This is a posting by Morgan Hartman's mom, mostly because she's not here to speak for herself.
There are few times in a mother-of-a-teenager's (did I say that right?) life where the mom gets to speak for the daughter sans eye rolling, irritated huffs of annoyance or outright correction. This is, therefore, an opportunity! And, because she'll be away to Porto Alegre, Brazil for 18 months with limited electronic exposure, it'll be my pleasure to update you on her whereabouts, adventures and perhaps even struggles (with help from Heavenly Father, she'll work them out, we're sure.)
However, rest assured, Morgan (or I should say, "Sister Hartman", her moniker for the duration of her Brazilian stay), I will limit myself to just a few a la carte comments, but only when absolutely necessary. The rest shall be in her words with her sentiments and her point of view.
Unless I can't help myself. Just kidding, I can do it.
Presently, (I did say this whole posting would be from me, right?) Sister Hartman is in the Provo, MTC (Missionary Training Center) where she is getting religious and language training: she will be teaching about Christ and serving the people of greater Porto Alegre. She is expected to remain in the Provo MTC either for the whole 6 weeks of training or until she receives her visa, whereupon she'll go to Sao Paulo to complete her training there.
When did she decided to serve a mission you ask? She had made some friends at BYU who spoke Portuguese. And Gigs (one of our nicknames for her), being the goal-setting type, decided she wanted to learn it too. When she graduated Duolingo (a free language learning app she used to teach herself Portuguese), she received a Portuguese Book of Mormon (thanks Carla Santana!) and started trying to read it. Meanwhile she had decided to start asking HF (The Big Guy upstairs) if she should go on a mission. She said that mostly, she couldn't get thru the verses without serious work, but one night she came across a scripture that she just understood. When she read it, she received an undeniable answer: Yes, definitely a mission!
In case you don't know, missionaries are called to serve by God in areas away from their home for either 18 months (female) or 24 months (male). While serving, missionaries are asked to dedicate their lives to being His hands. They do this by teaching about Christ, performing regular humanitarian service, and living the Gospel in a joyful way (that's the goal, anyway). In order to be most effective, missionaries are asked to put romantic relationships on hold while avoiding new ones, relinquish most time-wasting frivolous fun, postpone educational pursuits, and continuously study Christ's teachings. It's a tall order and means we as families participate in sacrificing as well since contact is limited to weekly emails and letters and bi-annual calls or skyping with our kids. Not gonna lie, it's painful.
But, also r e w a r d i n g! How many parents are in the war against entitlement? Has gratitude ever been a problem? Humility? Generosity? Hard work? Self sacrifice? Self control? Goal setting/achievement? Empathy? Missions can help humans develop these traits and more. This is very often the outcome for these young adults focused in such outwardly ways. Although these are not the reasons we support her in this endeavor, these are the results. And what parent doesn't want their child to become a better human being??
So, even tho we mourn the loss of those 18 months and miss her terribly (it's only been 6 days!) we anticipate welcoming home a healthier (mentally, spiritually, and emotionally if not physically), happier, and wiser daughter who has learned to love and serve people of many types, along with their cultures, and who has a more intimate knowledge of God.
In the end, the price is worth it.
Now, I'm going to cease watering my pillow and practice gratitude and serenity. If she's working on things, I should too (dang it). See you soon, my girl. We're so excited for this growth opportunity and cannot wait til your return (and before then, our next letter!)