Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Homeward Bound

"Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened."    
- Dr. Seuss

Packed up and ready to go

It was a whole week of good-byes, starting with our classes at both George Mason University and Annandale  on Wednesday, November 16th.  The next day it was our lunch class in Crystal City and our evening class in Centreville. Then on Tuesday, the 22nd, it was more good-byes to our last evening class in Crystal City and our awesome CES supervisor, Brother Devin Toma. That night, we were presented with a very special scrapbook of photos and individual tributes that we will always treasure. Bittersweet moments, to be sure. We've mentioned before how attached we are to our students. We hope our paths will cross again. We hope to hear where they go, what they do. (Kristen asked me a few days ago how we will ever leave the people we meet in London after two years there. Good question....)

The hardest good-bye was to Amy and Colin. Yes, they are where they should be and yes, they're doing what they should be doing with their lives. Yes, we'll talk, text and Skype, and we'll see them at Christmas in a few short weeks. Doesn't matter. We'll miss them anyway. We had the best times together!

That's the thing about good-byes. There wouldn't be any if there hadn't been a "hello." How grateful we are for all the people we met and the experiences we had on our mission. They are all cherished memories we can keep forever. We don't have to say good-bye to the memories.~Pat~

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We have really enjoyed our trip home as we've talked about the Institute students we met, the work we accomplished, the historic sites we visited, and the many blessings we received during our mission. Driving across the Continental Divide today, Pat and I discussed some of the things our mission taught us.  We learned that:

  •      Two minds and hearts working together can accomplish               more than one.
  •      The Spirit is a powerful gift when we need guidance and             inspiration.
  •      We can make lasting friendships in a short time.
  •      We are greatly blessed when we live by faith instead of fear.
  •      Five months goes by really fast.
  •      Trying new things when you're old gives you new life.
  •      Missions require sacrifice and hard work.
  •      There is great joy in full-time missionary service.
  •      Family ties grow sweeter when distance separates us.
  •      Washington, D.C. has more orange cones and crowded                 roads than we've seen anywhere else.
  •      The majority of Young Single Adults in the Church are                 strong, competent, and faithful.
  •      Warm cookies melt hearts.
  •      Our love for Jesus Christ and His gospel has increased!

We feel very fortunate to have lived and served in the Washington, D.C. area. We learned much and we're grateful for the opportunity.    ~Don~

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Now we're almost home. We've been on the road for six days seeing some new parts of the country, visiting Don's cousins in Oklahoma, and taking an extra day or two to get home via the southern route. We can't wait to see our family! We're excited to be home for the holidays!   Our challenge will be to collect and pack everything we'll need for two years in England so it can be shipped by the middle of December. Then, we'll celebrate Christmas (joy!), spend as much time with our family and friends as we can, get all our affairs in order, see all our doctors (including Pat's last post-cancer check-ups!) and more. It's going to be a fast five weeks until we leave again.

So... this blog post is the official last entry our the mission in Washington, D.C.   We plan to be back online with new adventures to post at the first of the year. We enter the Missionary Training Center again on Monday, January 9, 2012.                                        ~Don and Pat~

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