Sunday, March 29, 2015

March 29, 2015 LAST Post from the Mission!

Our week of LASTS!  Seriously?  Is it over?  20 months come and gone?  Amazing.  Everyone asks me how it feels and honestly - I can't really tell you.  It isn't really real yet.  Maybe when we get on our way home........

Our days this week have been plum full of training and teaching the Thompsons.  They are great people and will do just fine.  They have been really concerned and confused at times this week but have been real troopers and believed in the power of the Lord to help them learn.  It has been very obvious to see how Sister Thompson has been blessed to know and understand her job.  There is a ton to learn and no one can learn it in a week but she has started to trust more and doubt less.  She has seen miracles as she has been able to understand and perform.  I am so proud of her and her great attitude.  Training is tiring and tedious and in the mean time we have to keep the office running.  I had left several things to do this week so that Sister Thompson would have the experience of actually doing them but that left us really busy.  We would both go home pooped and would some how come back the next day raring to go.  It has been a good week at the office and I am starting to feel less needed and able to think about moving on.

Our week started Monday with dinner at Roger's friend,  Craig Dixon and his wife Yolanda.  He is a Stake President here in the mission and a former mission president in Mexico City.  They invited us to eat with them when we first go here and several times in-between.  It was fun to be able to fill them in on our challenges and successes.   We enjoyed being able to think back about how worried we were when we first arrived and how great it has been to serve here and have the assignments we have had.  

At our first dinner with them last year, Craig challenged me with the problems physically that I had been having before coming on our mission.  He gave me great insight and training that I believe has made a huge difference in my ability to cope with those things and to finally come on top of them.  I have felt better since being here because of his tutoring and I feel so blessed to be lead to him and the conversations that we have had.  Missions are like that, you know......  Blessings have come in all shapes and sizes!

On Tuesday at the office, the other Senior Couples and Cheri planned a bit of a going away party.  There was a sign on the wall that the missionaries signed and goodies.  I forgot to take pictures but it was really a hard time to "party."  We were just into our second day of training the Thompsons and each time we took time to hug missionaries one LAST time, they had to just sit and wait.  They didn't know enough to do much of anything.  So we found ourselves running back and forth and were a bit frazzled by the time the day was done.  

Tuesday night was our LAST scripture study class.  It was fun to look around and see the growth in the members of the class.  We have loved it and feel like it was a wonderful thing to do and be a part of!  We will miss those people probably the most!

Roger has been able to get to the beach with many of the people here this last week and have one LAST surf with them.  Friday morning was a mandatory "Board Meeting."  (Board as in surf board!)  The bishop is a life guard and texted Roger to come to this very important meeting Friday morning at 7am!  He does it often with members of the ward and has invited Roger many times but he has always been busy with missionary stuff and couldn't go.  But he decided that he should go this LAST time and had a good time.  He went another time with Tim Tower our dear judge friend here in our ward and others.  He has really enjoyed the surf - I know you are surprised!  I think that it has been a good thing to help others accept him as a real person and to soften to him.  What a great treat the beach as been for Roger.

Friday was a great event.  Many of our dear friends in the ward put together a "surprise farewell party" for us.  Only we knew about it.  But it was great.  We were thinking that about 40 to 50 people showed up for it.  Bart made his famous burritos and everyone else brought wonderful pot luck.  I will do a separate post that shows the pictures from that fun night.  I want to make sure and save pictures of those dear people we love.  It felt like we were getting ready to leave HOME!

Saturday was our LAST baptism here in the ward.  Serey Tap was a street contact.  The missionaries actually met him on the street and started talking to him.  That doesn't happen very often and doesn't usually work that well.  But this time it did.  The ward did their job by fellowshipping him and he was baptized by the main fellowshipper, Brother Frazier. 

Sister Frazier gave the talk at the baptism and then the missionaries showed the new video, "Because He Lives" and gave the Restoration lesson after Serey's baptism.  I was thinking about how sad it was that the missionaries didn't get to baptize Serey but I realized that that is the best way to have things happen.  Serey's best contact in the ward isn't the missionaries who will move on but it is a ward member who he has grown to love.  Perfect!

