On December 2, 2011 we were caught completely by surprised when Drew called home and said that his mission call had arrived. Since it wasn't submitted to Salt Lake until the Monday before Thanksgiving, we thought for sure it wouldn't come for at least another week. As you can imagine, it was sheer pandemonium for the next two hours as we tried to get the word out to family and friends and tried to get everything hooked up for the webcast. While we were doing that, Drew ran to the bookstore to get a big map so that he could put a pin where everyone thought he was going. We had scheduled it to start at 8:00 pm Central and after resolving a few technical issues with web browsers, we were able to start a few minutes after that. (If you missed it, you can watch it here.)
Drew hit the high spots as he read the call: California Riverside Mission, report to the MTC on February 29, English speaking. As you can imagine (or see), everyone goes crazy. Carson was the proudest because California had been his pick. No one at the Willis home (where Drew was staying) knew exactly where Riverside is although Grandma Shirley Tonini knew - that was where her first two children were born. Unfortunately, it was a webcast and not a conference call so her explanation stayed in Harrisonburg, Va.
I think most young men want to go foreign but Drew quickly recognized that the call was from the Lord and quickly embraced Riverside as "the best mission in the world." It wasn't until Melissa Willis sent us a scanned copy of his call that we saw that while he is called to teach in English, his mission president does have the ability to alter that should the need arise.
We are so proud of Drew and are grateful for the teachers, friends, and family who have been a positive influence throughout his life. He is a wonderful young man and we are excited to see him continue to grow and develop as he serves a mission.