Chat with… Francesca Guynn and Ethan Lindberg
NEW CANAAN — She is the youngest of seven and following in the footsteps of her siblings. He is the oldest of four and the first of them to venture on a mission trip.
“(The mission trip) is something I’ve been planning to do for a long time — it felt that it would be way off in the future when I was younger — and it’s really exciting,” Ethan Lindberg, who is originally from Florida, said.
Guynn and Lindberg, both 19, are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, whose members are known as Mormons, and will head off to Mexico and Germany, respectively. Though not required, Mormons are encouraged to volunteer for these mission trips.
Guynn will fly to Mexico City May 22 and Lindberg to Provo, Utah June 6 before flying to Germany for a training program meant to help them prepare for their new country and, primarily, their new languages.
“I took Spanish while in high school but I’m pretty much a beginner,” Guynn said. “I need to work on my language skills.”
Lindberg explained he had a little home field advantage, though one that went back generations.
“I have a bit of a personal connection, some of my ancestors are from there,” Lindberg said.
Guynn’s older siblings have gone to Japan, Canada, Spain, Russia and Brazil for their mission trips. And while they’ve supplied her with countless words of advice, Mexico will be a whole new environment for Guynn.
“I’m really excited and I’ve been preparing mentally for this,” Guynn said. “I had a lot of special opportunities in high school to serve in town and I really up to others and my siblings.”
While abroad, electronic communication won’t be as available for the missionaries because of how the trip is structured. Guynn said that she would be allowed to Skype her parents on Mother’s Day and Christmas. She will have one day a week to write and respond to emails from friends and family.
“My understanding is that the idea of going to a mission is a time to work on our personal relationship with God and though I don’t think there’s a written decree this is meant to help us stay focused on our work and easier for us to focus on things,” Guynn said.
The New Canaan residents both graduated from high school last year and are currently enrolled at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, a private university owned by the Church of Latter-day Saints.
Lindberg is exploring a field in the sciences, possibly pre-medicine but hasn’t fully decided yet. Guynn appeared more confident in pursuing her studies in marketing and finance but also said her thoughts aren’t “set in stone.”
Both are excited about the opportunity to serve their church though they do admit it can be nerve-wrecking, especially in the coming days before they leave for their two-year venture.
“You have to be a bit nervous. I feel like it’s the right place for me to be, it’s a really different experience from anything else and your focus for two years pretty much 24 hours a day, seven days a week. I hope I’m ready for that transition,” Lindberg said.