Before the Mission

Amber's story starts in October of 2012. Amber had been at BYU-I for about one month and decided to come home to Utah for her first little break from school and enjoy General Conference with her family for the weekend. Little did she know how that weekend would change her life. 

As Conference started, Amber, Cory and I were all upstairs in the kitchen/family room area watching conference when the announcement was made about the mission age being lowered. At first, we were all very excited, knowing that with this lower age, Cory would be able to go on a mission right after high school graduation in a few years.....then the Prophet went on to finish the announcement. Young women could go earlier too. This meant that Amber would be eligible to go the following Summer, right after she turned 19. It was a lot to think about. Amber's future plans didn't really include a mission at the time. She had said she would think about it IF she was still single when she was getting closer to 21 but never really thought she would have to think about it. By the end of that General Conference session, Amber was on her knees, in her room, praying about the decision. And her answer came fast. She knew she was suppose to go......

......But life has a way of mixing things up. During the 2nd semester of school at BYU-I, Amber started to date a young man. As they continued to date, the thought of marriage entered their minds and they began to talk about it. The young man was introduced to our family and Amber was introduced to his. Even though he was a great young man, something didn't feel right. A few weeks before school ended, Amber was studying her scriptures for her religion class. The young man sent a text and said they needed to talk. Before going to talk, Amber knelt to pray. She knew again that she was to serve a mission and not marry this young man. After her prayer, she went back to her studying and the next heading in the scriptures that she read talked about missionary work. The young couple broke up that night.

As soon as Amber came home from school a few weeks later, she immediately made an appointment with the Bishop to start her paper work. Amber came home on a Friday, and the paper work was started Sunday evening.

Amber on the computer, starting to fill out her mission papers.

There were several things that needed to be done to finish up the paper work and one of those things was the dreaded wisdom teeth extractions. This was not a fun thing for Amber and she was close to serious to plan an escape to get out of doing this.

Here is Amber, getting ready for the awful event.

Another thing that needed to be done was to send in a photo. Amber and I drove around the city looking for a good spot to take a photo. We found an old, weathered barn, jumped out of the car, and quickly went on to someone's property to take this beautiful picture of Amber to send in with her mission papers. 

Amber, in front of the weathered barn.

The last thing that needed to be done was to have an interview with the Stake President. Amber had her appointment with President Hiskey just a couple weeks after starting her papers. Now the waiting begins. 

Amber and President Hiskey just after her interview. The papers are now ready to send to Salt Lake City.

Amber waited for almost three weeks for her mission call to come. She took everyone's mail keys the week she was expecting her call so no one would get the mail before her. She checked on Tuesday, even though she was 99.9% sure her call wasn't here yet. She checked on Wednesday, knowing it probably still wasn't here, but still had a bit of hope....just in case. By Thursday, she was really expecting her mission call, but it was not in the mail box. By that day, her emotions took over and she went into a slump with some tears. We worked on a "mission guess map" that night to take her mind off of things. The next day, Friday, May 17th, Amber and I went to the temple in the morning to calm our hearts. I don't think I was calm at all. I love being at the temple, but I really just wanted to get home and check that mail box. When we got home, we both were anxious to check the mail and yet fearful, in case the call still wasn't here. But, this time, when Amber checked the mail, there it was....that large white envelope from Salt Lake City! Now we just had to wait until Dad came home from his business trip in the evening and some of Amber's friends could come over.

Amber opened her mission call on Friday, May 17th. She has been called to serve in the Tennessee, Nashville mission and reports Wednesday, September 11, 2013. We are all so thrilled, excited and very happy for her. No one guessed Tennessee on the guessing map. 

Missions cost a lot of money so one of the things we did to raise money was to hold yard sales. The Young Women in our ward hold an annual yard sale to raise money for Girl's camp. We asked the Young Women if we could have everything that was left over from the one day sale to hold our own yard sales to earn money for Amber's mission.

We were bombarded with more than enough to sell and spent 5 weekends selling. It was a ton of work.

But we were able to raise a lot of money to put towards Amber's mission.

One of the most exciting things about getting ready to serve a mission is being able to go through the temple. Amber chose to go through her favorite temple, the Draper Utah Temple. She went through on July 19, 2013.

Amber with us, her parents, before going through the Draper Temple.

Amber, with her best friend, Lindsie, after going through the temple.

Amber, with all of those who went through the temple with her.

Eighteen months is a long time to go without seeing your family and since Chad lives in Denver and we hadn't seen him for a year and didn't know when we would be together as a family again, we took a quick Summer vacation to Denver to see Chad before Amber left. It was fun to see him and have him show us around Denver.

Our family - all together before Amber leaves.

Amber, with her big brother, Chad.

One of the last things on the list, was the farewell talk and open house celebration. Amber's farewell talk was on August 25, 2013. Her topic was "The blessing of good music in our life". It was the perfect topic since she loves music and is going to the music capitol - Nashville. After church, we headed home for a family lunch and then an open house in the evening.

Things get silly when the family is together.

Kendra, from across the street, who comes over often to see if Amber "can play", Amber, and Lindsie.

Amber with her Grandma and Grandpa Henrikson

Three generations of missionaries - Grandma Henrikson - California Carlsbad, Mom - Illinois Chicago, and Amber - Tennessee Nashville.

Amber with her Daddy. Gonna miss him bad.

One more family dinner when Uncle David and Aunt Lisa stop by on their way to drop Alexa off at BYU-I.

The day of packing has arrived. The suitcases seem big enough, it's just that darn weight limit at the airport. We will either leave stuff behind or have it shipped out later. Look out Tennessee, this girl is gonna Rock it.