Wednesday Morning

A bitter-sweet feeling washes over you, as a parent, as your eyes find their way open to the morning light which seems to shine brighter for the servants it awakens today. The day is here. It is now. It is no longer a vision of the future. It is the day your child will leave you – to serve as a full-time missionary for the Lord.

You only have a few, short hours left with them.

A flood of emotions consumes you as you pull the covers off and place your feet on the ground. You walk over to wake up your child – for the last time. You stroke his hair – remembering when you did so when he was a child. The same hair, the same face.


He wakes up and looks at you – and smiles. You smile back.

It’s time.

You carefully iron his white shirt, which was placed out the night before. You, as parents, are quiet while he showers, shaves, and gathers his things.

His father straightens his tie. A father-son, knowing smile is exchanged. His father’s eyes are wet. Your son’s are strong and eager.

You walk out as three. You will come back as two. You remember the night before he was born, when you left the house as two, and came back as three. Only 19 years together. It was not enough.

The drive to the MTC is together exciting and heart wrenching. You feel the excitement take over as the building comes into view. The flags from many nations waving proudly – waiting for your child, beckoning. Here! Come here! Come serve the world! Come serve the Lord!


The burning Spirit of God fills the car. You turn into the MTC, with hundreds of others, to the CURB which has been waiting patiently for your child – for 19 years.

The curb. The place where you will drop off your most precious treasure. The curb you have had pictured in your mind throughout his young life. The curb you have been yearning for him to step onto.

The curb means a lot. The curb means good-bye.

Before your car comes to a complete stop, before your emotions have a chance to take over, a young, smiling suit is there to greet you! He leans in to talk to you before tears have a chance to fall. His smile is infectious! Yours is eager to follow.

The young man in the suit helps you open your car doors, and with a smile as broad as Canada, he exclaims with an outstretched hand, “Welcome Elder!” He embraces your child with warmth, takes his bags and his shaking shoulders into his own confident, loving grasp. And you watch….waiting for those last few seconds.

A few more seconds are all that remain.

Your arms, and those of your child, find each other.  Your face is becomes buried in his neck. His cheek is wet from your kiss and tears of joy and love! You try to be strong!

Then – you let go.

You willingly and lovingly let go.

You raised him, to let him go.


You watch him turn around, face the future, and take those first steps into it!

Your heart leaps and falls simultaneously at the sight of him walking proudly into those years!

Then, your heart settles.

You are at peace.

He has walked into the hands of the Lord.


The following photos are dedicated to all the parents who LET THEIR CHILDREN GO –

to share this wonderful gospel!


HUG2HUG3IMG950060 hug6
















 “A marvelous work is about to come forth among the children of men…!” (D&C 4:1)



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 (If you would like to submit a “hug” photo of your missionary, please send it to Thank you!)
*A special thank you to the many mothers at the “Missionary Mommas” Facebook page who shared their priceless photos!*



  1. Anonymous

    April, what a joy and pleasure it is to read your writings and feel of your spirit!!! And to add to that, YOU and your sweet family are taking care of my boy. To hear and feel of your testimony of the love you have for the gospel and missionary work is truly inspiring. Thank you for welcoming the full time missionaries into your home, for helping hasten the work of The Lord and for caring and loving them like your own. Now I know of whom Elder Olson was speaking of when he had the privilege of having Christmas brunch at your home and calling home to us while sitting in your son’s bedroom. You are an angel and I thank you!! May God continue to bless you, your family, our missionaries and the hastening of the work in the California Santa Rosa Mission and the Lansing, Michigan mission as well as around the world!! You inspire me!!
    Thank you!!
    Melony Olson

    1. April McMurtrey Post author

      Melony, thank you so much for your generous and kind comment! It is my pleasure, you are welcome…..and THANK YOU for all you are doing, especially sharing your son so he can teach those I care about!!!

  2. Janet Chance

    This was such a hard time! I can say that the letters were so important to us and to him. I think it’s wonderful that they use the internet now because you’re not waiting for your mail to arrive to fill you soul with the words that he’s doing well. I love my two boys (men when they returned) for going out to do the Lord’s work. I saw growth that could never have taken place in their lives if they had not left our home. But none the less, it still was a very lonely feeling but the Mother’s Day phone call was the best. To hear their voice and the happiness they expressed made me realize that all is good when you let them fly instead of holding onto them. I will always be Grateful for the experience of letting go and trusting my “Father” with my most precious son’s.
    Now, I think I’ll go take a nap! On my mind sending grandchildren off on missions! What will that be like???
    Janet Chance

  3. Rae Dell

    We had a holding room or parting room years ago. I can see why it’s done at the Curb now. We sent 4 sons and a daughter. Bittersweet is so true. You are wondering if they are homesick at Christmas and come to find out they are to busy doing the Lord’s work and loving it. Joy of serving a mission. Joy of having them home again. But we can never return to the family we had before they left. But through heart aches and struggles that come to us all we love them forever, unconditionally.
    Rae Dell

  4. Phyllis Olive

    I’m crying, not just for the sweet memories of when my own son went off to serve the Lord, but for all the e mothers and fathers who said their sweet goodbys to their sons who went out to serve. Thanks for the memories.

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