President and Sister Jennings' Farewell
Sad time... 3 wonderful years of service; 24/7, 365 x 3...... lots of work, sacrifice and love. What a blessing they were to this mission. An unexpected blessing for them, I'm sure, was a former missionary who'd served under them a couple of years back was again back in Korea, now with his wife and baby. He'd heard about the Jennings' leaving and had to come and wish them well and thank them.
Sorry to admit I didn't get their picture but they represented so many that have returned home and would have loved to have been here this day to bid them farewell and to thank them. All the missionaries met at the Gupo Yuk, i.e. the train station. We arrived early in hopes of surprising them. Outside the station everyone was just happy to see friends and former companions. Moving all of us - 80+ through to the lower level where the trains come was an event in itself!
Elder Bagley, Elder Wade, Elder Thompson, and Elder Harris. Is the church in good hands, or what?!!
This sweet sister came to bid them farewell as well. She seems to be busy telling something important to Elder Babcock (one of our zone leaders) and Elder Arnell. She is loved dearly by all the missionaries in the Busan area. From what I hear she feeds them and feeds them well! While she doesn't speak English and I don't speak Korean I was still able to 'talk' to her as people everywhere can manage to do. She is a special sister that is loved by all who know her.
"Our sisters..." Sister Oaks and Sister Cramer. How blessed we are to have them, although we're sad as Sister Cramer has returned to the states by now! I think they were attempting to stay under an awning for some coolness. Hey! this is Korea... there is no coolness in their summers!
Elders reminiscing and catching up. Also, some talking going on about the good old days at the MTC!
Elder Howerton with Elder Kim. He was in our area about his first transfer here in Korea, then he moved south. We hadn't seen him in awhile. Gotta love these get-togethers!
Here is Elder Jo talking to Elder Harris. Elder Jo, on the right, is probably telling Elder Harris what it's like to be a full-time missionary and a new branch president - at the same time! Missionaries can wear more than one hat. Can you imagine the growth we are blessed to watch?! It's like watching a bud open into this beautiful flower.....
Elder Moseley with Elder Harris. We've been wanting a picture of Elder Moseley for his mother :-) but we're assigned far from each other. Elder Harris grabbed him for us, so mom here's your baby boy! He's looking great and doing wonderfully. I can't imagine being anywhere but right here surrounded by the best of the best. It adds to our testimony daily.
Elder Gee looks like he's serious about whatever he's doing.... carrying shoes? Now that I didn't notice when I shot the picture. There has to be a story in that.
What a bunch! All waiting for the Jennings to walk down the stairs. Plans are in place to welcome them. Keeping the noise level down was an experience for someone.... thank heavens we weren't in charge. What a great group though. They were all so excited to be there.
Here's a few with song sheets in hand. As the Jennings started coming down the stairs, Sister Patterson got the group together for a moving song of 'How Great Thou Art'. It is President Jennings' favorite song, and it truly was something to hear; in Korean of course. Beautiful.
Good looking group of God's Army, I'd say. Dedicated, hard working, loyal, and trustworthy young men and women devoted to taking the gospel to all and any that will lend an ear. You want to feel young again, walk with a spring in your step, or just feel of the spirit of the Lord? Do something to preach the gospel, rub shoulders with missionaries, and step outside your comfort zone; try this yourself. You'll never be the same again, that I can promise you. GO ON A SENIOR COUPLE MISSION.
Notice the picture above this one.... they asked Elder Memmott to bend down so the rest could be seen! He's a giant of a man in stature and in testimony. What an elder! This is a "practice wave" while waiting for the Jennings and Gilberts to arrive.
I'm not real thrilled here.... next to me is a wonderful sister that we're losing; Sister Stevens. I could feel her loss already. What an incredible sister she is! You could not help but feel better just from being around her. Her smile is literally infectious and she will be greatly missed!
Sister Jennings was overwhelmed by the outpouring of love, as was President Jennings. The AP's are with them - Elder Tanner is on her immediate left, looking down.We are losing him also. He's been such a great missionary and a help to many, many of us! He will be missed very much as well.
Sometimes it's hard to fight tears.
President is leaving us with some words of wisdom and their love and thanks. They loved their mission, the missionaries, the work and service they provided. If you were to ask them they would most likely tell you they received more than they gave. The rest of us, however, know that isn't exactly true. What a blessing to all of us that have known and had the good fortune to serve with them.
Enter our new Busan Mission couple; President and Sister Gilbert! What a great couple they are. Such testimony and desire to serve the Lord. The Jennings are leaving now having some understanding of what it takes to run a large mission and all the responsiblility that goes along with that calling. President and Sister Gilbert will now hit the ground running to discover just what all that is! They will do a wonderful job as they love the Lord and His work. We are all so very blessed to have them here.
Sister Jennings bidding farewell to the sweet Korean sister that was in the pictures earlier. It's hard to leave those you love. Sister Gilbert watches I'm sure excited about the opportunity that lies before her. She is truly a people person and will be loved by all. She's loved by many already as they were at the MTC prior to this calling so many of the missionaries know them already!
I believe that Sister Jennings might be rethinking this train ride!!
