I have been over and over surprised and amazed by the good people that have come into our lives as a result of Braeden's mission. I was expecting that it would be a good experience for him. I was hoping he would be able to make a difference in someone's life.
I had no idea how it would bless mine.
Stella and Rebecca have sort of become my pen pals. We've never met but have one thing in common.
We love this kid.
Corresponding with them has been a comfort and strength to me when I needed it most. I don't think those good ladies will ever know how much they mean to me.
I've also learned lessons as a result of Braeden's experiences.
One lady posted this picture on Facebook awhile ago:
It has been a hot and humid summer in Virginia and lots of Braeden's pictures are like this. Sweaty hair and melty looking shirt. I was thrilled to see a picture of his smiling face but what really gave me pause were the icy drinks in their hands.
Seeing someone treat my son with this simple kindness of an ice cold drink meant the world to me. I felt unreasonably happy and grateful.
Then I started thinking about how Heavenly Father must feel when He looks down on His children. He sees some that are struggling. He sees some that could use an ice cold drink--or a smile, or an invitation, or the benefit of the doubt.
How does He feel when He sees us serving one another? Seeing this picture gave me a glimpse.
Another lesson I've learned was a result of reading Braeden's and also Clarissa's emails. These missionaries love the people where they are. If you believe Clarissa, the best people in the world are in New Zealand. If you believe Braeden, the best people in the world are in Virginia. And I know those two well enough to know, they aren't just saying it. They love the people they serve.
Awhile ago, Braeden was telling us about a person they were teaching. This person (like every single person in VA apparently), was awesome. He told us all about the progress this person was making and how great they were. He mentioned in passing they were a heroin addict. I was struck by his nonjudgmental view of this person. I could tell he honestly viewed this person as someone with a lot of potential.
What is it about missionaries? I thought. How do Clarissa and Braeden have these positive views of everyone?
Then it hit me. I think it's because they see the people they serve like Heavenly Father and the Savior see them. They don't see anyone as a lost cause. They see people who are awesome. People with potential. They have a message to share that will make all the difference in their lives.
And I'm the lucky girl who gets to read the emails.