|Brad and Whitney's wedding, January 4, 2008|
It was especially cool having David at the ward meetings yesterday. Our Sunday began with David reporting to the High Council at 7:00 a.m. That was fun - a great moment for a parent. Jake Evans, who just returned from the Spain Barcelona Mission, also reported to the high council. David gave the opening prayer in sacrament meeting and clearly had trouble praying in English (he mixes up words and phrases a tad). We had a very powerful testimony meeting. It felt so good to be home, back with our family, back with our ward. There truly is no place like home. David later attended our stake missionary preparation class and teamed up with Jake as guest speakers. They gave an impromptu presentation to the class about their mission preparation, the MTC, learning the Spanish language, and being effective missionaries in their respective foreign countries. They did a great job. It was a wonderful hour.
We spent the evening relaxing, watching the BYU/Oklahoma (September 5, 2009) football game that I had saved for David on the DVR - from start to finish. Even though we all knew the outcome, we still had our doubts that BYU would actually pull it off again. So, David has been running around catching up with friends like Mike Garrard, Michael Taylor, Dan Lee, and even attended a singles activity. He is excited to be back. We are excited to be back - and to be together, as a family again. Maralea commented yesterday that David went into the mission field as a young man and returns home a man, noting: “and we did not get to watch the process.” She did not say that begrudgingly, but with amazement and awe. These missionaries are like caterpillars, going into the cocoon for two years. Their struggles and triumphs allow them to attain the strength to eventually free themselves from the cocoon and, when they emerge, they discover beautiful wings with an ability to leave the ground and soar into the air, providing them with an entirely new perspective on life. Our hope is that they continue to soar in life, using their mission experience as a springboard to personal success and happiness.
|David with his first missionary companion, Elder Campbell - at the Piura airport, July 20, 2010|
The theme in our stake mission preparation class surrounding what it takes to be a successful missionary has always been based on Alma 8:15, faithfulness. It relates to a vision Alma the Younger had with the same angel who had visited him several years earlier at the prayerful leading of his good father to give him one last ultimatum to follow Christ or be destroyed. The occasion of this second visit was under far different circumstances, where Alma the Younger had been serving valiantly for Christ and had just been rejected and run out of the City of Ammoniah. Despite this apparent failure, Alma was told that he had “great reason to rejoice, for thou hast been faithful.” Personal faithfulness is something we control entirely. That is therefore, in my opinion, the true measure of success as a missionary, a person, a parent, etc., regardless of the circumstances. However, our experience with David these past two weeks gave me a new perspective as to one more key measure of success: deep, lasting relationships. The angel Clarence in the movie “It’s A Wonderful Life” told George Bailey in his final words: “No man is a failure who has friends.” David has friends - many of them. Every soul is precious to the Lord. (D&C 18:10.) When we build a deep relationship with a soul that leads them to Christ, we are rich. (See D&C 18:15-16.) I admire David’s ability to create and nurture relationships. What a blessing that will be to him in life. True happiness in life comes as we look beyond ourselves and constantly reach out to others. David taught us that on this trip - without even trying. Yes, it is very good to have him home again.
|Welcome home signs warm the house|
|Not sure we'll ever take them down!|