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.
|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.
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!
|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 Curtis...love 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?|