Tuesday, May 2, 2017

2017-05-02 Tearful Farewells

Wow, is it getting harder to say goodbye to these missionaries!  Tonight, we just cried our eyes out especially as President Ostler prayed for each of the missionaries.  One cannot possibly describe the feeling of love for our Savior that we all felt as we sang, testified and prayed together.  One cannot put into words the deep feelings of the heart that grow as you serve together in a mission.  Today truly was a celebration that ended with a ton of happy tears.  It's so hard to part with missionaries because you have seen them from the day they were little "toddlers" in their mission until the day they are so strong and capable as missionaries...you see them as they struggle, as they doubt themselves, as they sacrifice, as they grow, and they experience miracles....and as they change inside in so many wonderful ways........and then they go home.

Families of these wonderful missionaries:  Please take good care of these precious souls.  Let them continue to be who they have become on their missions.  Support them and compliment them on the good changes you see.  Give them opportunities to continue to serve, to strengthen others, to lead.
Be patient with them when their hearts are breaking because they miss their missions so much.  There is nothing like a mission in its intensity of service and selflessness...although parenting is pretty close!

In Elder Bernardo's words, we are "so much thankful" for this priceless opportunity we have.  It is not a sacrifice in any stretch of the imagination.  It is such a sweet blessing.  Thank you parents for letting your sons and daughter serve our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ full time.  We can promise they will come back truly changed and sanctified to the degree that they are obedient and humble, for Heavenly Father is a perfect teacher and He knows just the right experiences to help them change and grow they way they personally need to.

If any of you are older and would ever consider serving a "senior mission", I wish you could have been her tonight.  You would be selling everything you own and catching the next plane or bus to get here.  Just ask any of the senior missionaries serving here.  If you want to have your testimony strengthened, if you want to have your heart grow ten sizes larger, if you want to see miracles and make eternal friendships....serve a senior mission.  President and I are looking forward to serving one soon after Caleb graduates and goes on his mission.  We have truly seen the difference senior missionaries make in missions, and we look forward to being like our senior missionaries have been...to be able to be "the glue" that helps hold the work of the mission together.  We have been so supported during this mission, we look forward to being the supporters and helping others like we have been helped.

So, here are the pictures.....that's really what you come on the blog to see!  But I just had to share the feelings of my heart.  They were still overflowing after those precious missionaries left tonight.

   Sister Vergara was able to do the endowment for her grandmother and President and an elder did the endowment for her father and grandfather.  It was a happy way to end her mission.

As we were leaving the temple, a very long jeepney arrived that was completely full of youthcoming to do baptisms!  It was an amazing site!
           We got to go to the American War Memorial Cemetery. It is a very solemn and serious place.

                                The May 2017 "going home" batch at the American Cemetery.

                 President reminding them to go to the front of the boat like Peter did