July 19, 2008

FINDING ELDER FONDA

I am so excited. Ever since we left the United States I have felt like I had some unfinished business. When we first decided to go on a mission Elder Fonda is one of the first people I wanted to tell.

You are probably wondering, "WHO IS ELDER FONDA?"

Well, he doesn't go by the name of Elder Fonda anymore and he's no longer a 19 year-old young man.

He goes by the name of Blair or dad. He's now the father of 4 children, one who is getting ready to start college.

22 years ago Blair was a young man serving a mission in Sacramento California. He and his companion knocked on our door and offered to "share a message with us".
(You know, the two guys you see in white shirts and ties with black name tags riding bikes all over town.)

The rest, as they say, is history.............

So when we decided to serve a mission I wanted to let Elder Fonda know.

Over the years we have stayed in touch through letters and I have tried to express to him my gratitude for the decision he made as a very young man to serve a mission. I have always been so impressed that a young man would leave all the worldly things behind to serve our Heavenly Father for two years.

Maybe it's just me but I don't know if I could have done that at 19.

Really.............. think about it for a minute.

At 19 the most important things in my life were my friends and of course, my boyfriend. 19 is the age when you finally get some independence. Most young people are living on their own for the first time. I remember my first apartment with my best friend, Liz. We were so excited to fix it all up with the hand-me-down furniture we scraped together. No rules, nobody telling us what to do. Life was full of new adventures. Weekend trips to the coast or camping with friends. Most of us had jobs but they were usually fun jobs. Work hadn't become so mundane to us yet. Some of us were in college working towards degrees in fields we were excited about working in.

Well, I think you get the picture. When a young person decides to go on a mission they are essentially deciding to put their life on hold. Not like a summer job that last a few months but for two years. So needless to say, I have always had a lot of respect and admiration for Elder Fonda not to mention endless gratitude.

So back to the beginning of my story. I wrote Blair and basically said, "guess whose going on a mission?" and he wrote back and said, something like, "I just let out a loud WoooHOO and everyone in my office is looking at me like I am crazy" or something close to that. Let's just say, I think he was thrilled for us.

As the days got closer to us actually leaving for our mission I spent alot of time reflecting on why we had decided to serve a mission. Especially since we had that farewell talk looming before us. You know, that special day when all your friends and family come to church so that they can hear you say something profound and inspirational before you leave them all behind.

-I thought about all the wonderful blessings in our lives.

-I thought about how we felt like everything good that has ever happened in our lives was a result of our decision to be baptized.

I thought about how I have come to really know and love my Heavenly Father.

How I have learned to trust him.

How I have come to know that I am never alone. That no matter what happens to me or my family my Heavenly Father will always be there for me.

I thought about how I have come to love my brother, Jesus Christ for his atoneing sacrifice that he made for me.

I thought about all the blessings we had been showered with since that beautiful day in February 1986 when my wonderful husband and I entered the waters of baptism.

And I wanted to thank Elder Fonda once again, for being obedient. For leaving the worldly things behind to serve his Heavenly Father.

I wanted him to know that although I may not have been ready at 19 to leave the worldly things behind, because of his example I was ready now to leave my life as I had known it behind.

I wasn't giving up my friends, college, or a job and the freedom I had felt as a 19 year old. What I was leaving behind was the children I had been blessed to raise and the beautiful healthy grandchildren the lord had blessed me with.

The difference was this, I knew my children knew who they were. I knew they knew that although their earthly parents would be gone for a time, they would never be alone. I knew they knew they were sons and daughters of a Heavenly Father who loved them.

This is the gift that Elder Fonda gave our family. I know that I will never find the words that adequately express my gratitude for this gift.

Each week when I sit in District Meeting with these young missionaries and I see their love for the people of Ukraine that they are serving I think of Elder Fonda. When I hear these young missionaries praying to be brought to those that are searching I thank my Father in Heaven for guiding Elder Fonda and his companion to our home. I am so grateful that Elder Fonda and his companion were worthy enough to have the Holy Ghost who guided them back to our home each week. I am grateful that these two young men were worthy to have the Holy Ghost with them as they testified of the truthfulness of the gospel.

