Below are photos of events from our last two weeks and some of the "good-byes! There were many more visits than I could post, with yummy meals, and good laughs!
We were determined not to wait until the last day to pack our bags and clean, so two weeks before our leave date, we started sorting items, packing boxes to mail home (we mailed 7 boxes), and giving items away. We wanted to save our last week for lessons, FHE's and visits with all the people we've grown to love.We hated to leave the Bath's behind, because we have so much fun together, but they don't live far from us in Utah either, so our goodbye is another "see ya later"! We love all the senior couples and have shared many great experiences together.
She was so much help when we first came on our mission, and we hope to see her in Utah next year!
There are many families we visited often that we grew to love so much. Their open doors and hearts towards us made our mission a delight. So many wonderful families and beautiful children are inbedded in our hearts forever! The Deys, Kata, Clarke, Aloua, Amituanai, Keung, Williams, Ormsby, Millie, Leti, Alice, John, Alex, and so many others. We love and will miss the lessons and games!
He and Elder Martin have a special bond!
Who doesn't love Ella and Busby Lawrence! Busby is a great Ward Mission Leader, and we have loved serving with him. We all love his happy laugh, his commitment, and love of God. He's a great cook and makes a mean Maori bread and fry bread, that we loved! Ella works weekly at the Family History Center and their whole family has been so kind to us.
What a great life changing experience our mission has been. Elder Martin gets even more blubbery than me when he talks about it! We have so much to be thankful for and realize that our mission has never been a sacrifice, but a total blessing to us and our family!
Our last day was Friday, September 23rd. We finished cleaning our flat, made a few more good-bye visits, picked up our rental car and drove south towards Taupo for the start of our 5-week trip before going home. We are so excited to be touring the South Island and Australia and it will be a great ending to our mission. My last two blogs will be about that trip!
Leaving our mission is so bittersweet. We cannot express in words the love we have for the people we met in New Zealand! We find it hard to relate the great blessings and change that has come over us because we've served so happily! We get choked up when we think about our family and how joyful it will be when we unite with them. It's such an emotional fruit salad!
Thank you for your love and prayers and support these 18 months. Thank you for reading this blog and encouraging us with your comments! Every bit helped us to serve a little better. For your information, we are giving homecoming talks in Saratoga Springs on October 30, and in Scottsdale on November 27.
We love you all!
Elder and Sister Martin