Feeding the missionaries is an old family tradition. Both my husband and I grew up in homes that fed missionaries frequently. It was a natural thing for us to do when we started our own family. So, yes, we feed the missionaries.
The missionaries come and go, or come and stay and then go. I lose track of who was here and when, and how long ago that was. If you have hungry, eager missionaries in your home often enough, they start to feel like family; particularly if they stay for a few transfers. One elder stayed through nine and a half months' worth of transfers, and then went home from here. He's been done and home for a long time now, but I still think of him as one of my missionaries.
A few keep tabs on us, which I love. I like to see the college graduation notices and the wedding announcements; I love being able to have them look me up on facebook and say howdy. I get particular joy when they come back to visit. That's an entirely different level of feeling like family.
So, we fed the elders tonight (it's usually the elders, mind you. We haven't been in a "sister missionary" area for a long ol' time). Elder Youngstrom has been here for several months. He definitely feels like family. Elder Dyas has only been here for seven weeks, but he felt like family after the second meal.
We really like Elder Youngstrom and Elder Dyas. We knew we wouldn't get to keep Elder Dyas for long, he was actually called to Brazil, but has been cooling his heels in our little Midwest town while he waits on visas and that sort of thing.
Tonight was his last dinner appointment here. All the paperwork finally cleared, and he'll be having dinner in Brazil by Friday. So, after the meal (they both had third helpings of the soup), we had the lesson in the living room (over the top of the rowdy kids) and then took the good-bye pictures (working around the rowdy kids).
Honestly, I was getting irritated with my rowdy kids. But Elder Youngstrom just kept smiling at them, and Elder Dyas kept saying how much he loved coming over to our house, and how great it was to be around our family, and how much he was going to miss us. I took my cue from them and let it go.
I am grateful for missionaries. I am grateful to have them in our home, and for their example to me of faith and hard work, and how the gospel of Christ works in the lives of everyone, regardless of their background or upbringing. I am grateful for a fresh perspective on my blessings, and for the chance to listen and to testify. I am grateful we have been able to give a tasty, heartfelt send off to so many good elders over the years. I'm grateful for the pictures, so we can remember them individually, and I'm flattered to be in the photo memories of so many worthy young men. God bless the missionaries!
What are you blessed with today?