We have our quirks. Here’s one of mine. I love to leave home and go on vacation. You get to enjoy the planning, the anticipation, being with family and friends, there are new places and good times. Then, even before the vacation is over, I am every bit as anxious to get back home. As Dorothy reminds us, despite the greenness of Oz or Virginia, “there’s no place like home.”
Vacation doesn’t describe our mission, adventure is a better word, but the quirk still applies. Many months ago, we enjoyed the anticipation of an inspired mission call and the excitement of meeting new people and seeing new places. We have learned the restored gospel bonds us with an eternal relationship to people and places. We love our Charlottesville home and our friends here. We love the message of peace and love found in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In the months to come we will leave our home in Virginia.
Trunky (or is it trunkie, who knows, it’s a missionary taboo to put the word in writing) is a Mormon missionary word. Although our mission ends in December we are not trunky, life is too busy and we will work until the last institute class, the last apartment inspection, and the last Family Home Evening. However, our practical conversation includes what we need to do in preparation for changes and how we might serve when we get home.
It’s a problem when a missionary dwells on home at the expense of the Lord’s work. With that in mind it is not unreasonable to think the Lord wants us to learn lessons about home. Many are given wonderful memories of the homes of parents and grandparents. Good homes are a place of security and peace. The people we love the most are associated with the places we call home.
Dozens of missionaries are now our new friends, and nearly all of them speak fondly of their homes. They serve with honor and do the work of the Lord. They see others accept the gospel and join the church. They learn that good homes and families bless the lives of everyone and they leave the mission with a desire to build righteous homes for themselves. For 24 or 18 months their home is where they serve within the Virginia Richmond Mission, but at the end, when they are about to return to their traditional home, you can’t miss the smile on their face and the gleam in their eye.
We love our mission home, but as the song O My Father reminds us, “Yet ofttimes a secret something whispered, ‘you’re a stranger here’ “. We hear that whisper in Charlottesville in more ways than one. The whisper reminds us of our home in the west, but it also reminds us we have “wandered from a more exalted sphere”. The future for all of us is the same. We will return to the God who gave us life, and if we are faithful, we will live with those we love in a celestial home.
The Family, a Proclamation to the World, says it well, “The divine plan of happiness enables family relationships to be perpetuated beyond the grave. Sacred ordinances and covenants available in holy temples make it possible for individuals to return to the presence of God and for families to be united eternally.”
The words happiness, family relationships, and families united eternally sound very good to us. We look forward to the times when we will no longer be strangers here.