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:
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.