Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Update 3.14.2011

Endings and Beginnings - This has been a busy and full week! After saying goodbye to special friends in Ilima and Kyambeke on Sunday we returned to the Hills on Tuesday for a final farewell-teaching session with Kilili. As we drove through the beautiful country that we love we were cognizant that this would be the last time to see so many things - the oxcarts, hut homes, children waving and greeting us, and some still bolting off the narrow, dirt roadways to hide in the bushes for fear of “Mzungus coming!” What will be missed most is the relationship with the wonderful saints we've grown to love in this almost year-and-a-half. They sang and danced (African style) for/with us, and exchanged thoughtful tributes, home-made gifts, and expressions of love. Tears were close to the surface as we bid goodbye.

We traveled through the 1 ½ hour short cut from Kilili to Kyambeke, to our Precious Blood flat to prepare the “last supper” with the missionaries, Elder Trickett and Elder Hayes. They were fun company and we talked of plans and how they could continue on some of the teaching/member development initiatives we had started. They work hard and are dedicated to helping the saints grow in Kilungu Hills as well as teaching the gospel to investigators. They are also fun to feed as they love to eat! The spaghetti, jello salad, beans, bread, brownies and banana pudding were consumed with happy, appreciative sounds! We also brought groceries we wouldn't be needing, including a large brick of cheese that was “the best gift ever;” with the possible exception of the shower head we gave them that heats water. It never worked for us in our Precious Blood flat because there wasn't enough water pressure; but they assured us it would work on the hose at their apartment! As we took them home they looked like it had been Christmas. We will miss them and keep them in our prayers as they continue their work in the Hills.

Wednesday we picked up President Kaseve who is still recovering from surgery and took him to Mitini for a fun, branch farewell party there. This was also the day we gave the R.S. sisters the treadle sewing machine – a Christmas gift from our family. They had kept their end of the agreement by saving up l,500 shillings (about $19) from their many small donations and from not spending some of their church LUBA for Relief Society. It was an exciting day and they have great plans for using it. There were more fun songs with dances, gifts, and tributes. How we will miss these friends – dozens of new members in the past year plus. We talked again of the certainty of a grand reunion in the spirit world. After some special "goodbyes" some of the brethren rode with us to Kikoko to help move our things to the truck for a last ride back to Nairobi. With a warm goodbye to the nuns we were on our way.

Our last Monday night was at President and Sister Broadbent's home where we had dinner, shared some mission experiences and pictures, and enjoyed the evening together. One of the great blessings of a mission is being able to association with such wonderful couples with shared purpose. They will be life-long friends and we'll miss them but hope to see them again when they return. The next few days were spent packing, cleaning, shopping, and just trying to enjoying the "present moment" before leaving. Friday afternoon we met with President Broadbent for a final interview and truly memorable priesthood blessings. Saturday evening we had a final dinner out with the couples and Elder and Sister Nevin took us to the airport to begin the long journey to our beautiful, beloved USA!


Beginnings – We flew to London and during the 9 ½ hour layover took the Underground to central London where we renewed memories of our visit there in 2002. A trip on the London Eye (huge tourist Ferris wheel to view the city) and a lunch stop at Beautiful Burger King(!) was about all the time we had before resuming the second leg of our journey -- the almost 11 hour flight to Phoenix. It was long but gave us time for reflection on wonderful blessings and life-changing experiences from serving as missionaries to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ during these days known as “Africa’s time to receive the Gospel;” and help prepare future leaders for the Church in Kenya.


We were met at the airport by our son, Lane, and two grandsons holding “Welcome Home” signs. How we love our family. We count our blessings and savor our wonderful mission experiences as we begin a new era of our lives.


Thanks for sharing this time with us!


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