Tuesday, May 10, 2016

My First Mother's Day in the Mission

I can truly say I've only had about 2 days of homesickness on our mission, and I think I wrote about those many months ago.  But last week, I had a couple of 'pangs' of just wanting to be home for special events in our family.  Mike graduated from the University of Utah on Thursday and we were so proud of him and it really tugged at my heart to not be there to hug him in person and tell him how much we loved him.  Yes, you can say it on the phone--but it's just not the same as being there in person.  And then our youngest grandson, Beck, turned 1.  We have had birthdays for 4 other grandsons which we have missed--and even though we can face time the event, I still just want to hug them all and squeeze them!  So, those are some of the sacrifices I guess.  But, in spite of that, I am so grateful to be here serving the Lord and trying to be an instrument in His hands as we lead and guide these missionaries that we love.  I have a testimony of our Savior, and that He lives and loves us.  If I didn't have that, I couldn't be here.
We were able to attend two different Zone Training Meetings last week--the Calgary West Zone, and the Calgary Zone.  Both were great meetings with a strong spirit present, and we were just so impressed with our zone leaders and what they had prepared, and also with those they had asked to do other trainings.  I am so proud of our missionaries and how they are growing in their faith and testimony and for what they are learning.  They have no idea how it will bless their lives forever!
On Friday afternoon we followed the counsel of the general authorities at our Mission Presidents Seminar two weeks ago and actually took a little p-day afternoon!  We went to Banff and went on a little hike up Stewart's canyon.  As we were driving there along side the road were two huge bighorn sheep just moseying along the road!  I was so dang excited!  I have been looking for those ever since we got here!  Of course we stopped to get a few pictures.  On the way to the hike, which is by Lake Minnewanka, we passed Two Jack Lake which is incredibly beautiful.  It was fun to see scenery we hadn't seen before.  And to be able to get outside and hike was sooo therapeutic!  We have some fabulous country up here, and I love being able to see bits and pieces here and there when we have time.  It was so warm in Banff it was unbelievable...almost 88 degrees!
Sunday of course was Mother's Day, and you know what that means for our missionaries--Phone calls!  They were given one hour to call home, and they were pretty excited about it.  It was my first Mother's day here, and again, it was a bit hard for me to be away from my kids.  But, it was also a great day because the little gal named Cach (who I met in Nordstrom clear last November when I was buying Steve a tie) came to church with us!  We have been keeping  in touch with her ever since we taught her the first lesson last January and gave her a copy of the Book of Mormon.  Well, two weeks ago we decided to go into Nordstrom again (under the guise of buying a tie), but mostly to see if she was working.  When we walked in I didn't even see her, but she came running right up to us to say Hi.  We talked for a bit and she told us she still has the Book of Mormon under her pillow--but she hasn't read it yet.  She told us she tried to download it on her phone because she does better at listening than reading--but what she ended up downloading was the music from the musical!  She said, "I thought it didn't seem right!"  So, we showed her how to download the Book of Mormon onto her phone.  After we left her, we realized that we could actually be in the ward on Mother's day where she would attend if she should come because we wouldn't have a stake conference.  So, I texted her and invited her to church.  She texted right back and said, 'yes I'd love to.'  So, I prayed the whole week that she really would come.  She suffers from some anxiety, and so this is a big deal for her to commit to something she knows nothing about.  So we picked her up on Sunday and she came with us.  We ended up sitting right behind two families that each had 4 young boys--so you can imagine the chaos.  I was pretty nervous about how she would react, and if she would even be able to hear and concentrate on the speakers.  She liked the fact that the sacrament was bread and water, instead of wine.  She realized that by being water the young children could even partake.  Our sister missionaries serving in that ward sat with us and were able to meet her, which was great.  Following the meeting she told me she really liked how the speakers could speak so sincerely and tell 'their own stories'.  She has been used to a paid minister preaching...so to just hear regular people from the congregation speak was a new experience for her.  She really liked it.  We also explained to her that she could attend a ward with just young adults her age in it, and that she might enjoy that more, because there would be many she could relate to.  She seemed really interested in that...so that is my next step--to get her to the YSA ward.  As we were driving away in the car, our sister missionaries that actually serve in the YSA ward were just pulling up, so we stopped and introduced Cach to them and they gave her their card.  It was all just perfect.  So, now I am praying that we can get her to the YSA ward!  She is such a sweet gal, and is looking for more in her life and trying to figure life out.  I just know how much the gospel would bless her and I want so badly for her to have it in her life.  So, pray for Cach!
Sunday afternoon our assistants came to have a short meeting with Steve and then have dinner with us.  They both wrote me a sweet Mother's Day letter which really touched me; and they gave me a pen with the words 'Costa Rica' on it.  Elder Cervantes is from Costa Rica--and he is so proud of where he came from--so he was pretty excited to give me this pen.  I also received a couple of other notes from missionaries and many texts wishing me Happy Mother's Day.  So, it was a happy day, even without being able to hug my kids.  I know many mothers don't enjoy Mother's Day because they feel they don't measure up to what the 'perfect mother' is--but really, where is that elusive perfect mother?  She doesn't exist!  We are all moms just trying to do our best!  But, motherhood has been the greatest, most wonderful blessing in my life.  I look at the joy I have had and it is impossible to describe it.  I am so grateful for my wonderful children--I look up to each one of them!  And when I say children, I am including my in-law children.  They are such a great blessing to me and our family.
Sunday evening we had 3 of our sister missionaries come to our home to face time with their families.  So it was fun to be in on their excitement.  When they were finished they sang a song they had written for us--Sister Tilley played the ukulele and then Sisters Dean and Smartt sang along with her.  It was a hoot--and so creative.  I love sister missionaries, they are so funny.
So, we had a great week, and now look forward to our Zone Conference where we go to the temple.
Zone training meeting with the Calgary West Zone

Zone training meeting with the Calgary Zone-this is the high council room in the stake center  where  N. Eldon Tanner was the Stake President-- in the back ground you can see downtown Calgary

The last of the birthday bags ready to go for zone conferences

Mike and Jillian at graduation!! Way to go Mike!

The bighorn sheep in Banff!

Two Jack Lake in Banff

Mother's Day flowers from the kids!

The 6 cutest grandsons ever!  Drewbie, Finn, Miles, Beck, Wyatt, Sam--celebrating Beck's first birthday.

Beck enjoying his birthday cake!

Sisters Smartt, Tilley and Dean after making their phone calls.

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