|The sign says it all|
One of the interesting things about our trip to Provo had to do with some of the people we met along the way. On the night before Eric was to report to the MTC we were in SLC, walking around Temple Square. A short walk from there is the Beehive House, formerly the home and office of Brigham Young. We've been before but thought it might be fun to visit again.
When we walked in, we met a couple who is serving a mission on Temple Square. They inquired about Eric serving a mission and where we're from. We said Richland and they said they had a good friend who used to be the mission president in Kennewick. His name is Dennis Connor and they wanted to know if we ever met him. Eric explained that he knew Pres. Connor and his son Seth is a good friend. The man then called over two sister missionaries to give us the tour of the house. As they introduced themselves, they inquired about Eric's mission. When he said he was going to Phoenix, one of the sisters got a big smile and said she was from the Phoenix/Mesa area. She raved to Eric about how awesome the area is. We also found out that she served 6 months in the Meadow Springs Ward. We then ran through the list of all the families we know in that ward. Turns out that Marlee's piano/violin teacher who is the mom of Eric's friend Jeffrey Young is married to the ward mission leader of Meadow Springs ward. That sister missionary spent lots of time at the Youngs' house. Kind of a small world.
The next morning before going to the MTC we walked around the BYU campus, bought some stuff at the bookstore and went to the Wilkinson Center for lunch. In line at Taco Bell, Eric struck up a conversation with another kid obviously getting ready for the MTC. When Eric asked where the kid is assigned to serve, the kid said the Arizona Phoenix mission. Eric laughed and they introduced themselves. Pretty cool. Hundreds of people in the food court, dozens of young men in missionary attire assigned to missions around the world and we meet a kid going to the exact same mission Eric is going to. Kind of a small world.
After lunch it was time to go to the MTC. We had a few minutes to spare so we drove around the Provo Temple, which is just up the street from the MTC. Along the road there were many families parked, taking pictures in front of the temple and saying their goodbyes. I pulled into a parking spot and we made our way onto the sidewalk to do the same. We wanted a picture with our whole family so we asked the mom of the family next to us if she would take our photo. She agreed if we would return the favor. Once both families pics were done, Eric asked the missionary in that family what mission he's going to. The kid looked at him and said, "Arizona Phoenix." Another person going to Phoenix. The moms then took a photo of the two boys who were called to the same mission. Hundreds of people around the temple and the MTC, dozens--maybe hundreds--of young men reporting that day and we parked right next to the family of a kid going to the exact same mission Eric is going to. Kind of a small world.
After we dropped Eric off at the MTC, we headed to Park City to have some fun and spend the night. As we were walking along the shopping district, we came upon a Family History Center run by the Church. There was an older gentleman standing outside greeting people. We struck up a conversation with him. He said he and his wife were serving their mission in Temple Square in SLC and were on a 6-week rotation in Park City. We told him we just dropped off our son at the MTC that morning. He asked where Eric was called to serve. Shannon said the Arizona Phoenix mission. The man smiled and said that he and his wife lived in Phoenix. He told us all about the area and how great the Church members are there and how they take good care of the missionaries with dinners and other necessities.
So, in 24 hours we met 2 people from Phoenix and 2 young men going to Phoenix to serve. Is that just a bizarre coincidence? One person....maybe so. Two...probably. But four? What does that mean? I don't know, but I can't help thinking that maybe it's the Lord's way of letting us know that things are going to be OK. Eric is going where there are good people who will help him and valiant young men who will serve beside him. Kind of a small world.