I was listening to conference talks today and came across this wonderful talk. Michael and I have some wonderful parents who have sacrificed incredible amounts for their children. No amount of words can express the gratitude we feel, but we want to let them know how influential they are in our lives. I am so grateful for all the things they so willingly do for us and for their extreme selflessness.
"When I was called to serve a mission back before the dawn of time, there was no equalization of missionary costs. Each had to bear the full expense of the mission to which he or she was sent. Some missions were very expensive, and as it turned out, mine was one of those.
As we encourage missionaries to do, I had saved money and sold personal belongings to pay my own way as best I could. I thought I had enough money, but I wasn’t sure how it would be in the final months of my mission. With that question on my mind, I nevertheless blissfully left my family for the greatest experience anyone could hope to have. I loved my mission as I am sure no young man has ever loved one before or since.
Then I returned home just as my parents were called to serve a mission of their own. What would I do now? How in the world could I pay for a college education? How could I possibly pay for board and room? And how could I realize the great dream of my heart, to marry the breathtakingly perfect Patricia Terry? I don’t mind admitting that I was discouraged and frightened.
Hesitantly I went to the local bank and asked the manager, a family friend, how much was in my account. He looked surprised and said, “Why, Jeff, it’s all in your account. Didn’t they tell you? Your parents wanted to do what little they could to help you get started when you got home. They didn’t withdraw a cent during your mission. I supposed that you knew.”
Well, I didn’t know. What I do know is that my dad, a self-educated accountant, a “bookkeeper” as they were called in our little town, with very few clients, probably never wore a new suit or a new shirt or a new pair of shoes for two years so his son could have all of those for his mission. Furthermore, what I did not know but then came to know was that my mother, who had never worked out of the home in her married life, took a job at a local department store so that my mission expenses could be met. And not one word of that was ever conveyed to me on my mission. Not a single word was said regarding any of it. How many fathers in this Church have done exactly what my father did? And how many mothers, in these difficult economic times, are still doing what my mother did?
My father has been gone for 34 years, so like President Faust, I will have to wait to fully thank him on the other side. But my sweet mother, who turns 95 next week, is happily watching this broadcast today at her home in St. George, so it’s not too late to thank her. To you, Mom and Dad, and to all the moms and dads and families and faithful people everywhere, I thank you for sacrificing for your children (and for other people’s children!), for wanting so much to give them advantages you never had, for wanting so much to give them the happiest life you could provide."