Roger and David going off
into the beach together one
LAST time!
After the baptism we went for one LAST trip to the beach with Bart and Cheri.  That was their request for our last time together.  We were also able to pick up David from the Institute and have one LAST trip to Black's beach with him before we leave.  Too bad that the waves were just too crazy which didn't make for the best surfing.

Bart, Cheri and I enjoyed just sitting and talking and talking a walk down the beach.  We will miss them and pray for them.  They were inactive when we came and are both looking forward to being sealed in June when we come back!  We have watched them both grow in confidence and testimony.  It has been the most amazing to watch Bart become committed.  He used to be a bit shy and wouldn't look anyone in the eyes.  He now is so involved, volunteers for prayers, is always hugging and helping others etc. It has been so great to see the gospel transform him in to a happier, more confident man.  We hope the ward does their job in keeping them involved but we feel confident that they are stable.  Cheri is now in the Relief Society presidency and Bart is the best Ward Cleaning Coordinator you have ever met!

David, Roger, Cheri and Bart
Saturday night was the Women's Conference Session.  There were around 50 women and girls who showed up and they had a nice little mix and mingle afterwards.  I really was amazed that there were that many because everyone can just stay home and watch it on their computer or TV.

I went with Veronica - one of the ladies I have worked with while here.  One LAST outing with her.  She loved the meeting and the people after and it was a good thing for her to go to.

The Young Women's provided the goodies and the Relief Society had tables with fruit, cheeses and cracker and meat balls.  A nice combo and it was fun to sit around and talk to so many we have grown to love while here.  We have many people from the 12th ward who we served for a while and it was fun connect with them too.  
As we walked out of the
building after the Women's
Conference we were
blessed with this!

Today was our LAST 7am Ward Council, our LAST Sacrament meeting, our LAST Gospel Principles class to teach, our LAST church meeting as missionaries!  OK I finally started to realize that it was our last of all of these things and cried a bit.  It was a great day!  Everyone is so sweet to us and we have enjoyed hugging and saying good-bye.  Yesterday the ward mission leader asked me to teach the Gospel Principle class.  I had basically no time to prepare but was inspired to be able to give a sweet lesson on the Atonement with so many of the class participating and sharing.  I sang in the choir for one LAST time and was the only alto!  They will have to start recruiting I guess.  It was the deaf branch's turn to run the Sacrament meeting and it was so sweet to see our blind and deaf members sign the sacrament prayer.  It was a great LAST!  I will miss the spirit of those sweet deaf people.  That has been a wonderful treat to be able to have them with our ward while here.

Tonight we will go to a member's home for desserts.  Tomorrow we will train the Thompsons, then Roger will get off to surf with others in the ward who wanted one LAST time with him.  Monday night we have been invited to a BBQ by some great friends.  Tuesday is the LAST staff meeting at the office with the mission president at 9 am.  Also it is P day for the missionaries and we will hang around a bit and say good bye to them.  Tuesday afternoon will be spent cleaning and packing our apartment.  And Wednesday we are off!  Thursday morning we will meet with the Stake President and we released.

We can't hardly believe what a great experience our mission has been!  Never in our wildest imaginations would we have been able to dream what this would be like.  We have loved doing it together and being able to concentrate on serving the Lord.  I can't imagine missing this opportunity to serve in this way.  The gospel is true.  I know that because I have seen so many miracles that have come as we try to move this work forward.  I am grateful for my testimony and the blessing of being able to KNOW deep in my heart and have conviction.  My testimony has grown and my love for my Savior has deepened.  The gospel is the best way to live life.  There are so many problems that will be solved if the gospel precepts are lived.  There is peace that is ours as we travel through hard times.  Support and strength are around every corner.  There is no need to feel alone when we have a testimony burning in our hearts.  I know this with every fiber of my being.  I love the Lord and the sweet peace that fills my heart as I say that.

Three more days...............

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