Dear Family and Friends:
I am writing you as a civilian: without a name tag, or cellphone full of missionary, doctor, pizza, and service numbers. I'm not driving the Westville Boys High School "bus", or buying bedding, or paper plates or cups. I'm not giving talks, training or shopping hints, or searching out interesting places for couples seminars. Instead, I'm catching up with all the kids (except Torry's family, who will be here July 24th); shopping for cars (got a sterling gray Ford Fusion Hybrid), cellphones (IPhones), computers (Mac) and groceries (Campbell's soup, Cook'n'Serve chocolate pudding, saltines, graham crackers, grape jelly...); driving a Gator out to see Morgan's wood duck nesting boxes (Eagle Scout project); starting out at a new ward (Vienna Woods) and renewing friendships. And in the midst of all the excitement - thinking about everyone back in the mission. I'm exhausted - and so is my bank account.
It was wonderful meeting the Von Stettens at last; they are as enthusiastic, likeable, and eager as we were told by those who already knew them. The transition for the missionaries will be very easy - and the missionaries will be ready to move forward with all the new things the Von Stettens brought from the MTC. I can't wait to hear about all the huge growth that is about to take place!
I thought I'd give you a few of the Mission Mom stats I've accumulated over the last three years. (They surprised even me!)
Transfer dinners: 48
Pizzas ordered: Over 2000
Miles driven: 100,000(ish)
Chickens hit: 1 (he flopped off - alive)
Nights when a boy stayed overnight and was fed (constantly): At least 700 - probably over 1000
Talks/training at stake and district conferences: Over 60
Zone conferences/Sunbeam Message of the Day: Over 70
Trips to the airport: At least 50
Trips to the hospital: Enough that nurses call me by name...
Times lost (but found my way back): A lot!
Trips to the mall (most often with teenagers): 300 (That's probably a low estimate...)
Fast food meals: Not telling
New friends made: Hundreds
Testimony building experiences: Can't count that high
Grateful feelings for having been allowed to do this: Innumerable
And that's just the beginning. And guess what? Experiences even better than these are available to anyone who goes on a mission - or helps the fulltime missionaries grow the kingdom in their own area. I started my own efforts on Sunday, by meeting the elders in our ward (one of whom is Elder Magoffin's cousin, in the Durban Mission!) and saying Hi to new neighbors out walking their dog - and obviously not on their way to Church.
So there you go. We loved the mission - although Steve is still listening for calls from the elders, and going into withdrawal without a six-week cycle to give form to his life. We're looking forward to seeing our former missionaries (of all ages!) who are home now and will return over the next few years. Our first official missionary reunion will be Friday, October 1st at 6:30 - is someone on the Wasatch Front can help us find an as yet unscheduled cultural hall?
Then in 18 months or so we'll hold reunions in Kampala, Nairobi, Harare and Johannesburg. And then, of course, there will be the trip to Durban with any of the couples who can join us, for the Durban Temple dedication: whenever!
Steve is going to organize a website where every missionary has his/her own spot to post photos, and comments, and current contact info. We'll email the info to everyone, but I may also post the information here on the blog at the end of July in case our email list isn't quite right. Our current contact info is:
Steve firstname.lastname@example.org Susan email@example.com
208 891 4072 208 891 3082
Address: 2167 E Handel Street
Meridian, ID 83646
We're doing a report in our old ward, River Heights, on July 25th at 11am. Steve will be picking up Torry and the kids on Saturday the 24th, but he'll be home that night, and I'll be home that day, and it's open house 24-7 for all our missionary "companions" - and family and friends! (Couples: bring brownies!)
It's also open house anytime you're passing through and need a place to sleepover - I'm very good at that! But I still only do breakfasts...
Thankyouthankyouthankyou for all the support and love and help you've been. Let's be friends forever.
ps People drive on the right here
pps And no one wears nametags
ppps But the Church is just as true