I wasn't sure how to answer the question, when a representative from the Church Missionary Department called and asked us about our feelings concerning Elder Ellsworth returning to the Sendai Mission. We knew it was likely he'd be asked to return, but, we weren't prepared for a call from the missionary department of the Church. I'm not sure this would've happened a generation ago, so we are very grateful in the decision by the church to provide parents with a voice in the decision making process.
I have to admit, I was caught off guard, but, at the same time, very appreciative that Church authorities were concerned about the response by parents when asked about their missionary returning to those areas declared safe, after the earthquake, and tsunami
I thought about our last e-mail conversation with Michael, that he loved the Sapporo Mission, and that he knew that they would most likely return to the Sendai Mission, but, that it was okay, not a big deal
But, to us it is a VERY BIG DEAL, particularly, on Jeri's part. She has been very concerned about the radiation. Like many of you, we've lived just down the road from the Nevada Test Site, and yes. we remember the above ground testing. Many, many Nevadans, and South Utahans, are now considered "downwinders", so we have definitely lived with concerns about radiation from the nuclear meltdown in Fukishima.
Since so many in our area suffer from higher than normal risk of cancer, we have worried about the effects of prolonged exposure of radiation on our missionaries. Radiation caused cancer is usually not diagnosed till years later. So, only after some research, listening to experts in the field, and pondering, and prayer, I became much more comfortable concerning the risks, but, Jeri is not so convinced, and still has questions.
Our phone conversation, discussed that the Twelve had approved a return of missionaries to areas that are far away from the affected areas, that the contamination hasn't, and shouldn't affect any of the our missionaries returning to the Sendai Mission. I guess, we must trust their decision, but, at the same time, pray concerning the safety of not only the missionaries, and the members, but, all those affected.
Frankly, I really should have told him I'd discuss it with Jeri, who wasn't home at the time, and get back to him later, but, foolishly, I didn't. I kept reflecting on what Mike had said about returning, and, I think he was a little concerned his mom might call and ask that he stay in the Sapporo Mission. I guess that was reflected in my answer, which was: "it really is up to Mike, not up to us, and, though we've worried about the radiation, it should be his decision." I did express our concern for his safety but, was assured he'd be placed in a safe area, so I agreed. That is a "Dad" answer, but not a "Mom" one, ha, ha!
I should have had that discussion with Jeri!! She was none too happy about my "presumed" approval of the transfer, and boy did I hear about it! I deserved it! So, after conferring with some of our children, discussion about the various options, and, then more discussion, it was "finally agreed" I was out of the doghouse! I have to say, I was sweating it, felt terrible about the whole thing, and was saying my prayers!
I guess after nearly thirty-four years of marriage I should have known better than to give my blessing to the transfer, before the mother of our precious children gave her loving stamp of approval, I was humbled to say the least.
A mother's love is not to be trifled with! I learned a valuble lesson, and, I won't soon forget...I love my son dearly, but... I didn't give birth to him!
God bless all the mothers of missionaries, who sacrifice those most precious to them, in the service of the Lord, Jesus Christ.