Elder Ellis entered the MTC yesterday at 12:30 pm. We had a wonderful morning with him leading up to the time we sent him off.
Because Elder Ellis was set apart as a missionary the night before, I had the opportunity to be his companion all morning. We woke up at 6:30 am, had individual and companion (family) scripture study and prayer. We needed some last minute items at Walmart, so he accompanied me to the store. Both of us were wearing suits, so we stood out. While going through the checkout line, the cashier rightly identified him as a missionary about to enter the MTC, even though he didn’t have his name tag yet. It must have been the glow. When we got back to the house, we finished packing, including making copies of updated insurance cards and laminating the cards as well as address tags for his luggage. Before we left to go eat brunch, I had the honor of giving him a father’s blessing. It was a special experience for our family.
We ate our last meal with Elder Ellis at Denny’s. I guess it was “the place,” because there was a senior missionary couple and another family with a daughter going into the MTC there as well. We then drove down to the Provo temple, which is across the street from the MTC. When we got there, we had about thirty minutes with Elder Ellis to take pictures and say our goodbyes. As the time to send him off got closer, we all got more and more emotional. Try as we might, keeping it all inside was hard, even for Elder Ellis. While on the temple grounds, we also saw the Nelsons, whose daughter, Sister Nelson, was entering the MTC fifteen minutes later than Elder Ellis. Then it was time.
We had been told that it was best to say goodbye before we drove up to the door of the MTC, because there the goodbyes are a little rushed, so we hugged and squeezed and cried and then drove over. When we got to the door, there was enough of a lull that we were all able to get out and hug him one more time. I was starting to break down again as I hugged him, and Elder Ellis said, “Come on, Dude, you’re supposed to be a man.” Then the good elder that was helping us with Elder Ellis’s luggage led him away. Shoua got the last look of him as he entered the MTC. She said he nodded at her with his characteristic look of determination and entered upon the next chapter of his life. We drove away, each of us bawling, giving the emotions of joy and missing him free reign. Poor Jasmine, who had up to this point held her emotions in check, finally let her tears flow. She cried all the way home. It was all very bittersweet. But we know he’s in the right place and that he’ll be blessed for his service.
Stay tuned for the emails and updates we get from him!