"A man filled with the love of God is not content with blessing his family alone, but ranges through the whole world, anxious to bless the whole human race." Joseph Smith

Saturday, March 5, 2016

The Roller Coaster of Goodbyes

It is extremely hard, if not impossible, to explain the range of emotions that are coming in swells, more and more frequently as the days speed by.  On the one hand, we are excited to go home and see our children and our grandchildren, four of whom we haven’t met in person yet.  As we Skype them and talk about seeing them soon, I can hardly wait to hold them in my arms! 

On the other hand, I break into tears as I talk to the sisters at the branch, or work one on one with a sister and her challenges, or offer support to another in her time of distress.  Or share with another on her hope and joy in the future. They are darling sisters whom I love dearly and may never see again in this life.

Again, the thought of not sitting in front of a computer all day at the office brings a feeling of relief and joyful anticipation.  On the other hand, by the same token, the thought of no longer being involved with the moving forward of the great humanitarian work throughout Asia, of seeing the breadth of humanity in various countries of the world - of just up and leaving it all behind - is nearly more than we can bear. 
One of our treasured memories - our visit to Nepal

The roller coaster is spinning faster.  It is extremely hard to say goodbye to all of this. Our treasured memories will stay with us forever. 

How can one adequately describe what a senior mission is like?  It is simply not possible.  As with younger proselytizing missionaries, the greatest experience has been the growth in ourselves. What we have learned, what we have grown to understand, what we have learned to love, has been far more than anything we could have ever dreamed of.  There is no way, sitting back in our living room in St. Charles, Missouri, that we could have even dreamed of the amazing experiences and opportunities that would have been ours in these short 23 months.

Our last day as serving in the Hong Kong Temple:
Our release papers from serving in the Hong Kong Temple

Our last weekly Area Welfare Coordinating Council Meeting:
Weekly Area Welfare Coordinating Council Meeting

I think the greatest part of this mission has been the blessing of working closely with members of the Area Presidency - Elder Gerrit W. Gong, Elder Randy D. Funk, Elder Sam C.H. Wong and Elder Siu Hong Pon - as well as our association with Elder Jeffrey R. Holland in Timor-Leste. We have been able to see how the Lord reveals His will to His servants, and how revelation guides and directs this Church. 

Tonight our replacements - Elder and Sister Nielson - arrived from the United States.  They served several years ago in Lao as the humanitarian couple, so they come already with experience.  They will do a wonderful job!  They'll take our apartment once we leave - we spruced it up nicely for them. 
Elder Coffey visits with Elder and Sister Nielson at the airport
This  mission has been one of the greatest experiences of our lives. Missions are tough and have challenges, to be sure, and you have to push through those challenges, just like anything else. But when you allow the Lord to be your partner, when you allow Him to guide your choices, when you stay focused on why you came on a mission - it is glorious beyond description.  

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