Monday, November 3, 2014

Mission Accomplished

As we come to the close of our mission, there are many things         we're going to miss, and a few things we won't...
We will miss the missionaries hanging around the mission office.
They are by far the best part of serving a mission.
We will miss Bishop Sundberg from the Tustin Meadows Ward.
This fine bishop is everything a bishop should be.

Ken will not miss having to deal with missionary's traffic violations.
Because the church does not want missionaries showing up at court with their
name tags on, Ken became the ticket master.
We will miss Elder Lomu. He is our favorite miracle missionary and has shown us
how the gospel of Jesus Christ changes people, as we have watched it change him.
We are still trying to decide if we will miss naughty
missionaries who do their very best annoy us.
We will miss all of the wonderful children in the Tustin Meadows Ward.
(This little guy was my favorite.)
We will not miss the commute or the traffic. 

We will miss Elder Leon.
(Another miracle missionary, but his change took place before his mission.) 

Not sure if we will or won't miss missionaries taking selfies with our cell phones.
(But since we love these two so much, we will probably miss even that.)
Transfers are such a crazy time at the mission office! There are so many missionaries coming and going, and then we have to say goodbye to the departing ones...but then we get to say hello to the new ones. Its a will and won't miss.

We will definitely miss Sister Grant, Elder Komura, Elder Anderson, and Sister Montgomery.
(They were the real missionaries in the Tustin Meadows Ward.)
Going to miss these three more than words can say...Sister Dono, Sister Collins, and Sister Rowe.
We came on board and wrapped up at the same time. 
Sister Whitney...she always made us smile.
Brad Love...another miracle of the mission.
Going away party at Rubios.
Brad & Marty (Couldn't have a blog without her.)
Sister Grant. xoxoxo
So grateful for all the love and goodness we experienced on our mission. A special shout out to Karin Rogers (second on left). She was always standing by to take professional photos and serve in any way she of the most generous and tender hearted people I have ever met. 
How will we survive not hanging out with the likes of these?
We will miss them all!
On a side note, once our replacements arrived and before our mission ended,
we headed to Park City for a family reunion.
(I was trying to limbo under the gate and failed.)

With all the fall family birthdays, my family put together a surprise birthday party for Luke, Aja, and me. Sonna made these amazing pinatas' and filled them with things each of us loved.
Luke's was full of assorted candy, Aja's was full of red licorice,
and mine was full of floss, tooth paste, and tooth brushes. 
The triple suprise birthday party was also a Halloween costume party.
Here we are all dressed up and no place to go.
Back row: Jonah, Poem, Ana, Camden, Ken, Sloan, Sonna, Ruthie, Hawkin, Tyler, and Jerica
Front row: Max, Elsie, Aja, Ezra, Luvy, Luke, Reggie, and Riley

Mission Accomplished! 
We will miss wearing our name tags. There is something about them that helps you remember
who you are and what you stand for.

Serving our mission has blessed our lives beyond measure.
We are so very grateful for the opportunity that the Lord has provided for us to serve, and so
thankful that we get to be companions for ever and always.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Coming Down the Home Stretch

In less than two months, we will begin training our replacements at the California Anaheim Mission Office. Most days its hard to believe we have been on our mission for sixteen months, and then some days it seems like we've been there forever. ;) It has been a remarkable experience and has strengthened our faith in the Savior and our testimony of the truthfulness of His restored gospel. Even with puny humans like us at the helm, the work moves forward and miracles happen. The church is true! 
Here are a few glimpses of the past few months...

Elder Max Wade completed his two year mission in April. Elder Ken Wade took a few days off from the mission office to drive to St George to pick him up. Here is Max with President and Sister Center, his mission president & wife,
...some of his fine fellow missionaries,

...a good bishop.

...and his dad, with Stake President Wilson and wife.

This is an original copy of an original Book of Mormon that Joseph Smith 
gave to the Wilson's grandfather.
Welcome home party with Savannah, Bekah, Conda and friends in Dana Point.
Our walk to the beach. So happy to have Max home.

On the drive home through Las Vegas, the Elder Wades picked up Ruthie. Her parents were going on a celebratory dental school graduation cruise and we were the lucky tenders of this future missionary. She was excited to work with me in the office.
A break from work for a run to Target.
We also set up an obstacle course as a diversion for her during the day. 
She's a darn good roller-blader.
Ruthie helped the sisters with their studies...
by plastering them with stickers.
Sister Meza...such a good sport.
Sister Toronto, and even better sport. 
Ruthie's snail collection.  

