A few things that he said really stood out to me. He said as hard as it is for us to leave our family at this time, it will be ten times harder to leave our mission in three years because of our love for the people. He also told our family members to start saving their pennies, because they all needed to visit us in Uganda. It was pretty funny after the meeting, the kids said things like, "If an apostle tells you to make a trip to Africa, it's like a commandment, we have to go!" They each said they would like to, but after the meeting with Elder Holland, they are setting goals to save the money, and making plans to come. (We are thrilled.). He also told us that because we are caring for Heavenly Father's children, HE will care for our children. That was so amazing to hear. What more could I ask for, than to have Heavenly Father watching over my children while I am away for three years. Steve was set apart as a Mission President by Elder Holland. Then I was set apart as a missionary by Elder Soarez. I don't think there was a dry eye in the room when we were finished. Each family member was touched by the Spirit. Afterward, he stood and shook hands or hugged each person in the room. It was just wonderful.
We went to lunch afterwards and spent the afternoon talking about what had just happened. We will be leaving all of these family members, but I felt a great peace and comfort that all will be well while we are gone.
It was so fun having the kids in town one last time before we leave. We spent Friday evening together, just talking and playing games. Saturday we all went to Lagoon together and spent the day riding some pretty wild rides. I enjoyed my time with my two grand-daughters on the kiddie rides. I was convinced that the new ride, The Cannibal, would be a good idea. It was pretty crazy!! I mostly enjoyed just spending the day with my family.
Sunday, Steve and I spoke in church. We were so touched to see so many people there. There were ward and stake members, extended family, families of missionaries already serving in Uganda, old friends, and new friends. We enjoyed talking with people after the meeting, and again were so touched with the outpouring of love. Over and over again we were saying goodbye to wonderful people. It has been so hard to leave our hometown of Grantsville. Now saying goodbye to extended family and friends, again was very tender. By the end of the day, I was saying goodbye to my brother and sister and their families. I will not see them again before I leave. Steve was also surrounded by family, and felt of their love.
That night we sat down with our kids and their spouses, and shared a testimony with them. It was a rich experience to talk with them about finding and following the will of Heavenly Father. Steve shared scriptures with them, and gave them some challenges of things to study and learn for themselves. This morning they all left together. We couldn't hug them tight enough. Many tears were shed, and then they were gone. I felt like this was the hardest goodbye, but the promises from Elder Holland kept coming to my mind. Heavenly Father will care for my children as I care for HIS. It has given me comfort today.
We will be entering the MTC on Wednesday, June 22nd. I will try to share our experiences through this blog. The address is presidentcollings.blogspot.com. We will post links to Facebook, but will not be doing much more on social media. I guess the next post will probably be from the MTC!