Home birthday a birthday, a move, and growing roots

a birthday, a move, and growing roots

by Shawni

(Missionary Monday on a Thursday 🙂

My favorite sister missionary had a birthday over the weekend.

Just look at that little light-glowing girl over in Austin!

I haven’t done an update on her in a while. So let me tell you what she’s up to, because she is HALF WAY DONE WITH HER MISSION for crying out loud! I don’t know where all this time is going.

I swear she was just barely right here, a bunch of mischief, laying on the trampoline with her hair all static and crazy.

The one who asked everyone for candy and elbowed her way to the front of all our family videos with the biggest smile.

Oh how I love that girl!

Sorry, oversharing here, but I can’t even stand it looking back on all those pictures.

That feisty, full-of-energy girl grew up into the most wonderful young lady.

One who makes everything fun.

She is my one who will cook with me. Clean with me. Cry with me. Discuss the depths of life with me.

She doesn’t beat around the bush, and she doesn’t shy away from talking about the tough stuff. She isn’t afraid of being vulnerable and asks the best questions and I think because of her example our whole family has become closer than ever (it’s just the truth that when you are vulnerable with one another you are drawn together in a deeper way).

Anyway, I adore that girl and I’m so grateful that she’s mine.

This is what’s been happening in the mission lately:

She was moved to a small little town called Gonzales a couple months ago, where she got to speak Spanish and work in a tiny little congregation. They did all kinds of service from cleaning out attics to working in food banks and animal shelters.

And she fell in love with all those good people there.

I love that she sends me pictures like these:

And these:

And then, in the middle of a transfer (each “transfer” is six weeks long, and missionaries and companionships get moved around at transfers), her mission president called to let her know he needed her in Austin to work on the UT campus (University of Texas). One of the missionaries who had been reassigned there was going back to their original mission (in Brazil I think), so she went to take their place.

So she packed up and said her goodbyes to all the good people in Gonzales, and headed on over to Austin:

With a new awesome companion:

Some pretty amazing people who go to UT and work with the missionaries there (one of whom happens to be my friend’s daughter right there second in from the left below).

We had been HOPING they might get to serve together and how in the world, out of all the places she could go, would she happen to actually get to do that?

Sometimes the world is so small, I tell you!

Anyway, all this to say that Grace is learning and growing in the best ways possible.

Oh it is not all fun and games, butterflies and rainbows.

Missions are tough work. Especially in all the uncertainty that COVID brings. We still don’t know if she’ll make it to Uruguay some day or not, and she’s ok if she doesn’t since she loves Texas. And because she’s rolling with everything right now, and I must say, she’s pretty good at that!

But she has such this beautiful love for the people of Uruguay which is so beautiful to hear about. Some day she’ll get there, whether on her mission or after.

Through all this, I keep thinking of the plants she always has sitting on her window ledges wherever she moves.

She loves to nurture them and watch them grow. And I think it’s such a great analogy to what she’s doing right know. Trying to nurture and help others grow as she shares her love of Jesus with them.

But also as she works to nurture and grow herself in ways she never knew possible.

She sent this picture recently of the roots of one of her sunflower plants:

I love that it shows those roots filling in, creating strength.

I love to think that she’s doing the same thing with her life. Filling in those roots.

Learning.

Growing.

She had the best birthday ever, one she will remember forever, new in Austin from Gonzales in a world of unknowns and learning. We got to talk together that night (sadly Max & Abby weren’t able to make it).

And my cheeks hurt from all that smiling. My heart hurt a little too from all that love. I’m just so grateful.

Happy birthday Grace Jam!

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5 comments

M July 1, 2021 - 7:39 am

I am just so proud of missionaries right now( I’m a little biased having one out myself right now) and kids continuing to fill out their paperwork knowing they very well might not go to the mission they were assigned but doing it anyways! My son had about 5 months of a “normal” mission in England before the lockdown (and boy England had an extended lockdown) but I never once heard him complain. Couldn’t be more proud of how they continued to work and serve and lift from their tiny flats for so long. Thanks for sharing about your missionary.

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Shawni July 6, 2021 - 12:06 pm

They are sure learning so many good things!

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Bennett Delaney July 1, 2021 - 5:25 pm

Unrelated, but are you SO excited that Charity is back stateside?! When do you get to see the babies?

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Shawni July 6, 2021 - 12:07 pm

Yes I am SOOOO excited! Can’t wait to get those babies in my arms! THIS WEEK!

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Tori July 17, 2021 - 8:05 pm

I have followed your blog for many many years, and was so excited to hear Grace would be serving in Austin, TX. I’ve lived in Austin for 16 years now and love it!!!
Please reach out if you or Grace need anything. I have a 19 year old away in college in Ohio, so I know how hard it is.

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