Tuesday, June 13, 2017

2017-06-13 Our Last Farewell Batch

You might ask, "Does it get any easier to say good bye?"  The answer is....after three years of saying good byes.....NO!  I bawled my eyes out again tonight...even though I thought I had it under control.  I guess you just can't help but get your heart involved when you work with these elders and sisters and see how they stretch, sacrifice, suffer, succeed, struggle and rejoice throughout their missions.  So many of them have very challenging situations at home, and to see what they do through on their missions...it just makes you love and appreciate and admire them so much.  Many of them are going home to very challenging situations.  It is very difficult to be raised in cultures or homes where families aren't members, or have different ideas about how to live your life, and many cultures do not give children much agency.  They have very strong expectations that they will work to support their parents and younger siblings when they return home which precludes their education and certainly does not allow for marriage.  But they are being counseled by the prophet to have faith to get their education, get married, work and be self-reliant.  That is so against the culture.  Their parents and oldest sibling have sacrificed so much for them it seems totally wrong to start their own family instead of taking care of those who sacrificed for them.

Yet they all try to follow the prophet however they can.  They have so much faith.  How we pray for them!  How we love them!  Here are their pictures:

 When we went for lunch to the patron housing by the temple, there was a bus waiting for temple patrons.  The men were very creative and were resting in the bottom part of the bus where the luggage goes.  It was roasting hot outside, but I guess it was cooler down there than in the sun!

 Sister Kumari met a family returning from the temple to the patron housing who are from the ward in India that her brother attends.  It's amazing that the members from India come all the way to the Philippines to be able to attend the temple.

 The late afternoon, we always "practice" what it will be like to have conversations after their missions with someone of the opposite gender.  We try to help them find ways to share a part of their heart and testimony when asked how their mission was.  It's a great opportunity to strengthen someone else as well as it helps others know who you really are.

 It's always awkward at first because they have locked their hearts so well, but with some coaching from President Ostler, they actually learn how to ask people on a date and have meaningful conversation. (We hope it helps! :))

 The final dinner makes it all worth it!

Oh, how we love and appreciate our seniors!