Sunday, August 2, 2015

Wrapping Up

My worn out shoe collection!
Ok, so I guess that I am writing this posthumously as I am now a returned missionary, and have been for one month now. I’m finally getting around to telling all of you about how the last week of my mission was! It was amazing. P-day this week was absolutely crazy because something went wrong with the system and we weren’t able to talk with our parents, and then we also had to go to the city center to make sure that everything was set for the DOUBLE WEDDING we’re planning. 

After that, we tried to email again and we STILL couldn’t log on… Frustrating! So the very last week I’m able to talk with my family we finally get on at the very last minute just to say that we’re alive and that I’m coming home! (super excited) Then we ran off to teach a recent convert and have a great family night where we watched ‘Meet the Mormons’ with a family in the ward and the family that was getting baptized this week. It was all really really good! Unfortunately we did not have any time in our day to clean the house. That is an important bit of info so remember it for later.

            The next day, I was called into the federal police because I’m leaving the country and I have to negotiate my visa and blah blah blah all of that good stuff. Anyways, when we got home and we headed straight out to work. I had originally planned on cleaning when we got back, but once again, there was no time. We had appointments, and we couldn’t spare a minute! Unfortunately, Sister Bonini decided that she wanted to visit our house and she left a wonderful little note about what she thought of our house. Just to use some of her own words “I can’t believe that you elders live like this, How would you feel if Christ saw your home like this, and (the worst) I love you, and I believe that if your mother’s saw what I saw, they would cry”.  For her information, I took a video of the house without touching a thing and showed it to my mom and not only did she NOT cry, she thought it was actually pretty decent thank you very much! It was just the normal dust that settles after a couple of days in our area that we just can’t get rid of. Still, Elder Ribeiro and I set out to get the entire house cleaner than ever before. Since we can’t let cleaning interfere with our work schedule, we would clean during exercise time and at night after we planned. By the end of the week, the house was so clean I could have eaten off the floor! Ok, not really, but it was pretty dang clean. I felt pretty good about leaving my house super clean in the end of my mission. 

            This week just kept getting better and better, but today was really the beginning of everything. We had to skip district meeting so that we could go to the center of the city for Joao, Joelma, Alipio, and Eterlene’s double wedding. 
          It all went down without a hitch, but President did NOT like the fact that we skipped out on a meeting, but his anger was placated when we invited him to the baptism of two full families, and that he was going to baptize Eterlene. Anyways, we taught each of the families every single day, and they are just so ready!!!! Their interview is tomorrow and the next day, so we will see how they do!

            Okay, seriously, Brazilians are notoriously late. Our district leader was late to the interviews, but Alipio’s family was even later… Like, think 2 hours late!!!! Ugh. But their interviews all went well. They all passed and they are all super excited! Joao and Joelma are tomorrow and then they’re all getting baptized on the same day!

            Once again, Joao and Joelma were late. Ugh. I hate being late. So much. So stinking much. It’s like a traffic jam where everything is just completely backed up. That’s the worst as a missionary! They also passed their interview. I’m super nervous about the baptism tomorrow, and I hope that everything goes well because it is my last weekend of my mission. I’m so stoked! There’s seriously no better way to end my mission.

            Today was busy…. Busy, busy, busy! In the morning we enlisted all of the youth to help us clean up and organize the chapel to prepare all of the pews, chairs, baptismal font, scrubbing down the bathrooms/floors, etc. I love this ward so much! I’m going to miss it a lot. As usual, the families showed up late for their baptism, but Pres. Bonini was there! He gradually got in a better and better mood as the night went on. He was even taking pictures of everything by the end of it. It was funny because when he got there he was super cold and wasn’t mixing very well with everyone, but he really warmed up by the end of the night. It was a wonderful occasion. Joao and Joelma’s little boy, Marcos, was interrupting everyone because he had seen the cake that was for afterwards, but no one let him near it so he started crying and crying and Elder Ribeiro managed to calm him down. He really has a way with that kid. The kid is super attached to his mom, but Elder Ribeiro knows how to calm him down. The only problem with the baptism is that Elder Ribeiro baptized Joelma, so the only two people who could control him were both in the water!!! Hahaha, so during his mom’s baptism the kid would not stop crying! He’s already 3, but he just can’t bear to be without his mommy! Tomorrow is Fast and Testimony meeting, so I’m excited to see what’s going to happen. 
The very best day of my mission!

