Monday, August 15, 2016

Coming to Leave

They just kept coming.  Missionary after missionary arrived 
at the mission home on August 1, 2016.  They hung up 
their jackets...

dropped their bags off...

and gathered to greet and reminisce.  Twenty-five elders
and sisters headed home at the completion of their work. 
How could so many missionaries be leaving all at once?  

Usually Pres. Mullen uses the time while they are gathering to 
review each elder and sister's "My Plan" pages.  There were so
many missionaries that evening he had to ask Presidents Crippen 
and Grant to help out.  Interviews took place in whatever quiet
corner was available.  Here is Elder Andrus sitting on the steps 
in the entry way reviewing his goals for the coming 
months and years ahead.  

Then it was time for dinner.  

With special guests, there were thirty-five of us for dinner.  
We added an extra table onto the dining table. 

With so many missionaries it took several shots to get 
everyone in a picture. 

Though they had only been with us four months, Elder and 
Sister Littlefield were part of our outgoing group. Elder and
Sister Littlefield made a huge impact on investigators, less active
members and missionaries while they served.  They really
worked hard.  Sister Littlefield is going home to get new 
knees that can keep up with her!

We set up two long tables in the living room.  

That night we even used the kitchen table for dinner.  This was 
the "angels round about" table.  With so many people for dinner
there wasn't room in the ovens in the mission home kitchen to prepare 
all the food.  Sister Cook and Sister Just made the Twice-baked Potato
Casseroles and baked them in the ovens at the church connected
to the mission office.  They also made the salad.  

President and Sister Crippen (left) and President and Sister Grant (right)
always help to get things on at the last minute, but that night they helped
with glazing carrots and managing rolls and getting things on to serve.

This is Sister Cook and Elder Cook who, when they're not
helping with dinner, are the financial secretary and the
vehicle coordinator for the mission.  

Here are Sister and Elder Just.  In her former life, Sister Just
was a professional baker.  In addition to the potatoes and salad 
she made two huge chocolate cakes topped with cherries and
whipped cream.  Beautiful and delicious.  Sister Just serves
as the referral secretary and Elder Just is the mission secretary. 

The list of angels also included Elder Glathar who surprised us by arriving 
two and a half hours early so, as it turned out,  he was available to set 
up all the tables and chairs.  Three sisters also set the tables.  The first
step in preparing outgoing dinner is always a prayer that the 
task can be accomplished so that everyone can enjoy this special
time together.  There were many people who helped to answer
that prayer that day.   

Here are the outgoing elders and sisters just before testimony meeting.
It was a very hot day outside and even with air conditioning the 
house was more than warm.  A decision was made to forgo 
jackets for the elders.  

Elder Andrus played the piano for us one last time.

The depth of experience in this group of missionaries
was amazing.  We were sending home one sixth of the mission
with this group, but it felt like so much more... an amazing
group of elders and sisters.  Wish their parents had been with 
us to hear their last testimonies in the mission field.  

After testimonies there was more time for visiting...


and cake!

Kitchen angels, Sister Moore and 

Sister Crippen.  It's often President Crippen who has his
hands in the sink rinsing and loading all the dishes.

After the senior missionaries left Pres. Mullen had companion
study with the outgoing elders and sisters.  

The next morning it took four dozen eggs to do breakfast 
burritos for this group!


All too soon it was time to load bags into a rented truck (nothing
in the mission big enough to handle the number going out
or the number coming in!).  

And finally, pictures.  

Into the cars and homeward bound!  How can two years
go by so fast?!

Earlier in this post we talked about angels.  Here are more.  
Elder Young and Elder Sy are currently serving as assistants.
They work countless hours in addition to their regular mission
 work as they train on exchanges, do presentations, gather and
compile reports, help with transfers and 
counsel with President Mullen  

This outgoing group had three other elders who had also
served in this position.  From left:  Elders Young & Sy, not 
leaving, and Elders Mock, Westenskow and Dyer.  
Amazing elders all.