So, back to the beginning of this long story. I am excited because when we arrived in Country my e-mails to Elder Fonda were returned which was so depressing. I haven't been able to get in touch with him. I couldn't imagine never talking to him again. I was so sad I couldn't share with him how much I loved being a missionary. I wanted him to know all about what it was like for me and Elder Kinghorn to serve the Lord. I finally realized that I might be able to reach him through the internet search engine that listed all the missions throughout the world and.....
I found him... I found Elder Fonda again..... Whoo Hoo!!!!!!!
A few days ago Elder Fonda e-mailed me back and now I can tell him all the things I have wanted to say. I can learn about his wonderful family and how they are all doing. I wrote today and asked for pictures. I am so excited.

He doesn't really understand, and I don't think he ever will comprehend how his decision to leave everything he knew and loved behind to serve his Heavenly Father changed the lives of not just me and my husband but that unselfish decision has blessed the lives of future generations.

Thanks Blair,
You'll always be "our missionary".
Every person who has ever had the opportunity to have two young missionaries knock on their door and offer to share a message knows how endearing that term is.
We will love you for time and all eternity.

7 messages from friends and family:

Heather said...

Beautiful post!

Jan Myers said...

Sister Kinghorn, your post has really touched and inspired this newly-called far-from-19-year-old missionary. At times I've yearned for that same experience, but find myself even more grateful to have been born into a family who already was blessed with the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Thanks for your support in our new calling and your awesome blog!! Sister Myers
Email: grapeviners@airmail.net

Jane said...

Thank you Sister Kinghorn for sharing your story. I think it is an inspriational story for all 19 year olds to hear who have left home, school and girlfriends. It's inspriational for us at home who might have forgotten what it is to be 19 and it's inspiriational for all of us to realize again what the gospel of Jesus Christ can do and help us become. It's also inspirational to realize how the Gospel binds us together as we share meaningful experiences. Thanks you again, you should share this with the missionaries there!

Lisa C said...

Thank you for sharing and I look forward to reading more. My son is currently serving in the Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine Mission, Elder Christensen and my nephew is currently serving in the Donetsk, Ukraine Mission, Elder Martineau. It is always exciting to find other who are or who have served in the same area. Thank you again.

Mary Ann said...

Bless your heart! Thank you for finding my blog so I could find yours. I look forward very much to sharing your journey. My husband and I can't wait to serve ourselves, hopefully in the next 5 yers. You are lucky to be so young. God Bless.

Mary Ann said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
dixiewhitehead said...

At some point either we, or our ancestors, were taught by the missionaries...so the message of missionary work is a poignant one for all members of the Church.

Thank you for your touching story of conversion. And by the way, at some point, whether born into the church or not, we also all need to be converted to Christ's Gospel just as any investigator. I love reading your sincere thoughts.

Saints in Ukraine (put music on pause)

My music


click on the photo to see the captions

Armenia Trip

Our last Zone Conference

Some of the faces we will miss

Our trip to Mariupol

March Zone Conference in Donetsk(click on photo to view a larger version)

Missionaries helping the International Relief Development unload a container from America

Health Fair click on the photo to see what is coming up

To listen to this talk you will need to put the music on pause first

Sometimes we forget what divine gifts we have been given. President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, 2nd Counselor in the First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Thanksgiving

Look at the fun equipment we got to deliver to this internat for Special Needs children

Europe East Area District Meeting

I LOVE THESE MISSIONARIES

OUR APARTMENT (this is not an average missionary apartment)

THIS IS WHAT MISSIONARY APARTMENTS LOOK LIKE ON INSPECTION DAY

CLICK ON THE PICTURE TO SEE A MORE COMPLETE VIEW

LEADERSHIP TRAINING IN THE KALINSKY BUILDING

Click on photo to see more photos of the Open House at the Kalininsky blg