contacting exercise!” You'll hear from me Monday."

--Elder Schaff

And so it begins...

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