After all this, I get busy washing 24 sheets and pillowcases and tablecloths, to be ready for round 2 on Thursday night! Thursday morning we begin transfers with all the missionaries..at least those who are being transferred to different areas. We load up the ones who are being transferred south into the van and their luggage in the trailer and off they go. Then we all head to Lethbridge to unload them, have them meet their companion and get on their way. Then we collect the ones that need to come north and load them up in the van, and back to Calgary we go! We get them delivered to their new companions, and off they go to their new areas. Then, we take the missionaries that will departing on Friday to the temple. As I have said before, this is such a special time--to be in the temple with these wonderful missionaries. I love seeing them all dressed in white. We just feel this is the perfect way to send them home--to have been in the temple, and remembering all the blessings and power that come from their temple covenants to bless them as they begin this new chapter of their lives.
We got back from the temple and had dinner about 7:30 (again another yummy dinner made by Natasha). Following dinner we go downstairs for our own little 'fireside' with them. We watch a conference address by Elder Robert D. Hales, where he addressed young adults on issues pertaining just to them, and it is perfect for our returning missionaries. Following that we have a testimony meeting, which is always so special and tender. It is so amazing to hear the faith and testimonies each of these missionaries have in their Savior. They have truly come to know Him on their missions in a way they never would have. It is really a sweet night.
After our fireside, we let them finish packing up--we weigh their bags, and if they are over 50 pounds then they do some shuffling to get them under weight! Or they do some 'throwing away', ha ha!
Then they are off to bed--I don't know how well they sleep on this last night of their mission! Although, Sister Schell told me it was her best night of sleeping her whole mission! I know that most of them don't have much of an appetite on Thursday during the day--a little anxiety I think, about going home. Then, Friday morning we gather in the mission home living room and sing one last time, "I Know that my Redeemer Lives", and we kneel while Steve offers one last prayer with them. This is always a very spiritual time, and quite a few tears are shed. Then it's off to the airport to send them home! I just always think of their families and how excited they are to welcome that son or daughter home--that is what gets me through my sadness of saying good-bye.
This past week we also had the difficult task of informing one of our missionaries, actually one of our visa-waiting missionaries- Elder Poirier, that his mother had passed away. He knew when he left that this would most likely happen..but it is another thing when it does. We had him at the mission home on Wednesday to call his family as they were all gathered at his mother's bedside. Our hearts ached for him as we knew he was saying good-bye to his angel mother. I was just so amazed at his faith and strength. Then on Thursday morning early, we received the call from his grandmother that his mom had passed away. Steve had to call him with the news...it was especially tender for Steve since he had just experienced losing his own dad--so he could completely relate to how Elder Poirier was feeling. We were so grateful he had absolutely wonderful companions to help him. And we were grateful that we would be able to meet with him again on Thursday afternoon at transfers. To see this sweet elder just lose his mom, yet display the faith that he had was nothing short of a miracle. He is the only active child in his family. Only he, his parents and grandmother, are active. And yet he could see that the hearts of his siblings were being softened through this experience, and he is so hopeful for their return to the gospel. On Tuesday this elder will be flying to his 'real' mission in Longbeach, California. We will miss him--he has been a wonderful missionary. We are so grateful for the short time that we had him here with us, and wish him all the best in his other mission. He told us that he was praying that if his mom had to go, that she would go while he was serving in our mission because he wanted to be with his two companions, Elder Stringam and Elder Purvis, because of the great friendship they have, and the love they have for one another. So, I think he was blessed with that tender mercy. I know Heavenly Father is so mindful of each of us.
|Our 18 new missionaries!|
|Dinner for the new missionaries|
|The sisters getting ready for bed at the mission home.|
|So ready to sleep!|
|New missionaries trying to guess where they will be going in the mission.|
|Departing missionaries at the temple|
|One last picture with our cute sisters that are leaving us.|
|The baptism of Jan Langell by her husband Steve, who was just recently activated.|
Elders Petrucka, Taylor and Robbins--who she calls her '3 Musketeers".