Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Big Blessings

It's true that absence makes the heart grow fonder. Not that we have ever taken our kids and grandkids for granted. Each one of them is a miracle. But our relationships have grown even sweeter now that we've chosen to serve a mission or two. Until we left on our first mission, none of our daughters or their families had ever lived more than an hour from our home in Draper. (Yes, I know we were spoiled.) We had the luxury of seeing them and our grandchildren whenever we could match up our schedules. It was important to us to be a part of their lives and for them be a part of ours. Families are forever.

Leaving on a mission meant that we were walking away from all that togetherness we had worked so hard to achieve. That was tough. I'm not going to say that it's been easy to be so far away from the ones we love the most. That would be a lie! We miss them every day! It's hard to leave your family and establish a new life halfway around the world. I will say, though, that the sacrifice has been absolutely worth it. We have grown so much as we have worked to fulfill our responsibilities here, and we think our family has grown, too. Even though we think it has probably been a sacrifice for them, too, they have been 100% supportive. We would do it again in a heartbeat.

Then, a couple of weeks ago, we experienced a tender mercy. Oh, happy day:  Kristen and Spence and their kids were able to come and visit us for a week! Well, that's not exactly true. While they were here for a week, we only spent a couple of days with them because of our work in the Visitors' Centre, but that was good enough!. Even though they took off and saw the sights during the day, they returned every night.  We got to hug our grandkids, spend time with our kids, and see them all first thing in the morning and last thing at night. They spent some time with us in the Visitors' Centre, walked around the temple grounds with us, and saw us share our love for the gospel of Jesus Christ. We were even able to spend a couple of P-Days with them. We enjoyed every minute we had together.

Tender mercies and big blessings? Yes!

Here are a few highlights of their time with us in Southern England.

They made it! It was so amazing to see them get off the plane!

On the London Temple grounds for the first time.

In our Visitors' Centre

So happy together.
(Yes, that was a Turtles song.)

Taking the train into London

Victoria Station

Ridin' the Tube

Who's the guy in the crazy hat?

At Hever Castle

Checking out the castle

A Kodak moment (does anybody remember Kodak?)
A Jousting Tournament at Hever

Ready for the match.

Go blue team!

Checking out the action.

Henry VIII and friend.

The royal family  (well, ours, anyway)

Heading back to the airport...

As a senior missionary couple, it is a great blessing to share part of our mission with our family, but I can see why the young elders and sisters are advised not to see their families. The hardest part is saying goodbye. And even though senior couples are more seasoned and experienced, it takes some time to let go again.  But we're not crying because it's over, we're smiling because it happened!                        ~Pat~

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