Jeff was set apart for his mission on Tuesday, January 19 at 6:30 p.m. in the high council room of the Salem West Stake center. In attendance were President Roy Silcox, President Eric Weight, Jeff, Grandma Sharron, Grandma Ruby, Aunt Trina, Tammy, Sharee, Tyler, Sean, Rhett Nance, Dallin Jack, and me. President Weight conducted and asked Tammy to give an opening prayer. Afterward he asked me to say a few words as Jeff's bishop.
I reviewed some things from a talk by President James E. Faust called What I Want My Son to Know Before He Leaves on His Mission. I only had about 3-5 minutes to talk so I covered: (1) The idea that Jeff is called as a representative of the Savior Jesus Christ and will wear His name on his badge each day. (2) Work is more important than intellect. It is important to work hard on a mission to be happy. (3) Testimony is the most important "arrow in his quiver."
President Weight read from 3 Nephi Chapter 11 beginning in verse 32. He taught Jeff that being a missionary is easy. He just needs to do what the Savior would do, say what the Savior would say, and teach what the Savior would teach. He then told Jeff, "I know that you can do it!"
President Silcox talked how he lived in Raleigh, North Carolina and that the whole time he was there only knew a small handful of Spanish speaking people. He was surprised when Jeff received his mission call to Raleigh to speak Spanish (Jason Carrick who lives in our stake and just returned from the same mission estimated that there are 40 Spanish speaking missionaries in that mission). He then talked about Lehi in the Book of Mormon and about how Jeff would be teaching his descendents. He talked about how Lehi was a visionary man. He said that Jeff was foreordained in the pre-existence to serve in the Raleigh, North Carolina mission. He said, "I believe that you said, 'Here I am, send me to North Carolina to speak Spanish.'"
President Silcox then set Jeff apart as a missionary. He gave Jeff a great blessing. Two of Jeff's best friends since kindergarten, Rhett Nance and Dallin Jack, were there and since they hold the Melchizedek priesthood were able to stand in the circle as Jeff was set apart. Following are pictures of the three together at different times in their life.
Before heading to bed that night, Jeff, Tyler, and I got in one last guitar jam session and then Jeff wrestled his brothers.