Wednesday, July 11, 2012

One Year! Six Months!

We're celebrating two milestones today.

  1. A YEAR AGO TODAY, we entered the MTC in Provo to begin training for our CES mission teaching Institute in the Washington D.C. South Mission. Wow, that seems like a long time ago! What great memories we have of all the amazing students we met, taught, and learned to love so much. And what a grand time we had living close to Amy and Colin for a few months when they first arrived at Andrews Air Force Base and settled in Alexandria. It's funny how we've forgotten the stress of the worst traffic in the nation and teaching five classes each week in five different locations spread all over the D.C. metropolitan area. It was an awesome opportunity and experience to be able to dedicate our lives to serving. We stretched and grew, and we were so blessed. 
  2. SIX MONTHS AGO TODAY we were back in the MTC being trained and prepared to come to the London Temple Visitors' Centre.  The time has really flown. It's funny how the days go slowly, but the weeks and months fly by. Only 18 months left, and already we're feeling a sense of melancholy about the prospect of leaving this wonderful experience and the great people of England when it's over. We've grown to love them so much already. Good thing our family and friends are still in Utah. That's the magnet that will draw us swiftly back when it's time.    

We've found a new blessing to be grateful for while we're on our mission. It has something to do with this:  absence makes the heart grow fonder. In our living room (called the "lounge" in England), we have a wall of photos of our family in a bookcase. We had the pictures taken just before we left, last December. There's a little atomic clock on the top shelf, too, that keeps track of what time it is in Utah. We can see the smiling faces of our daughters, sons-in-law, and grandchildren anytime we walk through the room (which is on the way to the kitchen...). We love all those faces so much, and they tug on our hearts as we walk by. Those pictures make our family seem closer than they really are. That's a blessing.      

It seems that the family misses us, too. You'll remember the amazing package that arrived in the mail for Mothers' Day (see our post from May 13, 2012). As surprising as it was to have our whole family arrive in the mail, what was most amazing was that everyone in the family planned ahead enough to make those caricatures and get them to Janet (some mailed from the other side of the country) so she could package them up and send them far enough ahead to arrive in England well ahead of Mothers' Day. Now that was impressive. 

Well, they did it again. Kristen and family sent Don a giant-sized fun Fathers' Day greeting that's still hanging in our flat:

Then, just in time for Fathers' Day, we received a private You Tube video that all our girls (with Jenn's help this time) made just for their dad. He was very touched and so was I. Makes us cry every time we watch it. Absence truly does make the heart grow fonder.

If you want to see some funny old photos of the way we looked a long time ago (and some recent ones, as well) click on the box below:                 ~Pat~

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