Saturday, December 8, 2012

And Then They Were Gone.......

The excitement of transfer week and new missionaries is always tempered with the departure of veteran missionaries.  We love them and it is getting harder and harder to let them go.  Like I told this group on Wednesday night, December 5, 2012, I feel like I'm sending my first child out the door to college. For any mother that has experienced that moment, you understand the bittersweet feelings. The 8 missionaries that are leaving will be long remembered for the lives they have changed--their and many, many others.  President's and mine especially.

We had an enjoyable dinner and President shared his final and parting message with the missionaries.  After we all shared our heartfelt and sincere 'getuigenis van de hart' Sis. Herring, Sis. Gardner and Sis. Larsen sang for us.  Sis. Moses is over playing the piano.  We sang Christmas Carols for a while and just enjoyed our last hours together.  The Spirit was present and sweet.  It was an occasion when we all desired it to never end.

 Sister Herring, Sister Gardner, Sister Larsen

 Getting all ready for the 'official departure picture'

 L to R:  Elder Pelaquim, Elder Leach, Sister Larsen, Sister Moses, Sister Herring, Sister Gardner, Elder Taylor and Elder da Cruz.  Front:  President and Sister Robinson
Elder Pelaquim and Elder da Cruz are from Brazil and will leave on December 15th, but came to enjoy the farewell with their MTC Group.

 We left for the Airport at 6:45 AM on December 6, 2012 and we were greeted with the first snow of the season.  We have had flurries, but this is the first to cover the ground.  Prettige SinterKlass Dagen!!

 We met Elder Taylor's parents at the Airport--It is always a tearful and joyful experience to see mothers and fathers embrace their sons and daughters after so many long months.  We are thrilled for the Taylor Family!

As for the rest of the missionaries, we were extremely late getting everyone through the check-in process.  Number of glitches. I didn't get pictures of them leaving.  I was over helping Sis. Moses, our last one, when everyone realized they had to get through customs--they came and gave me a hug goodbye.  Thank you everyone for that last hug.  I love you.

Sister Moses was praying for a miracle to catch her plane.  She was just in the longest lines for things.  However, she has learned in the mission to pray for miracles and developed the faith to expect and receive them.  Here is an excerpt of her email after she arrived in Utah.  And I quote Sister Moses:

It was insane. I was so thankful for your "Dag!" before I literally ran to my gate. After FINALLY making my way through security, please tell President that I literally sprinted to the end. My gate wasn't so far from the security checkpoint so I only ran for a couple minutes. When I was approaching my gate, there was a really loud alarm going off and I couldn't really focus on why, I just knew that the next thing that happened was I heard "MOSES" over the loudspeaker when someone announced it. I shoved my papers at the security lady, made it again through security at the gate, ripping off my boots, coat and scarf on the way, piling them all back in my arms again and RAN down the walkway into the plane. By the way, I was able to still teach three of the security people about the church as I was somewhat frantically going through security. Yes! 

I sat down on the plane breathing really hard and literally two minutes later the plane was pulling away from the airport ready to taxi on the runway. My heart about gave out. I was so nervous I wouldn't make it! But God is merciful and answered my prayer for a miracle. I made the flight, it was safe, and I couldn't have been more thankful for Elder Leach who waited for me at the gate, talking to the security people, just kind of stalling so I could make it. What an adventure.   

They are all home--safe and sound with their family.  We miss them.  We thank them for lifting the mission to new and higher levels of growth and spirituality.  They now are taking off their 'training wheels' and ready for life.  My greatest wish is that they all have a wonderful Holiday Season with family and friends and MERRY CHRISTMAS.  Thank you for your service to the 'Babe of Bethlehem', the Redeemer of the World and our Savior, Jesus Christ.  
Prettige Kerstdagen!

When President and I arrived back home, the snow was almost gone, the missionaries were gone, the hubbub of transfer week was gone.  It is always somewhat of a let down.  The work of the Lord never stays the same.  Things are always changing.  My testimony is that the constant in our lives is the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and Jesus Christ is our Redeemer, that true joy and happiness comes from the Gospel and loving one another as Our Father in Heaven loves us.  When we share our testimony of the Restored Gospel with those who have never known of the Restoration, we feel in a small way, the glory of our Savior.  This is His work.  He leads us as we do His work.  He leads President--I have seen inspiration come to President as never before in our life.  When President shares insights and inspiration with me, I always immediately feel it is true and right.  The Lord leads the Belgium Netherlands Mission.  President and I are just stewards for now, until June 2015.  But the Lord leads us eternally.  Thank you departing Elders and Sisters, we love you.  You have taught us much.

1 comment:

  1. Tell president that she sprinted to the end... Sounds familiar. IM guess Dad has told them at one point to "finish strong" too. :) Thats the line I always got. Most memorably in Montana. I dont think everyone would catch the connection.