Sunday, April 7, 2013


My feelings just before leaving the Philippines:
It is with such mixed emotions that you leave your mission and return home. I have always heard this, but now I can confirm that it is true! These 18 months have just flown by! Randy and I have grown to love so many people here, that the thought of never seeing them again makes me just want to sob! As we began telling people "goodbye", I could only promise that we would again be reunited in the eternities. I look forward to that time when we will all pick up right where we left off with our wonderful friendships. At least I know that Haidi, our director, will be coming to Salt Lake City each year for training, and there are others that I feel quite sure we will see again in the U.S. How blessed Randy and I feel. We are both so grateful to our Father in Heaven for this experience. We told our dear friends in our Malaya Branch that we would return when the Morong District becomes the Morong Stake....I would also love to attend the open house when the Urdaneta Temple is completed. We shall see!

Arriving home:
It was the saddest feeling to walk out of our apartment for the last time, and lock the door. We both made sure we looked one last time out our living room window at the beautiful view of Manila and the bay. It was sad to say goodbye to the security workers there at the Pioneer Towers as we pulled our luggage through the foyer and out the door for the last time. The Dupaix's even got up at 4:30 a.m. to help us with our luggage and walk us down to the van waiting to take us to the airport. There stood our good friend...the same man that picked us up at the airport 18 months ago when we arrived...and still with that happy smile on his face! Because of a very kind and unexpected act of a former student of Randy's, our flight on Delta Airlines had been upgraded to Business we flew home in style! 

Our Family Greeting Us at the Airport

Welcome Home!

Together With Our Family On the Day We Reported Our Mission

It was a beautiful morning and as we ascended into the clouds, I said goodbye to this island nation. Our lives had changed and we would never be the same.

Now we were in for another new experience...Business Class in a 747...Wow!!! I almost felt guilty...was it really okay to fly home from a mission in luxury???....AND I felt sad for those uncomfortable people in coach!! So I just laid my luxurious seat down flat into a bed, closed the cubicle around me, pulled the blanket up and went to sleep!!!  It was heavenly! We had a layover in Japan and then took off for the 8 hour flight to Seattle....I was now getting so excited that I couldn't sleep anymore! What a beautiful sight it was as we circled the Seattle area preparing to land...more tears came tumbling down as I felt so much joy and gratitude to be safely back in our beloved United States of America. We expected customs to be another test in patience, but they waved us right through...we didn't have to open ANYTHING!! We were so grateful that the last leg from Seattle to Salt Lake City was short, because we were getting giddy!! After landing in SLC, we were almost the first to get off our fight and we headed right for the escalators that would take us down to our family! As we rode down the escalator and the lower level came into view, we heard the biggest cheer with laughter and clapping...and there was our beautiful family...oh, how we love them! 
We met with President Gilleland, our Stake President, to be released, and at the same time he called us to teach the Stake Missionary Prep class...little did any of us know that a huge change would be announced that very weekend with regards to the age requirement for we were excited to be right back in the thick of things! We loved being able to share experiences from our mission as we spoke in our ward. We have done several firesides and are now on the "speaking circuit" through our Stake. As we look back on all the feelings (anxieties!!!) we had prior to our mission, we both agree that this is the best thing we could ever do to bless our children and grandchildren...serve the Lord!! Randy and I both love the words of the Prophet Joseph Smith found in Doctrine and Covenants 128:22
       "Brethren (Bird family), shall we not go on in so great a cause? Go forward and not backward.     Courage, brethren (family); and on, on to the victory! Let your hearts rejoice and be exceedingly glad..."
Yes, we shall go on...for I know without a doubt that this is Christ's church and this gospel message is soooo true.  It will be a privilege to serve the Lord wherever we are needed...but for a moment, we will just enjoy being home. Then we will see what the Lord has in store for us is sure to be an adventure!!