Sunday, November 29, 2015
Week 79 - Nov 29th - Dec 3rd, 2015 --- Return to the USA and home!
Sunday, November 29th - Thursday, December 3rd, 2015 - Mission Ends Return to Home
Our last Sunday in South Africa we spent with the Seshego Branch and were invited to speak in Sacrament Meeting. We love these our brothers and sisters and will miss being with them. We are certain the Lord will continue to bless and strengthen them as they grow in testimonies and in numbers as they exercise their faith in the Lord.
Monday was p-day We are more focused now on closing up our flat, perhaps in preparation for the Gubler's to use it at the end of December. We hope they can come and sort of pick up some MLS activities with Seshego along with Polokwane and Mokopane Branches.
Tuesday was really a wrap it up day for us with the finishing touches on closing up the flat and getting things in the trash for our garbage day. We know we'll have some more trash but we'll just take it over to the Winward's trash area on our way out tomorrow.
Where did the time go and how fast it flew by, wow! Wednesday we got up early so we could do all the laundry and the linens. Then we finished up with our final few things to pack and load in the car.
We drove off and away from Polokwane about 10:30 a.m. and headed for Pretoria arriving there about 1:00 p.m. at the Mission Office. We dropped off some things to the Hawkins and headed over to the Mission Home and the Wilson's.
Pres Wilson interviewed us before we enjoyed a very nice lunch Sister Wilson prepared. We shall truly miss these wonderful people who work so very hard in their service.
They drove us on down to the airport at Joburg where we arrived about 5:30 p.m. We soon found out that our flight was not only going to be delayed but that the airplanes had been switched so we now had a route change with an unexpected stop for fuel in Dakar, Senegal on the West coast of Africa, about an 8-hour flight from Joburg.
We finally boarded, the plane was full, and lifted off about 9:30 p.m. instead of about 8:00 scheduled.
Unfortunately for us we found out our seats would not recline at all and they were almost a perfect 90 degree angle so comfort was not ours to enjoy for the first leg of 8 hours flying. But we were safe and on our way.
We did make our stop in the middle of the night in Senegal and then were on our way to Atlanta an hour later for the last leg of the flight about another 8 hours. This put us in Atlanta about 9:00 a.m. on Thursday morning where we cleared customs and got our baggage re-checked through to SLC and headed for the gate.
We had missed our flight that left about 8 a.m. and so Delta put us into standby status because they had oversold every flight to SLC that day, and probably do so every day too. While there for the unexpected 8-hour delay we found people to talk to and did more missionary work! We joined up on our flight with five young missionaries, 4 elders and 1 sister who were returning from South and Central America.
Finally, boarded our flight to SLC about 5 p.m. and had quite a nice flight on the last leg for just under 3 hours. We arrived in SLC about 6:30 p.m. local time.
Happily, some of our kids and grandkids still managed to meet us at the SLC airport. It was a wonderful reunion with them, hugs and kisses and just being together again. Such a great blessing. They drove us home to Riverdale where we joined up with the rest of the kids and more grandkids and my mother.
About 8:30 p.m. our Stake President Dave DeYoung came over to our home and after a short nice interview visit he released us from our full-time missionary service. Just like that, it was over! But he did give us a little guidance on what he'd like us to do when we report our mission on December 13th both to the High Council and then in Sacrament Meeting in the Riverdale 8th Ward.
Unfortunately, Jack our 7 year-old grandson was injured in a fall at school so he couldn't make it until the next day, and our new little man Henrik couldn't come until Friday either.
We had a really great time visiting and visiting and being excited together Thursday evening and started up again and all through the day on Friday as well. It was just great, such a blessing to have family here to make us feel good after leaving our dear friends back in Seshego.
On Saturday morning Melanie and Wendy and Annie and my mother went to the Ogden Temple to attend a sealing of our great niece Harper Rae Folkman to her parents, Casey and Katelynn. The newly remodeled Ogden Temple is truly beautiful and it felt good to be able to be there inside and feel of the spirit of the Lord's house.
Later on afterwards, we headed out to one of my favorite hamburger places, Crown Burger and enjoyed a reunion there with a very delicious cheeseburger, yummmmmm!
That Saturday evening we went to our grandson Henrik's first birthday party along with many other family members. We also celebrated his sister Elizabeth's 6th birthday too so it was sort of a double up effort which was really nice and fun to see more family there as well.
This was such a memorable week for us and a wonderful conclusion to a truly remarkable and amazing mission experience together. One cannot really describe it adequately, the blessings and the spirit of it all is as is often spoken in the Book of Mormon, 'words can only begin to describe the things that we were blessed to experience' for a fullness you'd just have to do it yourself and see for yourself. The Lord is so kind and merciful to us to have blessed us in such a way. Thank you dear Father!