Sunday, August 31, 2014


The Hardest Day on a Mission

This is only the second time it has happened for us on a mission, but it happened again this week.  Wow, is it hard!  Having to let these precious missionaries go..........when you've come to know and love them so much.  It's like letting your children go, not knowing if you will ever see them again or know what is happening in their lives.  I guess it's a good thing, but I'm crying as I even write this blog.  :)  President Ostler and I just feel soooooo grateful for these valiant souls!  They are the salt of the earth!  We will always love them!

They began their last day with a final interview with the President.  After a pizza lunch provided by our ever dependable Elder Paine, we enjoyed a group discussion about what they have learned about choosing an eternal companion from the different experiences they have had with their missionary companions.  President Ostler encouraged them to have faith, be patient and wise, and choose carefully a companion with whom they can be "equally yoked". 

Then, we went to the temple.  Although it was closed for cleaning, we enjoyed the spirit of the temple grounds.

                                                             Elder Bayatan

                                                                   Elder Vang

                                 Sister Romero, Sister Grant, Sister Gubac

                                                                Elder Woolsey

                                   Elder Stephens and his beautiful mother

                                Sister Grant, Sister and President Ostler

                                Elder Bayatan, President and Sister Ostler

                                                                     Sister Romero

                                  Elder Vang and Elder Burkhart

After spending time in the spirit of the temple, we traveled to the American Cemetery in Manila.  It is the place where Elder Gordon B. Hinckley rededicated the land for the spreading of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  We had time to talk about and reflect upon the sacrifices made during World War II so that there could be freedom in the Philippines.  We read Elder Hinckley's talk and prayer and reflected on the great sacrifice Christ made for our spiritual freedom.  We recalled those missionaries who had sacrificed so much to bring the gospel to us or to our ancestors.  Then we each found a quiet spot to make personal commitments as to what we each will continue to sacrifice so that our brothers and sisters on this earth may be set spiritually free.

 Over 17,000 people are buried here from every state in the United States as well as many Filipinos.  On the walls are engraven the names of 36,000 more who were never found, yet who gave their lives and are remembered with great gratitude.

                                        They will change the world!

What a treat to get to know Elder Stephens' mother.  Now we see why he is so wonderful!

 After the cemetery, we returned to the mission home where Angel had prepared a DELICIOUS, fancy dinner.  Sister Theler and Elder Stephens' mom pitched in to help finish the meal. 

                           Cheese cake!  A perfect ending to a perfect day! :)

Our final testimony meeting began with a special musical number sung by the outgoing missionaries.

President Ostler shared with the missionaries a beautiful painting by a former member of our home stake, Howard Lyon, called From Fear to Faith.

 They talked about facing their futures with faith.  It is an incredible painting which shows various degrees of self dependence all the way to complete faith in and dependence on the Lord.  We are not alone, we are never alone.  He is always right there.  We need to go to Him.  He will calm our storms.  We need not fear.

We're so grateful for such a skilled artist to provide such a beautiful teaching tool.  Thanks Howard for your many sacrifices and the faith it takes to paint!

                                                          Elder Burkhart

                                  Elder Bayatan

                                                                                                                             Sister Grant

                                                                                                                                    Sister Gubac

                                                                                                                       Sister Romero

    Elder Stephens served faithfully and full-heartedly as an Assistant to the President.  He will be sorely missed.

                                 Elder Vang

 Just before they all left, Elder Stephens paused to get this picture with
 Caleb.  As they all walked out the door, Caleb turned to me and said, "There went the best missionaries in the mission!"  That's how we all felt.