"If it’s true, as Shakespeare wrote, that “parting is such sweet sorrow,” then perhaps we could say that reuniting is the sweetest joy. While saying goodbye can be heart-wrenching at times, reconnecting with loved ones we haven’t seen in a while can be among life’s greatest moments.
For this reason, airports can be the happiest and the saddest of places-full of goodbyes and hellos that bring a tear to the eye and a lump to the throat. Soldiers returning from active service are joyously embraced. Loved ones away for a season are welcomed into open arms. And weary travelers are almost instantly rejuvenated by the sight of their family or friends. It matters not if they’ve been away for a few days or a few years-welcome-homes are moments to cherish.
In reality, we are continually saying goodbye and hello. And because life is short, we must make the most of each homecoming. Like the father in the parable of the prodigal son, we can be constantly looking forward to such homecomings, even if they seem to be “a great way off.”
One grandmother will never forget the day her daughter’s family, who lived across the country, knocked on her door for a surprise visit. She didn’t know they were coming, but she could not have been more thrilled to see them. They were home! She welcomed them into her loving arms; she prepared their favorite foods; she made sure they were warm and comfortable and happy. She could not stop hugging them-especially the grandchildren. It had been too long since she was able to hold them close, so she did not let an opportunity pass to wrap her arms around them. The family felt like they belonged-like they had never been away. They were welcomed home.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if everyone, prodigal or not, could return home and find kind words, warm hearts, and a loving embrace? Is it possible that all those away from home could someday, somehow find the open arms of welcome- homes?" (Music and the Spoken Word- September 2015)
|Elder Wilkerson from Missouri got that embrace early with his parents arrival and reunion. Bernard and Terry Wilkerson made it all the way here from St. Louis Missouri.|
|After the transfer meeting we returned to the mission home and enjoyed lunch. We then had a few hours before the airport, so we were treated to a little bit of mission history with Ike Swartberg telling about the Re-Dedication of South Africa by President Spencer W. Kimball in 1973. We also heard from the Lombardy's in their role as church history missionaries. They collected (temporarily) each Elder's mission personal reflection page to scan into the church historical archives for the SAJM. These Elders are now officially apart of the legacy. Watch this little video to see what modern pioneers they are!|
This group required their own trailer to haul all 40 pieces of luggage. They are each allowed 2 bags and they must be under 23 kg each, about 50 lbs.
Last walk down the mission home driveway!
Loaded and ready to go.
Ever Delta counter had a few of our Elders in line!
A few last photos with this great group, plus Elder Worton and Elder Olson.
Back Row: Elders Whitesides, Riley, Pedersen, Loveless, Worton, Lyon, Benge, Harris, Leman, Olson
Front Row: Elders Kaufusi, Yates, Brown, Beers, The Dunn's, Reese, Pulley, Saunders and Stilgoe
(Elders Henley, Browning and Wilkerson left to travel a few more days with their families.)
Now, for one last picture with each Elder and their mission quote they submitted for the mission newsletter.
Below are the quotes they shared in the Cumorah Crest newsletter and also these are read during the transfer meeting. We have also included their mission bio, showing where they served and who they served with over the past two years. We frame these for them and pass them out at the transfer meeting.
Benjamin Evan Pedersen
Eric John Whitesides
Elder Jace Riley
Jace Richard Riley
All the hardships, all the tears, all the hard work will be looked back upon as the best thing you've ever done, not because you enjoyed it, not because you baptized everyone, but because you gave the Lord everything you had, even when you didn't think you could." Elder Jeffery R. Holland
Serve your mission in such a way that each day when you get out of bed satan says "oh no, HE'S AWAKE!",
“Now they never had fought yet they did not fear death, and they did think more upon the liberty of their fathers than they did upon their lives; yea, they had been taught by their mothers, that if they did not doubt, God would deliver them. And they rehearsed unto me the words of their mothers, saying: We do not doubt our mothers knew it.”
