In February of 2014, Declan sat in Jonzzey's Cafe at Southern Virginia University surrounded by his friends, his grandparents video chatting on an iPhone, and us video chatting on the iPad as he anxiously awaited opening his mission call. We happened to be at a high school soccer game that night, so it seemed like everything was working against us as we tried to get our technology linked up. I was feeling particularly frustrated because nothing seemed to be working and it was so chaotic. After what felt like forever, we got everything working at the same time and Declan was finally able to rip open his letter and see what his future held. (Side note- Declan is not good with surprises at all. On Christmas we have learned not to have gifts delivered or bought until the last few days before Christmas or he will search the house looking for hidden gifts and open wrapped gifts and then rewrap them. I had sent him a package which contained a small gift for him to open each day of December from the Christmas Elf, and he opened every one of them the first day. Knowing that he would not be able to wait until evening to open his call when we could all be there with him, he decided ahead of time that when he got his call he would give it directly to his roomate who would keep it in his possession until the appointed time.). He began to read his call:
You are hearby called to serve as a missionary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. You are assigned to labor in the Chile Santiago West Mission.
Everything after that was chaos. Screaming from the people around me, screaming from all of the friends in Jonzzey's, and then screaming from me because I COULDN'T HEAR WHAT HE SAID. After a couple seconds it calmed down enough for me to hear it as he repeated it. Chile. Chile. My baby was headed to Chile. He'll be able to speak spanish with his daddy. Santiago, Chile. We asked people to guess where he was going to win a prize. We had close to 100 guesses. Three guessed Chile- my brother Andrew, Chantel Grubelnik, and Nick Gorgio. Chile. I was so excited for him, but honestly that was a country that had never crossed my mind.