[Post by the Editor]
Caleb was set apart to be a missionary by President Lunt at about 3:00 Monday afternoon at the Stake Center in Champaign. He had spent the week prior packing and getting his room packed up, and so he was able to spend most of the rest of the day enjoying time with the family.
On Tuesday, he flew out of Bloomington at 10:50 AM to Chicago and on to Salt Lake. Nathan and Gideon skipped school in the morning, Taryn took off from work, and we all went to the airport to say our goodbyes, and watch Elder Tonkinson get through security. Though two years has always seemed fast when other people’s sons have been on missions, it seems like a long time when it is your son.
Mark and Whitney met Elder Tonkinson at the airport, and they attended the Salt Lake Temple together. He stayed with them for the night, and they made homemade pasta together for dinner, something that Caleb had gotten quite good at in the weeks preceding his departure. Mark and Whitney took Elder Tonkinson out for lunch and then to the Missionary Training Center (MTC) about 1:00 PM, where they saw their cousin, Elder Cody Booher, who was one of the more experienced missionaries greeting the new missionaries in the drop-off area. (If you are interested in what the arrival process is like and the MTC in general, BYU TV produced a very good segment about it called “Army of Faith: Inside the MTC” that you can watch.)
We are grateful he arrived safely and that he accepted the call to serve.