My sweet mother decided it was time to go, and died peacefully this week on September 8. Craig and I felt we needed to return home for her funeral and left Thursday. That afternoon we had a District send-off lunch and the Elders gave me this beautiful bouquet. It was so very thoughtful of them, but since I couldn't take it with me, I was happy to gift it to a dear friend!
This is a fun selfie taken earlier in the week at District Meeting. Missionaries love to take pictures of other missionaries and we are always honored when they want a picture with us, the Seniors.
Elder Fitzsimmons is going home to Utah next week and will already be gone when we return from the USA, so we had to get a picture with him. He is a great young man working hard in the Niuean ward. The Niuean Island is one of the smallest countries in the world and is a pacific paradise! We love District Meetings and learn so much at them!
It was so strange getting on a plane for home after being gone 6 months and seemed like a dry run for when we really go back in a year. I don't even like thinking about that! It was a joy to see this sign though, as we entered our homeland. We are happy to be in the U.S. for a short time to honor our mother, and reassured our NZ members that we have a return flight on the 23rd!
I know my daughter loves me when she stocks up on one of the things I've missed in NZ! Diet Cherry Coke! On our way home from the airport, we had to stop at Maverick's for a much anticipated 44oz!
We had a wonderful service for Mom and it was a great reunion with all my siblings. Also, most of the grandchildren and half the great-grandchildren were there! All of our children came, which was wonderful for us! They loved their Granny so much, and would've come even if we couldn't be here!
I loved all the talks and we had wonderful music. Craig, Christy, Brian and Kass sang Mom's requested song, "How Great Thou Art"! Mom wanted all the grandchildren in attendance to sing, and we had a lovely solo by our niece, Kimberly Strand!
I have to share these pictures of Mom showing that she was young at heart. These photos are part of Christmas cards she sent out a few years ago.
So many people besides her family, loved "Granny". There's so much Good I could write about her and I'm happy to say, we had a few chuckles during the services today! She will greatly be missed!
"Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her."
We are happy she is with Dad again and know it was a happy reunion!
Thank you for all your prayers and sympathy for our loss! You are all so kind and generous and we love you. Have a great week!
Elder and Sister Martin