“Well, it’s here,” Grandma said, holding up a white envelope. “It is?” Mom asked excitedly. “Where are you going on your mission?”
Ten-year-old Scott and eight-year-old Taylor watched their grandparents intently. Even young Spencer and T. J. were silent.
Grandpa grinned. “Toronto, Canada!”
“Nice place. Cold winters,” Dad remarked, giving Grandma a squeeze. “When do you leave?”
“We report to the MTC on August 29,” Grandma said.
The boys hugged their grandparents before going outside to play.
They didn’t think much about the mission call for the rest of the summer. But before Scott knew it, August 27 arrived—the day his grandparents would be set apart for their mission.
The whole family gathered in a room at the stake center. Everyone felt both excited and reverent. The stake president explained that “setting apart” missionaries blesses them with the strength and the Spirit to do missionary work. Then, one at a time, he blessed Grandma and Grandpa, setting them apart as missionaries.
That night, Scott’s family visited his grandparents and said good-bye. He tried to be casual. “Bye, Grandma. Bye, Grandpa. I’ll miss you.” It felt like an ordinary good-bye. He couldn’t believe his grandparents would really be gone so long.
That week, Scott’s family drove past Grandma and Grandpa’s house several times. It seemed strange to not see their car in the driveway.
On Monday afternoon, Scott and Taylor walked home together from the soccer field. Scott sighed. School was starting in a week. “Taylor, do you remember how we used to stop at Grandma’s house on the way home from school?” Scott asked.
“Too bad we can’t do that anymore.”
“No more milk and cookies,” Taylor murmured.
“No more going out to the garage to see Grandpa working on his wood projects or to look at his rock collection,” Scott added.
“We can’t even go there to watch general conference,” Taylor said.
“And we can’t go there on Christmas either. It won’t be the same!” Scott cried.
Taylor frowned. “When we get home, I’m going to make a card for Grandma and Grandpa. I miss them!”
When the boys got home, Taylor told Mom about his plan. “That’s a good idea,” Mom said. “For family home evening tonight, let’s talk about some other things we can do to help us not miss them so much.”
After the opening song and prayer, Dad asked if there was any family business. Taylor raised his hand. “Mom said we could talk about things we can do to help us not miss Grandma and Grandpa as much. I think that next week for family home evening we should make some cookies to send them.”
“Yes, cookies!” cried out five-year-old Spencer.
“Cookies,” repeated two-year-old T. J.
Dad nodded. “What else can we do?”
“Let’s tape-record our music recital and send it to them,” Scott suggested.
“Another great idea!” Dad said. “In December we can record our Christmas concert for them.”
“We could send them messages to warm their hearts, and gloves and socks to warm their hands and feet,” Mom suggested.
“When I grow up, I’m going to go on a mission, too,” Spencer piped up. “Then you can send me lots of cool things!”
“Right on!” Dad said, giving Spencer a high-five.
As the year wore on, Scott’s family sent e-mail messages to Grandma and Grandpa. On Mother’s Day they got to speak to Grandma and Grandpa on the phone. Scott told them about school, soccer, Cub Scouts, and camping with Dad. Grandma and Grandpa talked about the children they had met in Toronto, some from all over the world. They had been invited to many dinners and tried lots of interesting foods. But most importantly, they taught, saw baptisms, and watched people’s lives changing. Scott felt the Spirit whenever he heard about Grandma and Grandpa’s missionary experiences.
Just before it was time for Grandma and Grandpa to come back home, Dad took Scott, Taylor, and Spencer to their house to help weed the yard. Then Dad did some painting and helped move the furniture that had been in storage back into the house. It almost looked like the same place.
“Won’t they be surprised to see how nice it looks?” Taylor said. “I can’t wait to stop here on the way home from school for milk and cookies.”
Scott was starting middle school and would be riding the bus this year. “I guess I’ll have to ride my bike over here after I get off the school bus,” he said. “I’m not giving up the milk and cookies!”
“Me neither,” Spencer said. “I’m going to first grade this year. I get to walk home with Taylor—so I get to have milk and cookies, too.”
Dad grinned. “I’d better warn Grandma to stock up.”
“The impact on families while grandparents are on missions is worth a thousand sermons. Families are greatly strengthened as they pray for their … grandparents and read letters sent home which share their testimonies.”
Elder Robert D. Hales of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, “Couple Missionaries: A Time to Serve,” Ensign, May 2001, 26.