And then our family came to visit...it was the first time Steve had seen some of our grandsons, and one son-in-law, Neil, in a year. I have been able to see them all because of traveling down to SLC for Steve's dad's funeral in February. So, it was one happy reunion!
We asked our assistants to come teach a little 'mini' lesson to our little grandsons on Sunday evening--and it was so great. The little boys actually paid attention, and loved listening to them. We attended the church services in the little Banff branch--so we brought 16 more people to that little congregation. (And 6 fairly noisy ones, ha ha!) We were able to do many fun things with our family--hiking, gondola rides, and just being together. It was a wonderful time. We are so blessed to have this amazing family. They are such a great support to us...we are so grateful for each one, and for their fun personalities, their faith and testimonies, and their devotion to family. We admire each one so much, and thank our Heavenly Father for them each day. Everyone speaks of our sacrifice to leave our family, but I think it is a sacrifice for our children to have their parents gone, and not so easily accessible. But, we have watched them grow together as siblings, and have seen them work together and help each other in ways that I don't think they would have if we were there. So, I guess we all are learning and growing in this experience. We have tried hard to include our children in our mission by inviting them to do all the things we have done with our missionaries...our Book of Mormon reading, and the atonement study, and things like that. Every Monday morning Steve writes a letter to the missionaries and we also send that to the kids as well. We just want them to feel part of all this great work. It truly is amazing. Because of the wonderful plan of salvation, or plan of happiness, we are able to come to earth and experience the joy of a family, and know that we can be together forever. We are so grateful for our Heavenly Father's plan, and for our Savior who came to fulfill his part and complete the atonement that makes it all possible.
On July 1, it was Canada Day, which also marks our one year anniversary of being on our mission. We attended the pancake breakfast at the ward close to the mission home, with all of our family, which was fun. The little boys were able to walk in the 'Primary Parade' and wave their Canadian flags, too!
As we reflect on the past year, it has been one of tremendous growth. We have learned to trust in the Lord as never before. We have also been humbled as never before. We have also never been busier, or more overwhelmed, at times frustrated, and perplexed. But we are also extremely grateful for the confidence the Lord has placed in us, and grateful for the opportunity to serve in this capacity. It is something you really can't prepare for--you think you are preparing for those 6-7 months before you leave, but then you get out and feel so completely inadequate that you really wonder if you can do it at all. So, we are grateful for the Lord's patience with us, and we are grateful to know that He is the one directing the work, and if we will trust Him, He will guide us in it. He truly does. And we also know that through the atonement He strengthens us beyond our capabilities. You can't do this on your own. It is only through Him that you can. And so, we are looking forward to our next 2 years. We have calendared out the rest of 2016 and can see that it will go by fast! So, we are trying to cherish each day and each moment, and this time to serve together. Our love for each other has grown so much as we have served in this assignment. We will always be grateful for that. You think you have seen the potential in your spouse, and then you see them rise to new heights, and it is amazing. I have watched Steve become this even more incredible person than I already thought he was! But, I also know, he is being blessed and guided to do all that is required.
We have seen ourselves stretched beyond our own limits, and we have also felt the Lord carrying us and helping us as we put our trust in Him.
|Steve playing a little round of 'lightning' on a p-day while we were waiting to do an interview.|
|One group of Zone leaders and Sister Trainer Leaders at MLC on June 23.|
|Another great group!|
|And one last group at MLC!|
|Elders Hopoi and Ince who dwarf Elder Yang!|
|Elders Hopoi, Mecham & Ince wanted to see if a church sofa would hold all 3 of them!|
|Sister Blazer and Sister Earnhardt|
|Saying good-by to Elder Nawahine!|
|Elders Fong, Todd & Ajeman in their color-coordinated ties!|
|Steve hugging the little boys at the airport|
|Best birthday present ever-to be with our 6 grandsons!|
|Elders Cervantes and Lee teaching a lesson to the little boys|
|The boys loved these missionaries!|
|Loved being with my girls!|
|The little boys loved sleeping on the pads in the basement just like the missionaries do!|
|The joys of our life! Sam, Wyatt, Beck, Finn, Miles, Drew|