Marcus came home a semester early from BYUi so that he could earn money for his mission. We require our children to earn half their money because first, we believe if they earn it, they will most likely take more responsibility for it- and with five boys.. well.
It is hard for a young man who is chomping at the bit to have his own life to bend to 11 pm curfews, lights out by 9pm, and no Wii on school nights. But Saturday brought those days to a close. The big envelope arrived and the family gathered around to find out where their big brother would be for the next two years.
He ripped open the thick manilla paper and began to read slowly aloud when his ten year old sister Sarah looked over his shoulder and called out "Albania."
"Where is Albania? What language do they speak? Do we know anyone that has been there?" I drew a total blank about this country and ran to the internet. Putting it in a Google search, I pulled up the CIA factsheet. Marcus was still trying to read his acceptance letter, and I began throwing out facts for all to hear.
In 1992 Albania ended their communist rule (later than Russia?)... high unemployment, widespread corruption, organized crime networks and political opponents... dilapitated physical infrastructure... inter-ethnic tension. I scrolled down and found out it is beautiful, right by Greece and on the Adriatic sea but then I read about tsunami's and devastating earthquakes, deforestation and water pollution.
At this point I think all excitement had gone out the window. I should have stopped but I wanted to hear something Albanian so I did another search and found some Albanian movies so we could hear how the language sounds. The only problem is unemployment is such a huge issue that every site I looked at had a lot of "questionable solicitations around them." Apparantly that is another issue. Finally, his younger brother, Camron said, "Mom, the prophet probably saw that he was a 5' 7" 300 lb. football player and went, 'We need him in Albania!'"
It is actually a relatively new mission. How exciting to be able to share the gospel message with someone that has never heard anything about it. I'm sure it will be a wonderful time but as his mother, I can tell you, his faith will not be the only one increasing. With a lot of prayers and a little nail biting, I'm sure it will be wonderful, but do you think it is against mission rules to send a kevlar vest? What if it is black or dark blue?