Less than three weeks after touching down on U.S. soil after a two-year absence in El Salvador, Calvin Fairbairn will say goodbye to his younger brother who will follow in his footsteps by serving a two-year mission in Brazil.
The brothers, Calvin, 21, and Jake, 19, of Huntersville, are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, also known as Mormons. As a commitment to their faith, they have chosen to teach the gospel for two years.
In the minimal time the brothers had together, they spent time with their family and helped local missionaries in Huntersville. They also used the time to reflect and encourage each other.
“When I heard that Jake was going on a mission while I was still on mine, it was probably the best news I could have gotten,” Calvin said.
Calvin’s example encouraged Jake’s decision to serve.
“When I was reading Calvin’s emails, seeing the change in him as he was serving the people of El Salvador, it made me want to have that change in myself,” Jake said. “There is a lot of things I need to improve on, and I know that going on a mission is a great way to set aside the time and put forth the effort to serving the Lord and giving back.’’
Missionaries help strengthen congregations by supporting members and teaching people who are just learning about the church. Missionary service is unpaid and voluntary.
When Mormons go on a mission, they preach the gospel from 6:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., Calvin said.
“We prepare ourselves by studying the scriptures in the morning hours, and then after that, we are knocking on doors, meeting with friends of members of the church, and teaching lessons to those interested in learning more,” Calvin said. “We try to help people come unto Christ. We also do a lot of service and help in the community.”
Jake reported to the Mission Training Center on July 31. He will learn Portuguese there as well as other critical skills for his mission.
The Fairbairn brothers will flip-flop in another respect. Jake just returned from his first year of college at Brigham Young University. Calvin has plans to attend BYU this fall.