Elder Jacob Tyler Benge
"Twas I; but 'tis not I: I do not shame to tell you what i was, since my conversion so sweetly tastes, being the thing I am."
Bastion Duncan Loveless
"The greatest battles you will ever fight will be within the silent chambers of your heart"- David O McKay
- " At times the wisdom of God appears as being foolish or just too difficult, but one of the greatest and most valuable lessons we can learn is that when God speaks and men obeys, that man will always be right!"
President Thomas S. Monson
Tyler Clayton Pulley
"For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." Luke 12:34
Elder Jacob Blake Saunders
"When your time comes to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled with fear of death, so that when their time comes they weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again in a different way. Sing your death song, and die like a hero going home." LT Rorke "Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap." Galatians 6:7
Joshua Alexander Stilgoe
"The attitude you have towards your mission experience is a reflection of your love toward your Heavenly Father and His son and your respect for the priesthood" PMG pg 151
"The man who so walks in the light and wisdom and power of God, will at the last, by the very force of association, make the light and wisdom and power of God his own- weaving those bright divine rays into a chain linking himself forever to God and God to him. This is the Sum of Messiah's mystic words, 'Thou Father in me, and I in thee'-beyond this human greatness cannot achieve."
Nickolas Stephen Harris
"Whenever you are moved upon by the spirit of Prophecy and Testimony, you are to testify that Joseph Smith is a prophet of God, I promise you that it will bring you all the trouble you can bear." - J Golden Kimball
Darren Paul Yates
“Yea, I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things; yea, behold, many mighty miracles we have wrought in this land, for which we will praise his name forever.” -Alma 26:12
There are three levels of obedience the first one being fear of punishment for not obeying. Secondly, we desire rewards and blessings from God and thirdly, we love God and Jesus Christ and want to serve them.
- Gospel Principles pg 200
"That which we persist in doing becomes easier to do, not that the nature of the thing has changed, but our power to do is increased." Heber J. Grant
"What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead." -Nelson Mandela
(Due to traveling with parents, the next 3 Elders are not pictured at airport)
"Christ paid a debt he did not owe to free us from a debt we can never pay" -Joseph B Wirthlin
Nathan Mark Wilkerson
"There is only one day that you and I have to live for, and that’s today. There is nothing we can do about yesterday except
repent, and there may be no tomorrow. The thing for us to do when we arise from our beds as God gives us a new day, is to take whatever comes to our hands, and do it to the best of our ability." - Harold B. Lee
“Our challenge in life is to avoid bondage of any kind, help the Lord gather his elect, and sacrifice for the rising generation.” Quentin l Cook.
Bunkerville, Nevada, United states
(The final 4 Elders were honored at this transfer meeting, but actually leave mid-transfer.)
Elder Jensen Grant Barton
I may not always walk the straight and narrow, but i cross it as often as i can.
-J. Golden Kimball
Farmington, Utah, United States
Elder Keaton Draper Segil:
"Just give up! Surrender your will to the Lord. Unconditionally, withhold nothing and turn it all over to Him. Trust Him that He will make of you, immeasurably more, than what you will ever in all eternity, make of yourself. He will create of you a masterpiece. You will create of you only a smudge. You will create an ordinary man. He will create a God. "
"More holiness give me, More patience in suffering, More sorrow for sin, More faith in my Saviour, More joy in His service, More fit for the Kingdom, More used would I be, More blessed and holy....More Savior like thee.”
|Elder Rizk actually departed one month later on September 4th. We tok him to the temple with us on the day he departed and then out for a final breakfast before he headed back to Austria. We will miss you Elder Rizk!|
Elder Karim Rizk
Verily I say unto, all among them who know their hearts are honest, and are broken, and their spirits contrite, and are willing to observe their covenants by sacrifice - yea, every sacrifice which I, the Lord, shall command - they are accepted of me. Doctrine and Covenants 97:8
Are we willing to sacrifice our all and hold nothing back in the Lord's work?