When my mother was only 32, my dad was called to preside over the Central American Mission which included the countries of Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Honduras. Although I never heard my mother complain about the time my father spent away from home on church callings, I am sure these three years were very difficult for her. Not only did she have to care for her family in a foreign country where she did not speak the language, but she had the shared responsibility of over 100 missionaries as well. Dad traveled the entire mission every six weeks and my mother usually went with him every other time. On her very first mission tour, she returned home to discover my younger brother and sister had been hit by a car while riding a bike and had just been rushed to the hospital. Luckily their injuries were nothing stitches could not repair, but I am sure she was always a little nervous to leave us again after that.
On my mother’s 65th birthday my parents received a telephone call from President Gordon B. Hinckley, then president of our church, asking how their health was. Now you know the prophet does not call people randomly to ask about their health, so with some degree of nervousness (as in a TON) my dad told him about some minor heart problems he had, and then listed my mother’s more serious ailments. President Hinckley thanked my dad, and hung up the phone. Later he called back and called my father to preside over the Guatemala Temple in Guatemala City. My mom later said to me, “He didn’t even care I had health problems!” We laughed at that. I guess with him being much older and having so many health problems of his own, my mother’s didn’t seem like much.
And so once again my mother packed up her life and with my father journeyed off to a foreign country to serve the Lord.
She also has a tender heart for animals. While in Costa Rica, stray cats always seemed to find their way to our home. After returning to Utah, a door to door salesman was traveling through the neighborhood followed by a stray dog. When he reached our house, the dog stayed. Instinctively, I suppose, she knew mom would give her a home.
I will forever be grateful for her love and influence.
Happy Birthday Mom! And thanks for bringing so much . . . joy to our journey!
We love you!