BY MELINDA WILLIAMS
Clipper Staff Writer
WOODS CROSS – Forty-five graduating seniors in the Woods Cross class of 2013 received calls to serve missions for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints before donning cap and gown this spring.
Another 20 have submitted their papers.
It’s the first time in memory that high school students have been eligible for missions, because the church changed its policy in October, 2012 to allow 18-year-olds into the field.
Graduate William Willes decided to acknowledge that important milestone by taking videos of his classmates as they opened their mission calls. He compiled them into one 11-minute clip and posted it on YouTube.
“I have a lot of school pride and I thought it would be cool to show everyone getting their calls,” Willes said.
In so doing, he joined a trend: Videos of young missionaries opening their calls are popping up all over social media sites.
Willes’ video shows the excitement, trepidation, tears and joy of each missionary, his family and friends as they celebrate calls to locales worldwide.
Several of the young men laughed as they read the letters from the church, and many spoke only the words “elder” and their last name before chocking up.
Spencer Tribe, for example, wiped away tears and could hardly speak as he read that he was going to the Australia, Brisbane mission, and best friends Jeff Giles and Jake Brown were ecstatic as they learned each would serve in the Kobe, Japan mission.
To make the video, Willes asked his classmates to text him with information on when they were opening their call.
He couldn’t be there for each missionary, so part of the video shows photos of missionaries-to-be and a message about their assignment. Others were left out.
“They’ll all represent Woods Cross in a good way,” Willes said.
Some Woods Cross graduates called to serve have already left for the Missionary Training Center, even though they only just graduated. Most will leave within the next couple of months.
Willes plans on getting a jump on his education by attending Brigham Young University until he submits his mission papers, which he plans to do in August.
He’s looking forward to serving and sees it as a fun and spiritual experience, he said. He would like to serve a humanitarian mission in Ethiopia or Uganda, but isn’t too worried about it, he said: “I’ll be good with wherever they send me.”
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