This week Tammy and I received the following email:
My name is Dustin Davenport. I served in Xela about 5 years ago and had the opportunity to come back and visit! I served in Colomba before the mission divided, it was my first area and I loved it! We stayed with la familia Castillo the past few days and they talked about you and your son serving here now. Por suerte we ran into him on the street on our way back from Colomba to Xela!!! What an awesome missionary! :) Very small world. It was fun to have that small connection! Enjoy the photos.
Only those who currently have, or who have had children serve missions, can relate to the double edge sword of being a missionary parent. On one hand, we are blessed and feel enormous joy of having a son serving the Lord. On the other hand, it is very painful to have your child away in a foreign land for two years with limited communication. I have to admit that having Jake serve in the same mission as I served has been a great tender mercy from the Lord, and having people I know from my mission days looking after him has brought us great comfort. We love getting occasional reports through FaceBook from Cesar Gomez in San Francisco el Alto who has connected with Jake a couple times, and has reported back to us that Jake is healthy and happy. In many ways I feel like I’m reliving my mission vicariously through Jake. Although we are immensely enjoying the blessings of having a son on a mission, nevertheless, we are counting the days when we can go back to Guatemala to pick him up in December 2016. So you can imagine how receiving an email like this can really make your day as a parent! Having someone from the states, who runs into your son in the mission field, and reports back to you with a photo, momentarily erases that distance, and vicariously places you in the mission field with him…if just for a brief moment.
Tammy and I are thankful that Dustin Davenport reached out to us this week. And I don’t believe it was by accident that he connected with Jake. Dustin reports that he had just been visiting with the Castillo Family in Colomba, where I had served 23 years ago. The Castillo Family was one of my two golden families during my mission. The Castillos had just told Dustin that Jake and I had visited them in January, just prior to me dropping Jake off at the MTC in Guatemala City. The very next day, Dustin and his wife were driving in nearby city of Xela, when they made a wrong turn as they tried to find their way around the city. It was down that street that they, by chance, ran into Jake and his companion. There are over 350 missionaries currently serving in the Quetzaltenango Mission. What are the odds that they would run into Jake? Another tender mercy from the Lord.
Here are a couple of photos of Dustin Davenport with his wife visiting the Castillo Family in Colomba. In Dustin’s second email, he thanked me for finding and bringing the Castillo’s into the Church, as they have been a great blessing to the branch in Colomba. It was very touching.