Comings and Goings
Wind 15=20 mph westerly
Today was the beginning of Transfers and that includes the death (going home) of six missionaries whose time of service is up. Four of them had served with us in Novosibirsk and here are some pictures to show them to you.
Elder Lunt (far left) was Cindy's first office Travel Elder and served as her trainer. He was exceptionally patient and tender with her. Elder Worthen (far right) was my second financial elder and computer tech. He is a clone of our son Brian and was very comfortable to be with. Elder West and Robertson, center, were Assistants for a time and great missionaries.
This is a melancholy time of goodbyes, lightening the suitcases to make the 50# weight limit, leaving coats and shoes to the members and other missionaries. My task is to have each missionary take every ruble off his/her debit card and give the card and money to me. The first to be destroyed when they are safely in their homes and the second to be returned to the mission cash box.
Theoretically, when one missionary leaves, another comes in. Practically, it rarely happens that way. We loose three and get four, or we lose six (like today) and we get one. Tomorrow, these six missionaries will board the plane to Moscow just before a plane comes in from Moscow carrying a single replacement missionary. In this case, she is a native Russian and the six are all Americans.
Some months ago we said goodbye to two of our favorites; Elder Jones and Elder Egan. Both were Assistants to the President and outstanding young men. Just to prove that there is life after "death", here are pictures of these two a few months later, ready for the Ball at BYU. No, they didn't go to the dance together, they each had dates; Jeramy Egan (right) with "the beautiful Katie Rose", who is running for Miss Utah, and Mike Jones (left) with her roommate. I would say that these two have been very busy since they were born again in Provo.
We know that our departing missionaries are prepared to meet life's challenges because they have met and overcome some of the most challenging situations one would ever encounter. A mission is the greatest training for life a young person could have. They learn to live on their own, deal with difficult people, handle rejection, cope with loneliness, and to use their spiritual connections with God and the Light of Christ to get answers to some of life's most challenging questions. If I had to choose between college and a mission, I would take the mission. These young people honestly return home matured and seasoned, ready for life in the real world.
Thank you Elders for your example to us, your strength and vitality, and your deep testimonies of Heavenly Father, His son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost.Thank you for taking care of us older missionaries when we needed a strong arm, a translation, or just directions. Thank you for being our bishops, our stake presidents, our 70's, our apostles. Thank you for what you are going to do with what you have learned here in Siberia.
What a training. What a country.