So our last week was real busy. First, we had to get our apartment ready to close including cleaning and boxing everything up. It was quite a chore. Then we were part of change week that starts with planning and prep on Monday. On Tuesday the Oros came in without a hitch. They seem to be a good group. Too bad we won’t be around to see them grow. I would like to say that one of the real special highlights of our mission was watching the missionaries grow up right before our eyes. They grew up while we more or less grew out.
We ended the conference about noon with a full mission picture and passed out a sack lunch that included a subway sandwich. It was my last time to order from subway. 200 sandwiches is a lot of sandwiches. As we were passing out the sandwiches it started to rain. It actually rained quite hard for a minute. Another highlight from the conference is the help we got from three of the young men from the Malvin Ward. I love the pics of them in their casual clothes and then their Sunday clothes. They really are a fun bunch and we hope they will eventually go on missions.
After the conference ended we got back into change week. We attended the Temple with the missionaries in the afternoon and then had supper with them in the evening. It was a special experience to be part of the group and give our testimonies for the last time. Through it all we were able to spend some time with our dear friend Mary. We have become so close and it hurts to even think about her.
So then we started the long ride home. From the time we arrived in the airport until we touched down in Idaho Falls it was 28 hours. That included a 3 hour flight from Montevideo to Sao Paulo, a 5 hour layover in Sao Paulo and then a 10 hour flight to Atlanta. Then we had to go through customs and board a 4 hour flight to Salt Lake City. We had just enough time to get on the Idaho Falls flight. By the time we got home we were completely shot.
But it was SO GOOD! What a blessing to be reunited with family. The hugs and hugs were so good. A few of our family couldn’t come but we sure enjoyed the ones that could come. After being gone for so long we thought we better do a little fishing on the way home. We didn’t catch anything but still had a great time. Our mission ended with a very special time with our Stake President. The spirit was strong as he gave us a blessing to release us.
Saturday, November 11 was Veterans Day. I have fished that day every year except last year as I have always had that day off. So to keep the streak alive we took the grand kids fishing to a local pond. The weather was great and we really had a great time. Most everyone got in on doing a “little catching” instead of just fishing. We had some of the fish for dinner tonight.
I think we got home just in time as we have been able to visit several friends and family with health problems. We also have some things to be done on our home to get it ready for winter so the “good rest” will have to wait.
Looking back I have pondered what we have gained from our experience. First, a wonder cultural experience as we enjoyed all of the traditions that Uruguay has to offer. Second, we have gained so many eternal friendships with the people of Uruguay and the missionaries. I don’t know how we could count how special these friendships are. Third, we gained a deeper understanding and testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. What a blessing it is to have Jesus Christ in our lives. We know he lives. We know he is our Savior and died for all of us. We know that His Church is established on the earth today and is lead by Prophets and Apostles that have the authority to say, “Thus sayeth the Lord”. And finally we learned that the key to the Gospel of Jesus Christ is service. The more we serve the more joy and happiness we have in our lives.
Thanks to all those that have supported us for the last two years. We love and appreciate all of you. To the parents of the missionaries that read this blog, thank you so much. I hope you will someday realize how much we love your children. May God bless you all.
Love, Gordon and Renee