That’s all folks! It’s time to wrap it up. Way back in the fall of 2009, we began our journey, not at all sure where it was going to take us. It is not often that we can start a journey without knowing clearly the destination. We knew we were headed to Rexburg, ID, then to San Diego and back to Rexburg but that was as far as our vision allowed us to see. What we couldn’t visualize was how the Lord was and is always in charge and so He took us to Salt Lake City and Provo, UT as church service missionaries and then to Macon/Dublin/Robins AFB and soon back to our home in Kansas. We are thrilled with our journey because we tried our best to allow the Lord to take the lead and it turns out that He is the Master travel agent:-) We completed our mission here in Georgia on July 7th, a few months earlier than we had thought but as always, the Lord takes trials and turns them for good. We will actually stay here in Dublin until October spending time with family here on the East coast. Roland’s shoulder situation was thoroughly examined and for right now, the steroid shots and aggressive physical therapy are holding off what we thought would be immediate surgery. It is still up ahead but just not now. The doctor in Florida was honestly transparent in his assessment and we felt blessed that he suggested that the surgery wait until later so that we would be satisfied with the outcome. We both agree that he will be the one to do the surgery and so we expect a return trip to Tampa eventually. As always, when a mission comes to completion, there are mixed feelings about whether or not we did enough and how very much we will miss the glorious opportunity to labor in this great work full time. One of the unexpected bonuses of serving full time is the amazing association with the young missionaries. And yes, even though they just keep getting and looking younger, they are spiritually mature beyond their ages. Our lives have been enriched by their commitment, courage, faith and desire to make changes in their own lives and to invite others to come unto Christ. One of our last experience with these young missionaries came as a result of about 50 of us gathering one weekend to create the first Georgia Macon Mission Choir. Don’t laugh–they graciously included us and we learned so very much. Our choir director was our very own Mission President, President Cottle. We knew that he loved music and had seen him lead us in informal gatherings in rousing renditions of certain hymns but we never knew how gifted he is in this area. Wow, did we learn a ton and felt the power of worship through music. On Saturday, we practiced for the first time and later that evening for the second time. On Sunday morning, we practiced for the 3rd time and then shortly thereafter, sang at our Stake Conference. We were blessed to have angels accompany us as we worshipped through the words of these two beautiful hymns of praise. Hopefully these links will take you to listen to these beautiful hymns:
This Is The Christ- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2kORDnISun4
Behold The Wounds In Jesus’ Hands – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FRoy7P9W14Q
We will never listen, sing or view hymns the same again. Apparently, it was a powerful experience for the congregation as well. Our overall feeling for the past almost 6 years is incredible gratitude for our beloved Savior whose love for us has transformed us. Our united prayer is that people who meet us will sense the transformation without us every making reference to His grace. Roland has coined a phrase when people ask us “where is our home?, “his response is, home has nothing to do with geography, its a matter of the heart and family. Wherever they are, we are at home.” And speaking of family- we will be forever blessed because of friends we would never have, were it not for our journey these past three missions. To each of you who have enriched our lives by your nonjudgmental acceptance of us with all of our imperfections, we love you like family. In fact, you have become our new family for the eternities. What would heaven be were it not for family AND friends. Once we return to Kansas, we look forward to sampling a taste of retirement. We don’t want or mean full retirement but we are excited about traveling, leisurely reading, temple work,dancing, furthering our education, family history research, exercising and eating with wisdom:-) We also want to invite any of you who would like to come and stay with us while you see the beauties of the Great Plains and tour some of the historical places within an hour’s drive of our home. It would be such a treat for us!! Thank you for the many prayers that have been offered for us. We love you and give thanks for how your lives have uplifted ours. We have no idea when and if we will blog again, but stay tuned–there’s a lot of life straight ahead, with some curves, valleys, turns and peaks. We will travel them together:-)
Just a few pics from the Georgia Macon mission, “makin miracles”
In closing: back in April of 1985, we had the privilege to hear from Elder Bruce R. McConkie at the General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. You may cut and paste this link if you wish: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qn7boTBtn3w
His powerful testimony now has a deeper and richer meaning to us because we have seen first hand the reality of the Savior’s Atonement. We love Him.