Due to my mother’s condition and their relative poverty, my parents always assumed they would be unable to serve as a senior missionary couple. After talking for a long time about how they might be able to do so, my parents turned in papers to serve a mission at Cove Fort - something that my mother “could do” without much stress and that was possible with their limited budget. They had discussed it with their bishop, who explained my mother’s special circumstances and their financial situation in his endorsement. In everyone’s mind, it was a done deal.
They were called to
They left home on a five day drive. Three days later, while they still were two days from the mission, an elderly sister called the Mission President and told him that she had felt an incredibly strong impression to donate her house, free of charge, to the Church for use by the
My mother’s health issues subsided while they served and only surfaced again after they returned home. They made deep and lasting friendships, and they wouldn’t change it for the world.
God's hand operates all around us - not always in such visible and undeniable ways as my parents' mission, but powerfully, nonetheless. The thing that strikes me most deeply about my parents' experience is that they had no idea how they would be able to do what they had been called to do. It literally was impossible without the direct and active participation of the Lord, and it took them stepping out into the darkness and committing to do something they knew they couldn't do for it to happen. They literally had to drive over a thousand miles from home on an impossible mission before the solution to their situation was revealed - before it became possible.
Often, it is important to approach senior missions as my parents did - researching the options and applying for a specific assignment. However, the “factory mill” of mission callings that many members imagine (filling slots with whoever submits papers at the time) isn’t the case. I have no idea who made the decision to ignore my parents’ and their bishop’s carefully considered and articulated plans, but my parents and I will bless them eternally for being prompted to do so.