A little background is in order. Tyler came home from BYU mid June. His missionary papers went in the Sunday he came home, which was the first day he was allowed to submit them (120 days before his 19th birthday. As of last month the minimum age for male missionaries is now 18). We knew that he would end up having at least 3-4 months at home before he’d leave on his mission so a job was definitely going to be needed! Not only to fill the bank account, but also to fill his schedule so that he did not languish in those months.
Our friends Chad and Eva Payne run a nonprofit organization, Project Kindle which operates summer camps for kids impacted by HIV. The week Tyler came home they were running a day camp for kids with special needs. I volunteered Tyler to be a camp counselor.
Little did we know. It was the start of something BIG. Our lives will forever be changed.
Eva offered Tyler a project. For pay! It was a grown up project, updating a book that is used to educate people on HIV. He loved it. He would go to the Project Kindle office in the morning, coach JV football at the high school in the afternoon, come home for dinner, and then go to the Paynes to tutor or help stuff mailers for Kindle. He’d come home late and repeat again the next day. When we drove to Utah in October he brought his work with him. Later he also crammed in some hours working with a tile contractor friend of ours. Every minute lived. I’ve never seen him happier.
In the process, our families became tied together through our mutual love for this
boy young man. They have enormous hearts and are generous to a fault. They showered him with love and praise and love and gifts! and more love.
It is the greatest joy when someone else sees in your son the things that you see.
This was Tyler’s last day at church before entering the MTC. I love this picture of Eva because she is trying so hard to smile through it but you can also see the tenderness and struggle for composure. Although they had known Tyler well for years, in the last months he had become one of their own.
There’s a lot of Tyler to go around so it’s easy to share. It feels like there really is someone else out there who really knows how much we miss him. We love the Payne family.