My kids have definitely been affected by the full time missionaries lately. My brother is on a mission in Guatemala and I have cousins on missions around the world. My husband also happens to be serving in our church as the ward mission leader, so the full time elders are showing up at our house AT LEAST once or twice a week for meetings, discussions, or dropping off reports. Probably about a year ago, Tyson was taking money he found without asking and when he got in trouble for it, he was crushed and said, "But I was saving that money for my mission!"
We get weekly emails from my cousin who happens to be in Madagascar right now. Deaton has sent home pictures of himself with spiders, snakes, chameleons, lemurs, dogs, this fish, etc. Whenever he sends pictures and his mom forwards them to me, I show my kids, because I know they love this kind of stuff. They think Deaton actually caught this fish in the photo. Haha.
Tyson is especially fascinated by bugs and animals, and so he eats up things we hear from Madagascar. Deaton has probably one of the most difficult missions in the entire world--it's a successful mission and people are joining the faith in droves, but it's a great sacrifice for our elders in that part of the world. We pray for his safety and even though it would MAYBE be cool to see a Nile Crocodile, we're glad he hasn't come across one, yet, becuase he probably wouldn't live to tell the tale...unless the 20+ foot croc was already dead like in the pic my husband found on the Net this week:
Yesterday I took my kids to the craft store for a free craft. Each week they study countries from around the world and make a project. Yesterday's project happened to be a flag and a rainstick in honor of Madagascar. We told the people there that my cousin is on a mission there right now and shared some of his stories. Well, much to my surprise, Tyson and I ended up with this conversation:
Tyson (whispering): Can I go on my mission to Madagascar?
Me: That's where you want to go?
Tyson: Yeah. I want to go there because of all the bugs and animals.
Me (thinking he missed the entire purpose of why we have missionaries): Do you know why people even go on missions?
Tyson: To teach other people about the gospel.
Me: You're right--missions are about teaching people about Jesus. Do you know there are other missions that have lots of bugs and animals?
Tyson: Well, I want to go where the MOST bugs and animals are, so that's why I want to go to Madagascar.
Me: That would be neat, and I'm really happy that you want to go on a mission to share the gospel.
Tyson: But, is it okay if I go when I'm just a little bit older?
Me: Um, yes--you'd better be a LOT older. You're not even aloud to go until you're 19.
Tyson: Like when I'm a teenager?
Me: Like when you're almost done being a teenager.
I hope all my sons will demonstrate that sort of faith by serving missions--even if it is in a remote land, all the way across the earth, in the jungles of Madagascar.