Almost a month after the events and here I am - finally with more pictures! I had this silly thought that as the time drew closer to returning we'd actually have more time... Just a couple more shots of the Mission's Christmas party in Busan. What fun it is to get all together at one time. With transfers coming every 6 weeks for the 17+ months we've been here we love it as much as the young missionaries do, it gives everyone a chance to see each other and reminisce about former days.
We are so blessed to serve with awesome missionaries! Elder Howerton has a picture taken with some whenever he can!
Elder Innis..... pretty special young man that we think the world of!
Elder Bagley and others showing their talents of music and singing.
Before Christmas Elder Howerton and I took a trip down to Busan again, this time to see the area and visit with two other senior missionary couples assigned to the Busan Zone. Above is an overview of the harbor where so many ships come to port. Our military has personnel stationed here, one from our little branch, that are in charge of all the supplies that come into port from the states and other places as well and will then be sent forward to any and all military posts within South Korea.
Looking out more toward the sea as ships of all types and sizes await their turn to move in to load or unload their products. It's an amazingly busy place!
Elder and Sister Carpenter on the left who are the couple serving in the Mission Office for President Gilbert. Elder and Sister Allred, serving a mission as senior couple in YeongDo, just south of Busan.
Great view (in back of me!).... I don't know what caught my attention the other direction. It was COLD and extremely windy. Of course we were up on one of the observation towers on top of Lotte Department Store, so we were elevated to take in the entire waterway.
Elder Howerton asked us all to point to which way we should go next! Typical of missionaries, no one can make a decision.....
Peek-a-boo..... Some of the beautiful decorations they had all along the streets; their 'walking' streets, as in their down-town area.
Beautiful swans made of a frame covered in white lights!
This was a huge neon navitity scene in a park-like area.
Again, another off the main path of shops to more of a side-street area. They had this band playing and the beautiful decorations surrounding them.
Korea has a neat way of decorating for people to take pictures! Several places throughout the downtown walking area are special places like the one above just there for couples/families, etc., to stop for a photo shoots. Each of us had our pictures taken here, as couples. I would think taken early enough in the season they would make great photos to use for personal Christmas cards to mail out! Actually that is exactly what Elder and Sister Allred did.
And of course, as your walking down the streets admiring all the decorations, who should we run into but two missionaries! They walk this a lot during this time of the year because there are so many locals out. People stopped and talked to us as we were with them! Otherwise, they just smiled at all of us but these young people really draw them!
Palm trees in South Korea?! Who knew? Not us.... They were real trees though decorated to the max for the Christmas season.
Elder Howerton informed me that a couple of elders were coming by our place on their way to the church....OK. When our doorbell rang he jumped to answer it. In walked Elder Olsen, Elder Duerden, Elder Cahoon, Elder Gee, and Elder BaekWanSui....with packages! It seems that Elder Olsen had taken the lead on this little surprise, and I will be forever grateful to him!
Several - and I mean several - of the missionaries throughout our zone contributed money toward these 2 beautiful Korean boxes.... this beautifully ornate smaller one....
And this larger beautiful box. I have the small one sitting on top of the larger one. Nothing in them, these are coming home to fill at that time. I was completely overwhelmed. This wonderful surprise was for my Christmas Eve birthday! I tell you, these elders and sisters are just too wonderful for words. They certainly shocked me completely. Elder Howerton was aware of what they were up to as Elder Olsen had asked for some thoughts and validation on his ideas.
Yes, I had red eyes!! This fabulous Christmas gift was for both Elder Howerton and myself. When we were in Busan for the Mission Christmas party Elder Olsen had all the missionaries he could grab, and he got just about them all, and had them sign some words to us on this full-sized Korean flag! Actually, Elder Olsen obtained two Korean flags and had them sewed together and we now have signings on the front of both sides. Even Elder Howerton got pretty misty on this gift too! We both were totally amazed at the thought, the work involved to acomplish this feat, and the wonderful, loving words from those missionaries that we love so much. Yes.... this is a keeper!!!
What a great Christmas season this was. To be around the military, other senior missionaries, plus all the young missionaries we think so much of have made this last Christmas here something to truly remember. We have been blessed beyond anything we could have even imagined. In November some great friends of ours in Las Vegas, where we used to live, wrote us and offered us a blessing to end all blessings! Because of their wonderful offer we are now making plans to move to Las Vegas and live in a lovely home surrounded by many friends/brothers and sisters in the gospel.
While we will be flying back to Salt Lake and staying there with our family (yea; our grandchildren!!!) for a couple of weeks, then we'll be making the move south. Yes, it will be hard to be further away from our family than we'd originally planned but they are all so understanding....and the kids love to come to Vegas to see us; they love eating at the buffets! Being fully retired now we plan a plethora of trips back and forth, not only to see our grandchildren but also to see 'new' family (Peterson's, etc) that we now have - and of course our 'adopted' grandchildren too!
I can't imagine NOT having served this mission. We have made so many good friends. Friends that we pray will continue to be friends throughout the years to come. We have already been invited to a wedding of one of our former missionaries here in Korea! Former elder, Choi DeokHyun, is getting married this coming Saturday in the Seoul Temple. The first wedding of the missionaries we've grown to love since being here. Looking forward to getting home as there are two more weddings scheduled for our former missionaries. And the cycle of life moves eternally forward.
I will have another blog started as I finish this. There just isn't that much time left to get them to you! Thank you all for supporting us and following our time here. Please give thought to going on a senior couple mission yourself. It will be the blessing of your life. We have friends from our time in the MTC that are soon to go on another mission; to Germany! They served for 12 months and got home 6 months ago, and they're ready to go again!!! It changes your life..... we love each and every one of you....
Just an update... Our homecoming is planned for Sunday, February 19th at the Heber 8th Ward in Heber City, Utah. Sacrament is 9:00 am. After sacrament we will caravan to our daughter's house (about a whole 4 miles from the church!) for some food and fellowship. Please know you are invited should you care to come. We would love to see all of you we can and hopefully we'll have some of our elders who have returned already....? We really want to see you guys!
May Heavenly Father pour out his blessings upon you.