Wednesday, April 8, 2015

One Last Time Together

On the night before they return home, missionaries gather at the mission home.  It is a time of greeting others who are leaving and of saying good-byes to those who drop them off.  As they arrive, elders and sisters weigh their luggage.  They mark their favorite verses in Pres. Mullen's scriptures and turn in their miracle stories. These stories are preserved in big black binders along with pictures and assignment histories for each missionary.  The elders and sisters enjoy looking back through these binders and seeing past companions and friends.

At 5:00 p.m. we sit down together for dinner.  It's a great time for sharing stories and memories and talking about future plans.  Just before six o'clock the senior missionaries, the mission nurses and others arrive.  With the help of many hands the dishes and tables are cleared and chairs set up for testimony meeting.

A sweet spirit enters the room as the meeting begins, and we sing and prayer together.  One by one the elders and sisters stand to share their last testimonies as missionaries in the field.  They share the knowledge that has settled deep in their hearts during their service.  They have come to trust and love their Father in Heaven.  They know he lives and has been and will be mindful of them.  They know that Jesus Christ is their Savior and the Redeemer of the world.   They have grown tremendously in their understanding of the doctrine of Christ.  They have seen first hand the effect of this doctrine in the lives of those they have baptized. They know it is the Lord's work in which they have been engaged.  They are firm in their commitment to live their lives and raise their families according to the principles they have taught and loved.  It is a powerful and sacred moment for each of us.

Time for dessert!  Then guests leave and only missionaries are in the mission home.  They and Pres. Mullen sit together to talk about the parable of the good Samaritan and what it teaches about the plan of salvation.

In the morning the outgoing missionaries gather from the apartments where they have "slept" overnight.  They eat breakfast or try to eat.  We have kneeling prayer in the living room and then we're off to the airport.  There they go....