In the last five months Sean has received a mission call to Chile, graduated from high school, graduated from Seminary, earned his Eagle Scout, received his patriarchal blessing, was made an Elder in the priesthood, went to the temple for his own endowments and now he leaves on his mission. That is a fully packed five months and lots of changes in his life.
He has spent a lot of time preparing for his mission, spending as much time as possible with his friends (many have already left on their missions, or will soon be leaving), and spent time with his family. He still has a lot to learn and experience but he is up to the tassk.
He will spend the next 6 weeks in the Mexico City Missionary Training Centers (MTC) learning the Spanish Language and how to teach the gospel to the people of Chile. It will be important for him to remember the following from the scriptures concerning his service:
"Now behold, a marvelous work is about to come forth among the children of men. Therefore, O ye that embark in the service of God, see that ye serve him with all your heart, might, mind and strength, that ye may stand blameless before God at the last day.
Therefore, if ye have desires to serve God ye are called to the work; For behold the field is white already to harvest; and lo, he that thrusteth in his sickle with his might, the same layeth up in store that he perisheth not, but bringeth salvation to his soul."
Sean had to be on an American Airlines flight leaving at 6:00 AM the morning of August 13, 2013. It was requested he be there a few hours early, so the family was up getting ready shortly after 2:00 AM, as we all wanted to be there to say our goodbye and well wishes. Jessica & Derek and Brooke & Todd all met at our house and we all road up to the Salt Lake airport together.
What a bitter sweet experience it was. So proud and happy that Sean was going to do what the Lord has asked, but so sad that we won't see Sean for two years. I could write about this experience from my perspective for many pages, I'll let the following pictures speak for me:
The Original Six McAlister clan:
Sean and Sabrina (who is Sabrina going to fight with now?):
The proud Mom and Dad:
The new McAlister Clan with two great sons/brothers added to our numbers:
Yes there was lots of crying....and Brooke started it:
A final hug from his little sister:
Sean was joining seven other Elders, all flying to the Mexico MTC, but while waiting, the Provo MTC dropped of the Elders and Sisters leaving the MTC to go their missions. It was incredible to see the hundreds of young men and women going out to share the gospel. An inspiring site.
As we watched Sean clear security and wave a final goodbye as he ascended up the airport escalator and disappear from our view, there were lots of tears and silence. After the ride home and the day passing, we are now excited to hear of Sean's experiences, adventures and messages home.
Most of the rest of this blog will consist of his emails, notes and pictures.