           The last Sunday in Church was also my last fast and testimony was a Cryfest. Pure cryfest. I cried during my testimony, 2 of my recent converts got up and they both cried. Taynara cried a LOT. Then, after church, I wanted to get a picture with everyone, but Mikaelly was in the bathroom crying uncontrollably and it took about 15 minutes to be able to convince her to come out and join everyone. I loved this ward. By far my favorite area, and I am so glad that I was able to end my mission here.  
           The last goodbyes to the great people of this ward.
          Unfortunately, the next couple of days was just sitting around. A lot of sitting around. For some reason, there was a mix-up with the keys and all of the missionaries going home.
         They split up our group so that we were staying in two different houses in a couple of the areas closer to the airport. Anyways, we stayed outside of these two missionaries’ house, but we got there at 7:30, and they didn’t come until 9. I hate just sitting around…… It was super fun once we got into the house. The two missionaries had only been out for a couple of months each, and there were 9 missionaries staying with them who were all going home in a matter of days!

Trunky! It was funny because they said “you know, we can’t even get trunky because it seems like it was just yesterday that we got of the airplane, because we did!” After that, there was just a class for people who have problems in getting a job when they get back, but for the most part, it was kind of boring, but it’s a brand new thing that all missionaries have to do when they’re going home. Mission President’s rules!
        We had a LOT of people from the mission come to see us off at the airport.  I don't think that this is a tradition that members do for missionaries in the states when they are returning home.  I got to see a lot of people one last time and that was really nice.
Finally it came time to board the plane for HOME!
               My very long 25+ hour flight went very well. I had a goal to read the entire book of Mormon on my flight, but I only made it to Helaman 7 because I talked to my neighbors all the way back home. I missed out on about 5 hours of reading, so I could’ve gotten it done, but I didn’t, so it didn’t happen. It was incredible to see the difference between Americans and Brazilians, because the Brazilians are way more open. It was weird, because with the Americans, we actually hit it off! But the problem is that when I tried seeing if they wanted to learn more, they just completely shut down. Nothing. Even if we had a great conversation, they just let it all go when I hinted at something more, like maybe a missionary visit. Brazilians don’t have that problem, but Americans do.
One of the cool things that happened on our way home happened in the Seattle airport during our last plane transfer.  The flight kept getting delayed but I had no way to notify my family.  I met up with another returning missionary from Korea and we just sat there waiting.  It wasn’t very long before a group of ladies my mother’s age approached us and started talking to us about our missions.  They were a group of LDS friends who were vacationing together and were all traveling to Spokane.  Every one of them had a child of their own serving a mission.  Anyway, they took a few pictures and texted our families to let them know about our delay.  We ended up being over an hour late so I am really glad that they could communicate with our families in Spokane.  I love my family, and to be able to see them at the end of that ramp was the best thing in the world.  I’m HOME, and it’s GREAT…… just AWESOME! I love America.  I love the Lord, and I love everything that has happened in these past two years.
Sawyer stuck once again holding the repurposed sign.
Mom swoops in for the first hug

Dad soon follows
Brotherly love
Round Two
Sisters Face time in for the reunion
Family portrait...Taylor is in his right hand and Maddie is in his left hand.
Sooooo glad he is HOME!
Welcoming committee!Left to right: Debbie Roger, Leslie Brim, Elder Colvin, Stewart Brim, Barbara Benefiel, Cody Benefiel.
Wore my best shoes home!
Stopped by Golden Corral (his request) on the way home.
We made it home..suitcases full of gifts for the family!
So grateful!
So tired!
Family Reunion for Father's Day and Garrison's homecoming talk.
Returned Missionaries
My next adventure - University of Utah