I spoke with my mother, almost a year ago in August, about my little brother. As my mother spoke to me she broke down. She told me that her whole life, as she has raised McKay (Elder Gregson), he has had so much desire and passion to do everything thing “Ty” /older brother (Elder Gregson) has done. I played basketball. He wanted to play basketball. I went on dates. He wanted to go on dates. I served a mission. He wanted to serve a mission. She said, “Ty, it breaks my heart…He literally can’t. How am I as a mother [who cares so much about him] supposed to tell him no, when he has more desire than just about anyone else.”
Those words, and more importantly feelings, sunk deep into my heart. I told her that day as we spoke, that if there was any way I could go out and serve with him I would. At the time it was an idea. To me it was never to become a reality. Well, here I am today, Broken Arrow, Oklahoma serving a mission this summer for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with my brother.
We arrived here last Wednesday. Elder “Mac” was really nervous. He was pretty quiet on the trip from Prairie Grove to Tulsa. I got him to laugh and smile a little, bit, but the nerves were getting to him.
We arrived at our mission president’s house. That night we met a bunch of other new missionaries. It was a new world and new experience for “Ol Sunshine”. He kept to himself and answered very short and quiet when people would ask him a question.
We both got to visit with the mission president, President Shumway. He was so kind and fragile to our situation. I knew he loved us and was inspired to bring us out on a mission that was never supposed to happen. To him and our local leader, President Bradford I am eternally grateful for their faith and confidence venturing in this new ground.
After our meeting and greeting the next day it was time to get started, the real deal. We had no idea what to expect, but we were willing to adventure all for the sake of the truth of Jesus Christ and His restored gospel.
That first day was like no other day! There is one other time that I have ever seen my little brother so stressed out. The new people, apartment, schedule, was like a tornado just went through my brothers mind. He didn’t know how to handle it. All day he came to me in tears, questions, and hugs. He really wanted to go home. I honestly thought he wasn’t going to make it. He looked at me in the eyes that night before we went to bed and said, “Will mom be disappointed or hate me if I come home early.” I quickly wrapped my arms around him knowing with full confidence my mother would never feel that way to the child she has cared for so much. I held him in my arms as we cried together. That night was a night from hell. Satan was working hard and he was winning.
The next morning started no different. The fiery darts of the adversary came quick and often. The first words that came out of McKay’s mouth when we woke up, “I think I need to go home. I can’t make it.” I tried and tried to help him create a vision to see just through a few days. It wasn’t coming. I was trapped, nowhere to go, but to look toward Heaven.
I know my prayers, McKay’s desires, and everyone’s prayers where being answered. I text President Shumway asking if he had anytime to talk on the phone that day He immediately called me. As we talked on the phone he gave us things that would help McKay to function, become comfortable and to fulfill part of his divine destiny.
As soon as we got off the phone, the Lord helped us to set specific goals with the instruction that President Shumway gave us. These are what we like to call our Goo Goals: Get comfortable. Teach one member a day. Help in the mission office. Play basketball. Call family. That was it
I’m not even being crafty with words, AS SOON AS we set the goals, his demeanor changed. Light filled his soul. He could see that these were things he could do. These are things that he could mentally break up, schedule, and not get over whelmed. I know that was a blessing from God to Elder “Mac” and myself. I now knew his limits and it is my responsibility to help him work and function within those limits. I know the Lord is proud that McKay is LITERALLY doing EVERYTHING he can.
The next two days he was so excited. He was happy he joked around. He talked with members. He said prayers in there homes and even read scriptures with them. He was doing absolutely phenomenal! He even walked into the kitchen as I was getting water and said, “I want to ask someone to be baptized.” Satan may have fought hard on day one, but the God who lives and loves each and every one of us stood firm. He has never changed. He is always near. We all may have to pass through a part of a storm. You might look up and all you see are the clouds all around. The Lord promises, “if though will endure it well, I will exalt the on high.“
I don’t mean to poke or pry or say my little brother’s disability is greater than anybody’s struggle, but will I will boldly say is that he will have it until the day he dies so that the glory of God may be accomplished. That is a blessing to him, me, and you. Most of our struggles will come to an end as we walk day by day, and as we call upon God, I testify as a representative of the Lord Jesus Christ He will come and deliver us. He already has made the sacrifice. Do you believe it? He will abide with you. I have witnessed it first hand. Don’t give up. Trust God.