Monday, April 22, 2013

1 Suit, 10 Shirts, 6 Ties, Oh My ... and a New Friend!

So...after learning Ethan's assignment to McAllen Texas, and his leave date of June 5, we began working on all of the preparations listed in the big packet.  :)

One fun field trip was shopping for Ethan's missionary wardrobe. At the end of April, I went to BYU to help Ethan move out of his dorm, and we did his mission shopping there since there are many stores within a stone's throw of BYU that specialize in all things missionary. This was the place!

You can spot an LDS missionary a mile away: conservative suits, white shirts and ties for the men; and dresses or skits for the women -- and of course, the black name tag! However, we learned the missionary packing lists are tailored for climate, regions of the world, etc. -- great news since the temperature in Ethan's mission is 80+ from March to October, hitting 98+ in the summer months. And, he would be using a bike for his primary transportation, nearly every day. And, after his six weeks of training in Provo, Utah, he would be arriving in Texas on July 15th (average temperature 96 degrees). So...he/we were thankful his packing list called for just one suit, 10 shirts (nine short sleeved!), and six ties. He would only need to wear his suit jacket, and long-sleeved shirt, on Sundays and for meetings.

So, on Monday, April 22, 2013, in between his morning final in Econ and last review for an evening final in Creativity, off we went to Mr. Mac, a bastion of missionary attire and accouterments, and got it all done in about three hours: clothing selected, tried on, measured for tailoring; went through the voluminous selection of ties; purchased all the various accessory items -- shoes, socks, luggage, first-aid kit, etc. And learned a lot in the process as well. For example, who knew there were suits with special stretch and gussets in the jacket arms to make it more comfortable to reach the bike handles? And slacks with reinforced seams and fabric in the "seat" to handle the wear-and-tear of hours/days/months on a bike seat? All news to me. Off we went to a second store for study supplies, required books, and baptismal clothing, and Ethan was set. We had a great time together!

(I don't know what to say about all the orange...? We both were clearly channeling the colors of our beloved Ensworth school! Totally unplanned, a little matchy-matchy -- and, this is the same shirt Ethan had on when he opened his mission call. Perhaps a theme?)

Aside from getting the list checked off and having a great time, we also met another young man going to Ethan's same mission! The aforementioned shopping haven was buzzing with missionaries and parents doing exactly what we were doing. It reminded me of being in Target or Bed Bath & Beyond during freshman move-in weekend. I overhead a sales person ask another young man where he was serving, and my heart soared when I heard: "McAllen, Texas!" I went right over to say hello.

Turns out, this young man was, indeed, going to the same mission as Ethan, also Spanish speaking, and entering the Missionary Training Center (MTC) on the same day. He also was finishing his freshman year at BYU and lived a few dorms away from Ethan, though they had never met. Right in the aisle of dress shirts, they bonded instantly. A friend! A familiar face come June 5th! And a gift and a blessing, wrapped in a grey Nike t-shirt (or in an orange dri-fit, depending on your perspective)! And two missionary moms who were thrilled with this encounter and exhaling in the peace of knowing their sons would be going into the MTC together. It was a lovely experience.

Kason and his mom, Dana Renshaw
Ethan and Kason Renshaw, new friend
and fellow Texas McAllen missionary!