On Friday June 14th all of our missionaries came together for a mission meeting. They took trains and planes and metro to come together to hear the words of our General Authorities and to spend some precious moments with each other.We were honored to have General Authorities from Salt Lake City visiting with us. For some of our missionaries, it was the last mission meeting they would attend, as they flew home on Saturday the 15th, or took off with families coming to pick them up and take them home. We had a chance to hear each of these precious young men and woman bear their testimony and share their feelings about the gospel, what their mission has meant to them. One of our dear elders, Ky Raymond who has such a joyful countenance was fighting back tears as he bid dos vidonya to Russia. He didn't want to leave! He and the others have made such a huge impact on the people of Russia and have been such a blessing to our mission that we don't want them to leave either. It is so heart warming to see the love that our missionaries have for each other. There truly are eternal friendships forged here as they serve together in this great land of Russia, dealing with challenges and disappointments, rejection, and joy and experiences never to be had anywhere else!
Many of the missionaries gathered at Moe's after the meetings for dinner. Moe's is a well-known Mexican restaurant. To see so many of these young people that we have grown so close to was a nice ending to the day. And as we left, "bye elder and Sister Sutton. We love you!, sent us on our way with a bigger smile
I feel so blessed to be here at this time, playing a small part in building up the church in this part of the Lord's vineyard. I was filled with joy as I greeted missionaries I have grown to love so dearly. It made me so happy to hear, "thank you Sister Sutton for all you do!, "Sister Sutton, you are amazing", "Love you Sister Sutton! " , "thanks for being my dad away from home" and "Elder Sutton, you're the man!"" Love you, Elder Sutton."
I know. I've said it so many times and I'm sorry for repeating it so often, but it is such a perk working in the mission office. It is hard work, but our relationship with our wonderful missionaries, young and senior, make it all worthwhile. It also helps relieve the homesickness I feel for my own children, having these special young men and women to love and to make a difference in their life for a season.
The words of our leaders from Salt Lake City were inspiring.
For the members of the Church, you are familiar with the story of the brother of Jared in the Book of Mormon, when he shows faith and asks the Lord to light the stones so they don't have to cross the waters in darkness. It was brought up to us that each one of us needs to have the faith to ask the Lord to light our stones, but without the faith and hard work to prove we are trying, the stones will not light for us. I want to work on my faith, so that I can expect light from "my stones" when I need it and that I will be worthy to receive this gift from God.
I tear up as I think of the last hug received from Elder Kirkham as he left with his family. The last picture taken with dear Sister Jolley, a precious and sweet sister we have loved as a "stand-in" daughter for a season.
Before the meeting dispersed, we all met in the courtyard to have a picture taken together. This was the last mission meeting for our dear President and Sister Sorenson who leave at the end of the month after serving in the great land for 3 years. How we will miss them and his gentle leadership and her sweet testimony and love for the missionaries!
It was truly a glorious day. now, let me tell you about the icing on the cake........