How is Duncan doing on his service mission you ask? Well, it is hard to believe he is five months in already. I am happy to report that the mission is going really well. It for sure has some challenges, but mostly they have been good challenges that have helped him grow.
The challenge for me has been to get him there every morning at 8. I have to be to work at 9, and Olivia has to be to school at 8:40, so it is a little time crunchy every morning. I try to get Duncan dropped off in Kaysville by 7:50 so that I can turn around and drive back to Syracuse to get Olivia to school on time, and then hit the southbound freeway once again to get myself to Bountiful by nine. It works, and I consider myself lucky. It's not every mom that gets to say goodbye to her missionary every morning and then welcome him home every night.
Right now, there is a group of seven service missionaries at the mill, including one sister. First thing in the morning they have a morning devotional and study time. They are in charge of it, and I would love to be a fly on the wall in one of those meetings.. The senior missionaries that work with them have told me it is often very spiritual and enlightening. I am going to bet that it is occasionally wacky and often intensely humorous. But that is just my guess. I do know Duncan is learning so much and getting a lot of opportunities to speak and teach, and that is so good for him. The senior missionaries are so great, I can't say enough good things about them. They have so much respect for those missionaries, their opinions, feelings, and abilities, and work with them at whatever level they are on, and are so encouraging and kind.
From 10 to 11:30, they serve in the mill, usually working on production with the volunteers or cleaning. Keeping a place like that clean is a never ending job, so they are always busy. Duncan has become a pallet expert. Everything they produce at the mill is boxed in different sized boxes, and each sized box has a specific pattern that is the best way to fit as many boxes onto one pallet as possible. Apparently, Duncan is really good at figuring out the best way to fit the boxes onto the pallets. Can anyone say Tetris? Lately though, he has been opting for sit down jobs on the production line. Variety is the spice of life after all.
11:30 is lunch time. After lunch they have another meeting where they either work on their journals, or work on life skills, or take care of other mission business. Then from about 1:30 to 4 they are back at work in the mill.
Once a month, they have a zone conference with all the other missionaries in their zone. They have put together hygiene kits, gone to the temple, and had a picnic and some holiday parties. Just today they had a whole zone conference on life skills. They learned about table manners, good hygiene, conversation skills, and how to iron a shirt. I bet they aren't the only missionaries that could use a refresher in those areas.
Duncan has already learned some great life lessons, like being responsible to show up ready to work, even when you don't really feel like it. There have been days when he really hasn't wanted to go, and was looking for any excuse to stay home. But don't we all have days like that? But most days he really enjoys going. He says it feels good to work hard and accomplish something and then get to come home and relax. He knows that he is really helping and working at something worthwhile.