Sister Tolman and I arrived at the Mission Home about 4:30 pm to finish the dinner for the 21 missionaries going home. She had already cooked the roasts all day in the crock-pots and I had the potatoes scrubbed and baked. It was really nice this time because Elder Kinghorn came with us and carried the heavy crock-pots and watermelon up the stairs.
It is really a bittersweet occasion. It is lovely to have a little time to visit with them. Then they all leave for home the next day or two. We especially enjoyed talking to a cute Sister returning to Japan. She wanted to know all about our family and work. She has excellent English and conversation skills.
The last two “leavers” dinners, ward members have brought huge quantities of desserts for the missionaries. They love the sisters who have served in their ward and show that love with food! This time there were enough red velvet cupcakes, caramel squares and brownies to feed a whole congregation! Sister Taufa also still brings all the missionaries candy leis. Elder Kinghorn and I were given candy bar leis.
We really admire Elder Arbado because he agreed to spend a transfer as Elder Malkovitch’s companion so he could be an office elder. He really prefers a proselyting assignment.
After dinner, the missionaries gather in a large circle. We sing a hymn and have a prayer and those leaving share their testimonies. I especially feel encouraged hearing about the challenges they have overcome. President and Sister Back each give their final advice, then it is our last chance to say goodbye. I would like to give everyone a hug goodbye, but as it is, we don’t get back to our flat until about 10:00 pm. President and Sister Back stay up late weighing everyone’s luggage.
Sorry the lighting is not very good in some of these pictures. We are learning where to stand to get better pictures at the Mission Home.