Vinton Merrill when he was missionary age.
"It will be 60 years this spring since I was released from the German-Austrian mission and traveled alone from Berlin to Rome, Paris, London and Southampton where I boarded a ship with other missionaries returning home from Europe. My subsequent life has been enriched many fold by the mission and travel experiences that I was privileged to enjoy.
I rode a local train over the Brenner pass to Italy. It stopped at a small town somewhere in the Italian Alps. At about midnight the train stopped and they put us off. The station and the rest of the town was buttoned up tight. Besides the train crew, who offered me no assistance, there was only one other person visible. A young man about my own age stepped up to me and in halting English asked me about my situation and offered to put me up for the night. I learned about love of fellow man from an Italian at midnight in a remote village in the Alps. In the morning he fed me and put me on the train and sent me off to Venice and Florence and Rome and Pisa.
I was the only person in the Leaning Tower when I climbed it. Now, I understand, the Tower has been closed to visitors I know you will learn to love the Italian people as I did. May this be your happy lot!"
Picturing this moment in time is priceless to me. I'm so grateful that he took the time to write me, to share this part of his life. I have a lot of saved notes and letters, something that my children will find funny and almost foreign as they grow up in this digital age. Of course we can express our love via email and other social media, but finding written words of love and affection tucked away in a box is such a special thing. It makes me want to write letters, the old-fashioned way.
(ps -- last week Eric had the kids in his Sunday school class write letters to their parents. More than half the kids in the class didn't know how to address a letter properly.)