Then on Wednesday morning we do more training with them beginning at 9:00 until about 11:30 or so--then lunch, and then the moment they are really waiting for--meeting their trainers! I think then they feel like their mission has really begun--as they drive off with their first companion and head to their new area. They are excited and nervous all at once. I love seeing this happen...the trainers are excited to meet their new companion and get to know them--and in reality, the trainers are nervous, too. They want to do a good job as a trainer, and so they always have a little anxiousness about them, too. So, by 1:30 they are all gone to their areas. Then I start washing sheets! ha ha! And tablecloths and get ready for the missionaries that will stay on Thursday night and get the table ready for the departing missionaries dinner on Thursday as well.
Thursday is transfer day and we have gotten it down so it goes quite smoothly now! We meet at the Willowpark Building parking lot where the ones being transferred come get their new companion and head out; and the ones being transferred south hop in the van to head to Lethbridge. We then get them down to Lethbridge (2 hours south) and they meet up with their new companions and head out, and then we bring the remaining ones that need to come north back up to Calgary and send them off!
Then, we take the missionaries that are going home on Friday to the temple. This has really become a special time. This time we only had 4 missionaries going home! Two elders and two sisters. So we were all able to ride in a truck together to go to the temple. They have such a mix of emotions at this point--so excited to see their families, and yet so sad to leave good friends and their mission behind. It really is a tender time. Following our session at the temple, President Guenther, of the temple presidency took us into a small sealing room and just spoke with them about their lives ahead, and encouraging them to be in the temple often, and how it will bless their lives. It is so special to sit in that sealing room with them. I love seeing our missionaries in their temple robes. Steve also took just a few minutes to express some thoughts of love to them and then we all went and got dressed and drove back to the mission home for another delicious dinner made by Natasha.
Following dinner we have our own little testimony meeting together which is also very special. I love hearing the final testimony of these missionaries. To hear how they have grown in the gospel, and how much they love the Savior and have come to feel of His atonement in their lives is pretty incredible. I am always so proud of them. That's how we want them to go home--rock solid in their testimony of the Savior and His gospel.
Friday morning we got them all to the airport and sent them off to meet their families! Thinking of that is what helps me not cry so much as I say good-by to them. We have just grown to love them so much.
This weekend we participated in the Fort Macleod Stake Conference with President Poytress and Elder and Sister Spackman. We were with Elder and Sister Spackman last weekend, too, so it was fun to be together again. Steve and I both spoke at the Saturday evening session for just a few minutes. After the session the Poytress' invited us to their home for a bite to eat, and that was fun to spend time with them and get to know them better. They shared with us the story of their 12 year old son who died because of a hockey accident. As he was playing, a puck was hit and it hit him right in the back of the neck below his helmet. It was just a freak accident. They told us that he was flown to Calgary to the Children's hospital there, and as they were driving up, Sister Poytress could see in her mind herself standing in a funeral line. She said she knew then that their son wouldn't survive. When they got to the hospital and he passed away, they decided they wanted to donate his organs, so they did. Quite awhile later, a woman came into Pres. Poytress' office and told him that she thought her son had his son's kidney. They talked about the date when they received a call that there was a kidney available and where, and it was the same day that the Poytress' son passed away. President and Sister Poytress said it was such a tender mercy to know that their loss had saved someone else's life. Years later this same family invited the Poytress' to their son's wedding! What an incredible story...it made me realize again that so many people go through very difficult challenges and trials, and yet they can be buoyed up by their faith in Jesus Christ. He will carry them through it all. I am so grateful for the knowledge I have of our Savior and Redeemer.
We have learned to love participating in these stake conferences because of many things--first of all because of the wonderful people we are able to meet and become friends with, and also because of the wonderful spirit that is at each one. I am always uplifted by them and touched by the speakers.
We feel it is a real blessing to be able to attend so many.
Following the Sunday session of the conference we left and drove to Claresholm to watch one of our elders sing in a community choir performance held at the local Catholic church there. It was a great program, with many wonderful musical numbers. It has become a great thing in that town to have the LDS people join in and participate in the choir. In fact their pianist was the local LDS bishop's wife, and one of the soloists was a beautiful teenage girl that actually had just spoken as a youth speaker in the morning session of Stake Conference. It was really fun to attend and we were able to meet the pastor of the church and also the choir director, who loves the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Mack Wilberg! It was a great Sunday!
|Our new missionaries at the airport!|
|New missionary luggage in our garage|
|Elders Jewkes, Parker, Austin & Dolinar-(our new missionary)|
|Elder Weidner (center) with his new companions, Elders Cartwright & Wright|
|Elder Miller and Weidner saying good-bye|
|Elder Tate (new) & Elder McLaren ready to go!|
|Transfer day--Lethbridge East elders loading up!|
|At the temple with our departing missionaries|
|Our departing missionaries with the assistants one last time--|
Sisters Morgan and Perrero, Elders Hensen, Christensen, Farnsworth & Cervantes
|Elder Condie singing in the Claresholm Community Choir-of course the only one in a white shirt!|