I was also thrilled to see Sarah in our home in the Mt. Olympus area of Salt Lake with our daughter-in-law Whitney and little Madison and Zach. I love having Whitney and our beloved grandkids meet Sarah before she heads to the MTC.
|We started with homemade rolls, butternut squash and salad recipes. We have added malva pudding, chocolate cake, quiche, breakfast cakes and butternut soup to our list of food made together.|
|Irene Shabalaya, our mission home helper and dearest friend, has added to the fun. She has shown these girls how to make the best Pap* (southern africa staple made with meile meal) ever|
|It was wonderful to plan our luncheon on a day Irene could join with us. It was a very special time together.|
|I told Sarah we would gather here at the same place when she returns in a short 18 months. I am happy that I will still be here in South Africa in December 2016. Can't wait to stay in touch and hear how she is doing. One other great thing: Sarah's Mission President and Mission Mom will be President and Sister Poulsen. They are dear friends and neighbors of ours in the Mount Olympus area, and they served as the Mission Presidents in Johannesburg, South Africa from 2009-2012. Small world!|
Below is an e-mail Leslie Robbins sent to Sarah's mom with all these pictures:
Good morning Sister Annette Wentzel,
I hope this email greets you with warmth and love as I record and share your daughter’s safe arrival to Salt Lake City!
My name is Leslie Robbins and I had the heavenly pleasure of meeting and greeting your beautiful, and very well-prepared daughter, Sister Sarah. She arrived at the Salt Lake International Airport smiling and simply beautiful. It was as if she had a stream of light following her down the escalator and into the crowd. She radiated such light! We opened our arms and hearts and she changed us for the better. Sarah had smooth flights and everything went well. Her luggage arrived safely, all beautifully matched. Indeed, she has a wonderful mother behind her! She said she was tired, but you’d never know it. She looked beautiful and so so happy. Her hair was still curled and she looked as fresh as a daisy. She embraced every moment with a smile and a spiritual confidence. Her strength was in full beauty.
We scooped her up and drove her into the heart of Salt Lake City where the Temple did its thing—-it was radiant, pristine, and greeted your daughter with the same light she arrived with. We showed her landmark buildings and told our favorite stories. She took it all in and just smiled. Then came lunch. We took Sarah to one of our favorites, and also President and Sister Dunn’s favorite, Cafe Rio. She gobbled up two chicken tacos as we exchanged stories about the gospel and living with the Spirit in our lives. Your family sounds extraordinary. She was so thrilled that Gran was able to attend her farewell. I loved hearing her tell this story!
After lunch we drove through the foothills of Salt Lake City and landed at President and Sister Dunn’s beautiful home which is nestled in the Wasatch Mountains. Sister Sarah was able to meet Whitney, the Dunn’s daughter in law, along with two of their grandchildren. We visited and talked about the gospel, all within the embrace of this beautiful home.
On the way to Prove, which is about a 45 minute drive, we watched for temples along the way. Sarah was so happy, all day. She felt comfortable, and most of all, she radiated as she talked about your family and the gospel. Whenever she said “God is good, eh? God is really good” my whole heart felt like I was carrying heaven. And I was carrying a little piece of heaven as I delivered your daughter to the MTC.
The MTC was quiet and sacred. I’ve had the opportunity to drop four of my brothers off to the MTC on their missions, and I’m a huge believer in the angels there. I can feel the presence of protection and angels whenever I am there. We unloaded everything, snapped one last picture by the international flags, and then we entered the Mission Training Center. Everyone greeted Sister Wentzel with a smile and warmth that would put any mother at ease. We gave last hugs and the last thing I told her was “Sarah, you have a temporary mother here in Salt Lake, and it’s me. You email if you need anything at all. Anything. I love you Sister Sarah!” With an inner strength, Sarah squared her shoulders, and took a deep breath, as if she felt at home already, and she said, “I love you too.”
This love is the blessing that comes from Sister Dunn as she connected two human beings for an earthly afternoon. From your arms and Sister Dunn’s arms to mine, your daughter is safe and ready to enter the field that is white and ready to harvest.
Sister Wentzel, you’ve raised a valiant strong young woman. And coming from a mother of three girls under the age of 18, I hope to raise my girls with the same light and spiritual strength that Sarah exudes. I could see all of your mothering and lessons in this very refined and warm daughter. She is in the right place at the right time. This city needs Sarah, her light and her testimony. I’m sure there are moments where the sacrifice feels huge, but please know I am here and ready to support in any way. I work downtown and I’m on Temple Square every Tuesday, so I told Sarah I’d be close in proximity, but also close in prayer.
Today was a tender mercy for me in many ways. It is nearing the year mark of President and Sister Dunn’s service in SA and I miss them with all of my heart and soul. Sister Dunn is like my older and dearest sister. Today I carried so much of this love for Sister Dunn in my heart, and also in my tear-filled eyes, as I carried your daughter from the airport to the MTC.
So, on this new June morning that greets you, please smile knowing that heaven is watching over you and also over Sister Sarah. Your daughter travels with a beautiful fleet of angels. I could feel them as I traveled beside this valiant daughter of yours.
Don’t hesitate to email if I can be an instrument of love in the future.
Blessings your way,
Sarah at the MTC with the flags behind her.
Sarah in Pres. and Sister Dunn’s home with Whitney and Jeff’s children
Sarah at the airport with the Robbins girls Kylee, Willa, Sarah, and Lizzie Beth
Sarah in the airport with Leslie, Sarah, Willa, and Kylee
Sarah at Cafe Rio as a “first timer” with the menu