Monday, December 15, 2008

Missionary Monday

This is a picture of Dad and my brother Michael. It was taken at Michael's farewell. He had received a mission call to the England London South Mission.

The year was 1983. I was 15 at the time and I remember Michael being so grateful he didn't have to get on a plane. His mission was 300 miles south on a train track. (For the record, he has never ever been on a plane.....I am hoping one day he will break his fear of a plane and come visit us. If not, Tracy his wife will just have to come without him. I keep telling him, he is safer on a plane than on the roads in Utah.)

Michael and I were very close before his mission. We enjoyed each others company and got on pretty well. I knew I was going to miss him and the thought of 18 months was too painful. (Elders and Sisters, at that time only had to serve 18 months. It changed back to 2 years (for Elders), shortly after Michael returned home.

We took him to the train to say goodbye for those 18 months. As the train pulled out, the tears flowed. For our Mom they flowed for 18 months. :) Seriously I remember when we got home, (we lived in Mersey Street) and she had a towel. Most people use kleenex/tissues. They weren't enough. She looked like she had done 10 rounds with Mike Tyson by the end of the day, her eyes were that swollen from crying.

I wasn't very good at writing to Michael. Guess who was? YEP, Dad! He wrote every chance he could get. There wasn't e-mail then. Simply snail mail and I can still see Dad now in my mind writing those letters. I used to think Michael would need an extra case when he came back to carry all the letters home. I will never forget one of the addresses, 26 Ruislip Close, Middlesex. I regretted not writing to him much and he reminded me several times in letters he wrote to me how I did not write.

18 months later (and it seemed like 18 years), Mom and Dad went to London to bring Michael home from his mission. They spent some time with Linda Lotfian (a gal he baptized) and her children. She became a very good friend of our family. We lost touch after several years and I wish we could get in touch with her again. Michael was on his mission when our Grandma (Dad's Mother) passed away.

Michael served a good mission and was a good example to his three younger siblings. I was so happy to see him when he got home. By this time, 1984, we had moved into a new house in Stanhope Ave which is where Mom and Dad still live today.

Dad always wished he could have served a mission. We always reminded him Missionaries only serve for 2 years and Dad has preached the gospel for the past 40 :)

"We love you Dad"


Alan Tong said...


When I was a full-time missionary your Dad was called as Bishop. I was one of three serving missionaries from the ward. (The other two were John Fountain and Neilson Forsberg.) Your Dad wrote all three of us every week. Again, there were no e-mails. Each letter was hand-written, and unique. (Not just copying the one letter three times, but each tailored for the individual missionary.) I still have them at home.

Your Dad has always been an inspiration to missionaries, whether they are from Hull, or serving in Hull. He is a living example of one of my favourite sayings. It says, "Always live your life so that those who know you, but don't know Him, will want to know Him because they know you." (Of course "Him" is the Saviour.)

Maxine Conrad said...

We love you Alan ;)