A sad smile and a wave of the arm. On to the next chapter of their lives. I know this one has ended well for them and for all those who know them. Thank you President and Sister Jennings. We love you.
Sister Gilbert with some of our beautiful and virtuous sister missionaries. Other than Sister Oaks in the white glasses, we're losing all the others this coming transfer! Sister Patterson, Sister Stevens, Sister Cramer and Sister Culver. THEY are going to be very difficult to replace, in the missions they served so well and in our hearts.
In our district alone we are losing these 3; Elder Lee is going way down south to some of the islands. Elder Harris who has been in our district since we got here, and now is our District Leader, is moving on. That's like losing an arm or something.... and Sister Cramer, our special sister, is going home. Exciting times in the lives of the missionaries. Just so they don't forget us!
Could I adopt these two or what?! More grandkids..... I dearly love them both. I told Elder Harris that it's OK if he wants to wait for my 15 year old granddaughter! Sorry Elizabeth, you probably don't appreciate that but it's OK honey, it's all a joke......
Here was our district on a very hot and humid day. Funny, I'm the only one who shows it! Elder Howerton looks a little warm as well.... hummm, must just be the age factor.
A dinner for the group before we all parted ways - til we meet again. I had BBQ Ribs and baked potatoes - then remembered our 'mashed potato' girl, Sister Cramer. I threw in a roast at the last minute so we could also have potatoes and gravy too!
My grandfather (Papaw to me) would have loved Sister Cramer.... he loved his mashed potatoes too - as one can tell by his granddaughter (me!). He taught me well..... She fits right in to the family. I'm sure she's getting all the mashed potatoes mom can make her now.
Our newest sister in our district; Sister McComber. She is something else. I swear she truly came knowing how to speak Korean! She is so confident and self-assured. She'd been in-country literally 5 days when this picture was taken. We went to this delicious place for a treat after one of our meetings. Check out that bowl of ice creams and fruits. There is shaved ice with fruit sauce under the ice cream. Shared by all 3 sisters, it was truly big enough to do that. ....and tasty too!
We have 3 sisters now in our district; Sister Oaks who is now the senior! Sister Beh and Sister McComber. They all are doing so well together; full of energy and purpose.
While we lost Elder Harris, we gained Elder Olsen! He is our District Leader and he's the one in the front. Elder Olsen was in our area before and was moved away. He's baaack..... which we're thrilled about. Elder Schultz is next to him. He's also new to us and is Elder Thompson's companion. Don't you love this place we're at? It's darling. I can imagine something like it in the states, people would love it. The chairs we're on rock back and forth. The sisters were sitting on swings, that literally swing. Very neat idea and such fun decor. All they carry is various types of Patbingsu (pop ben sue). It's shaved ice with sweet beans (it's better than it sounds), fruits, juices, etc on top or under your ice cream.... My dish had the ice with chocolate, bananas, and crumbled cookies. It was great! Cool and refreshing. I mean, how much can shaved ice cost?
Ahhhh, the main reason we're here.... besides the blessings of missionaries... we are able to know and love those that serve our country; the military. SFC R. J. Gordon on the right, re-enlisting! He choose to reinlist which will guarantee him to 16 years. I believe that also places his status as 'indefinite' - meaning he's now considered career status. The Gordon family is such a great family; 5 great children. They even have one of the best dogs we've ever seen! A boxer named Zoey. They literally pray daily for missionary experiences. They constantly are feeding our missionaries and have many, many investigators in their home. Since we've been here, just at a year now, our little branch has had 4 baptisms they've been involved with. 3-4 others that either took the lessons and/or are still taking them at this time. Full time mom of 5, dad does his duty everyday for our country, has been deployed something like 6 times, and missionary work as well. Does that just make you feel tired?!! Does me and I'm around them all the time. Aren't we blessed?!!!
Sister Gordon in the middle and their #2 daughter; Ariana. The LTC that spoke mentioned meeting SFC Gordon the first time while being deployed to Afganistan. The colonel spoke of the manner in which Bro. Gordon stood out and the leadership he displayed over there. They both meet again in Korea later and he acknowledged his pleasure in being the one chosen to swear SFC Gordon in for a full career with the Army.
He received two certificates actually. One side was the one showing here, an Honorable Discharge. Then the other side had his new committment. I'm guessing here but they must release them from their first commitment and re-inlist for the career status.... anyway it's a happy picture!
Some fellow band of brothers congratulating him on this special day.
Another blog - more great memories. I hope you enjoy our mission along with us. We are grateful for each of you; family, friends, and moms/dads/families of the missionaries who anxiously wait, hoping to see their son or daughter. The church is true, the gospel is spreading. The 2nd coming is getting closer and it's displayed by the strong young men and women we see testifying of the Savior.
If you're reading this and haven't read the Book of Mormon I challenge you to do just that. You will never know if it's true or not unless you find out for yourselves. If it isn't - you have only spent time reading. Ahhhh, but if it IS true, you will change your life - for the better. However good you feel your life is now, it will improve, greatly. Of that I testify because it's happened to me; to my family. I thank God every day.