Brayden had a few dreams the weeks leading up to receiving his mission call, and because of the vivid nature of these experiences, he was sure he would be serving in either England or Denmark, some of the lands of our ancestors. I guess most people waiting for their calls have a very real anxiety and the mystery of the mission call is on the brain 24/7 until their call is revealed, thus, the dreams!
As we awaited this magical time in our family, it was helpful to understand the LDS mission call process. Elder Rasband, a leader in our church, gave a talk in our general conference outlining the process,which was a window into understanding that these calls are truly of God and come by revelation. As he sat in one of these mission call sessions, he related the following:
"I joined Elder Eyring early one morning in a room where several large computer screens had been prepared for the session. There was also a staff member from the Missionary Department who had been assigned to assist us that day. First, we knelt together in prayer. I remember Elder Eyring using very sincere words, asking the Lord to bless him to know “perfectly” where the missionaries should be assigned. The word “perfectly” said much about the faith that Elder Eyring exhibited that day.
As the process began, a picture of the missionary to be assigned would come up on one of the computer screens. As each picture appeared, to me it was as if the missionary were in the room with us. Elder Eyring would then greet the missionary with his kind and endearing voice: “Good morning, Elder Reier or Sister Yang. How are you today?”
He told me that in his own mind he liked to think of where the missionaries would conclude their mission. This would aid him to know where they were to be assigned. Elder Eyring would then study the comments from the bishops and stake presidents, medical notes, and other issues relating to each missionary.
He then referred to another screen which displayed areas and missions across the world. Finally, as he was prompted by the Spirit, he would assign the missionary to his or her field of labor.
From others of the Twelve, I have learned that this general method is typical each week as Apostles of the Lord assign scores of missionaries to serve throughout the world."
There is somewhat of a more 'WOW' reaction among people when the mission revealed seems exotic in nature, or in a far away land, rather than the States. Equally, Brayden's call came as a surprise, in a different form. As he opened his call, he read slowly with excitement:
And then the flashback to 24 years ago hit me. Columbia, South Carolina was the mission my oldest brother was called to almost exactly 24 years ago. Only, my dad felt like there was disappointment on my brother's face at this call, and decided to send it back for 'more inspiration,' noting an inclination to serve the people of South or Central America. He was later reassigned to Venezuela, Maracaibo... the mission my grandfather opened as a mission president and where my mom grew up about 23 years earlier. So obviously that felt meaningful and inspired. But South Carolina was never spoken of again.
Upon hearing Brayden's call, I felt the spirit strongly that THIS is where our Brayden needs to be, that there are people and experiences specifically waiting for OUR family that perhaps were not realized 24 years ago. Now, it's up to Brayden to seek the spirit and find those people he was called to touch and make a difference serving. How truly wonderful is it to realize the prayer and thought that goes into these mission calls and that our Brayden can make a difference giving up two years of his life to serve the Lord and the Spanish speaking population in Columbia, South Carolina.