The highlight of Ruthie's visit was our attendance at the Multi-Mission Conference in Newport. Over 400 missionaries from both the Irvine and Anaheim Missions were there, including Ruthie's cousin, Elder Robison who is serving in Irvine. Neil L. Anderson, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, was the speaker. At the end of the conference we all were able to shake his hand. As the only child there, Ruthie was pretty special and he took a few minutes to chat with her. I hope she will remember this event in years to come. I know I will never forget it. My favorite quote from Elder Anderson was, "If you can't bring others to baptism, as least bring them to a place of greater faith." May we do our best to lift the faith of others from all faiths and draw them closer to Christ. 
Blurry good-bye to Elder Weymouth, one of our AP's. So sad to see him go. 

And good-bye to one of the best...Elder Vincent. 
The most difficult part of a mission is saying good-bye.
Ana and family were here in June for a fun visit. 
Ana was a huge help in the office for the few days she was there. 
Not sure why I don't have more pictures of the others. We had so much fun! 
I took a day off from work and we went to Knott's Berry Farm. It is always a party when Aja and crew come to town. (I was probably having too much fun to think about taking pictures.) 

This is a random insert...we went to Vegas for Sloan's graduation from dental school. We attended Ruthie's last soccer game and Riley was there. 
So good to see and hold the little peanut.

Good-bye Bowens!
Mission presidents and their wives serve as volunteers for three years. Until I served this mission, I had no idea how incredibly demanding their job is. Brad and Valerie Bowen served with honor, dignity, and incredible love.
They are sorely missed, but I'm happy they can finally rest from their labors. 
In honor of their departure, the missionaries put together a surprise good-bye Luau. It was incredible...they even managed to come up with a roasted pig!  
Every missionary in the mission was there and best of all, the Bowens were totally surprised.  
The food, dancing, and program were over the top.
The Polynesians stole the show.
I wish this picture was more clear...or better yet, a video. At the end of the Luau, all of the Samoan and Tongan Elders performed the Haka.  It was "epic"! 

Elder Contreras giving a highly risky good-bye hug to Sister Bowen. Wait until PB finds out!
This is pretty much my normal expression. 
"You need me to do what?"
Another random insert, new grand baby, Hawkin Tyler Fegert. 
Born June 20 in Las Vegas. He's perfect. 
Elder Joshua Christensen, who is always saving my bacon with computer problems.

And his delightful companion, Elder Snider.
Elder Wade took on the very ambitious project of disposing of over 30 mission bikes we had accumulated in the past year. He is happy to report he only has 8 left to sell and the storage 
unit is almost empty. Go Elder Wade!

Hello Taggarts!
The same day we said good-bye to the Bowens, we said hello to President and Sister Taggart. We instantly fell in love with them and have done our best to help them figure things out. These good people have put their lives on hold to come and serve for three amaze me!
President Steve Taggart
Sister Teresa Taggart.  She is a gem!
Elder Wade working on his Facebook post.

Saying good-bye to Sister Morley with Sister Ballard.
(All blond jokes would totally apply to the three of us.)

Sister Nnah on the right...she makes my cheeks hurt from laughing.

Another highly risky good-bye hug from Elder Contreras. 
(Its his last day...what are they going to do, send him home?)

And one from Elder Brooks too. 
I was grumpy for three days after these two left. 

It makes me teary just looking at these pictures.
Its difficult to express how much we love our missionaries.
They are the very best part of serving a mission.

Elder this guy. Everyday he came into the office, he would ask me to sing a song he had never heard before. (I started to run out around #50.) 

Elder Karn, Elder Snider, Elder Lewis and Elder Beutler.

A Glamour magazine was inadvertently mailed to the office. I tore out all of the perfume samples and assigned these missionaries the task of helping me find a new scent. It was hysterical. 

Hangin' out...the Elder in jeans is dressed for a service project. 

Sister Ballard, Sister Budge, Sister May, Sister Nnah, Sister Biffath, and Sister Witham.

Sister Spence...or should we call her Sister Stellar? 

These two finally had to part as Sister Smack was heading home. Sister Pendleton,
is still with us and a major component of our ASL program.

I hope this gives you a taste of what its like 
to serve a senior couple mission.
It's difficult and exhausting, 

but I would do it again in a heart beat.