Here is a picture of Brennan with David and Michael the night before he entered the MTC. He was excited and nervous! And ready to get started.
The MTC drop-off is truly just that. Keith thinks he was in the parking lot for less than five minutes. So no pictures! There was barely time for a hug goodbye before he was whisked off. Keith got a little choked up as he was driving away and seeing from a distance the hundreds of missionaries in the parking lot. The Army of Helaman!! Apparently 750 missionaries entered the MTC the same day as Brennan. I don't know if that's a typical Wednesday or not, but wow.
It was very difficult for us to see him go! Harder than I thought it would be. I realized I have been fairly unsympathetic to Missionary Moms over the years - only seeing the excitement of it rather than the misery! Having our first go represents such a change for our family. We are no longer a family of six at the dinner table, for instance. I know I will have them all at the table again in the future, BUT the 'days of six' are over. We are unbalanced and it's awkward passing over the empty place. We feel puny without Brennan's big personality.
But the flip side of this is the amazing joy I feel that he is where he is, doing what he is doing. I almost can't believe it's happening. We have always talked about a mission as if it's a given, but Brennan would never have gone if it was only to please us. I remember the day a couple of years ago when I went into his room to put some laundry away and saw a handwritten note taped to his wall that said, "Be worthy to serve a mission". I knew that day the decision to serve a mission had become personal to him. And because he didn't stray from that decision, here we are.
Here's a line or two from his first letter home after being in the MTC for a week:I LOVE it here. I really do. I’ve taught multiple lessons already. I am learning so much! I’ve never studied harder in my life, but I love doing it. I don’t know if I want to leave the MTC!
And from his email yesterday after his second week:
I have not had that tough of a time here so sleep easy mom, your boy is fine. I know you have prayed for me because I have felt it. I have not been homesick and I've actually helped some elders going through that. My testimony is growing everyday, I know this is where I need to be without a doubt. I have never worked so hard in my life which is weird because most of the day I'm sitting down. But I love it! I have a long way to go to be the servant the Lord knows I can be and wants me to be. I love you guys so much!!! Mom thanks for everything, you have done so much for me thank you.
It feels so good to know that he is happy and finding joy in the Lord's work. He leaves for Kentucky on Monday and then the adventure really begins. We are proud of him, and thankful for the example of missionary work in our extended family -- for his grandfathers, father, uncles, and many cousins who have served willingly and faithfully. The gospel is true!