(The MTC has been so very good to us and to our son. We have so appreciated the times Paul has been able to call home to keep us in the loop with his eye condition and what it all means.)
Friday was no different. They allowed him to talk with us as long as was needful to discuss all the parameters. He was thinking he'd be able to stay at the MTC until his original departure date -May 2 - and then fly out. It was so good to speak with him. And he sounded very upbeat. After all, he'd fasted a week earlier asking the Lord for help to remain humble and accepting of whatever the outcome would be for him and his mission. He's lived for this moment all his life; he wants to do so well for the Lord and others.
After getting off the phone, I realized that we didn't know what mailbox he now would be at, at the MTC to mail him any final packages. But that was a small matter. The next morning, our stake president called us on Saturday around 8:15 a.m. The missionary department had tried getting a hold of him about 10 times the prior day, but due to his father passing away and the family funeral being on Friday, they'd not been able to reach him. During this time of our stake president's personal grief, he still was so kind to us during the call.
He shared several things:
- Apparently, second only to Slovakia, the US has the next largest concentration of Slovak people. And guess in which area? Pennsylvania and Ohio. Thus, the missionary department person told our stake president that Elder Bezas would have opportunities to use the language he'd learned in the MTC. How amazing is that?
- Apparently Philadelphia has some of the finest medical facilities in the world. So should his retina(s) suddenly detach, he'll be able to be given excellent medical care, perhaps saving his sight.
- Another amazing thing: our stake president was the AP in his mission that helped open the Philadelphia mission years ago! In fact, he was one of the ones that helped find the building where the mission home is located still today, together with the others.
- Our stake president then shared deeply that the Lord keeps His promises and that all impressions he had felt while setting Elder Bezas apart, along with the impressions we had felt regarding a certain family he was to teach, will be fulfilled.
But then here's how life can get interesting. The beautiful MTC allowed him to decide whether to switch to the new district or to stay with his Czech/Slovak district for his last few days. Any guesses? Of course he chose to remain with these young men who have changed and blessed his life with friendship over the last 7 1/2 weeks. That may, though, have proved to be his undoing (which you'll see in a few moments).
So Saturday night we go to our stake conference meeting, therefore missing Paul's phone call letting us know his departure date had been moved up to Tuesday at 4 a.m.! Fortunately he also thought to send us a brief "forward" from an article at LDS.org, where he shared the same information. Otherwise we might not have known.
I sent him a quick DearElder.com (LOVE THOSE FOLKS) to give him our love and a final few pieces of advice for the travel. And then we thought all was well.
This morning, I receive a phone call from my dear son. The alarm clock I'd given him (my old alarm clock from my mission and well-worn out and very quiet) didn't wake him at 4 a.m.
And so Elder Bezas was calling me from the airport at about 8:15 a.m. with the news of the "hiccup" of all of this. Again, he got so much help. He was taken to the airport and put on standby for a 9:45 a.m. flight. The travel office was so nice. But that didn't work. So now he's gotten a ticket to fly out this afternoon around 2:30 p.m. or so, through Cincinnati, arriving in Philadelphia tonight about 10:18 p.m.
Please pray for him that all will be well and this will turn to good for all involved.
So now he gets to have this adventure all on his own. We figure there must be someone he needs to talk to. And I figure I need to buy a new alarm clock that isn't from the age of the dinosaurs. Mothers, when you're getting an alarm clock for your newly called missionary, make sure you get him a new one. :P
4/27/11 ADDENDUM: His connecting flight in Cincinnati was delayed. Of ALL things! Ugh. So that meant he wasn't going to arrive at the Philadelphia airport until midnight last night. How awful. We've prayed as a family over and over for the mission president and the APs who had to go get him. I'm so sad. What an awful way to start your time in the field. I hope they know and will see that Elder Bezas's heart is pure gold.