|Jon arrives back home|
I immediately placed a call to the senior missionary department of the Church to find out how couples like Geri and I would go about applying to serve a mission. Following the advice received from the phone call, we searched on www.lds.org for information. We then phoned our Bishop and asked him to get the ball rolling. In a couple of days we were filling out our application online.
|Paul on soon to be wet iPhone 4S|
Following a fun-filled week at Lake Powell with our daughter Shelly and her family, we completed the necessary doctor and dentist visits, began our inoculations, and submitted our application. We interviewed with our Bishop and Stake President on Sunday, September 16 and the application was submitted to the Church.
We decided that we didn't want to indicate any preference as to where we wanted to serve. I thought a mission to Africa would be interesting. Geri was terrified that we might actually be sent to somewhere as challenging as that. She was thinking that a return to Germany would be nice. We did mention where we had lived, the languages we were familiar with, where our ancestors were from, and where I had served as a young missionary. We also indicated we would serve for 23 months (the choices were 6, 12, 18, or 24 months.) Basically, we just wanted to serve where we would be useful.
Six weeks later, on October 26th our long-awaited, eagerly anticipated, large, white envelope arrived. Since Geri had never had the opportunity to open a mission call, I thought she should open the letter. It is difficult to describe the combination of fear and excitement that accompany the opening of a mission call -- even as a senior couple. It crosses your mind that the next two years of your life will be determined by the contents of that envelope. She tried to cover up the part of the letter indicating the name of our mission so she could read the letter from beginning to end, but was unsuccessful. She immediately saw "Italy Rome Mission" and started screaming. I wasn't sure if she was screaming for happiness or disappointment, but it quickly became clear she was elated, and shouted that we were called to serve in Italy where I had served as a young missionary from September 1966 to January 1969.
|President and Sister Kelly flanking us|
|Geri's Mom & my Dad & our ship Celebrity Reflections|
|Brother Jolley - our main tutor|
|Sister Cropper - sunniest smile in the MTC|
|Geri having a fun breakfast at the Corner Bakery in Chicago|
|Looking down 103 stories from the Willis Tower|
|37 couples and 2 single sisters at the MTC|
|Cullimores, Scherbels, Tappans, Lynns with Sister Zollinger - Our District|
Sister Roach - Her grandaughter referred to elderly people as "children with grandma and grandpa faces." That is pretty much how I feel -- a young person with an old face (and body).
Sister Nalley - The forgotten beattitude: Blessed are the flexible, for they will not get bent out of shape.
Sister Evans: Exact obediance.
Brother David Evans: We need the second kind of faith, the kind which causes things to happen.
Brother Pike (young missionary instructor): Teach-ify - testifying without saying "I know..."
Elder Holland (via a video):
The eyes of the investigator will tell you all you need to know about what they need to be taught.
(French Story) "Come to the edge." "No, I'll fall." "Come to the edge." "No, I'll fall." "Come to the edge." So, they came to the edge -- and he pushed them -- and they flew.
The Lord doesn't call the qualified. He qualifies those He calls.
Think about the slogans of home improvement stores. They apply well to missionary work.
Home Depot: You can do it. We can help. (New Slogan: More saving. More doing.)
Lowes: Let's build something together. (New Slogan: Never stop improving.)
Local hardware store in Mountain Home Idaho: If we don't have it, you don't need it.
We are now as prepared as we are going to get. We are excited to actually begin our service. Actually, it has just dawned on me in the last couple of days that this is really going to happen. I will miss our children, grandchildren, parents, brothers and sisters, and friends so much. I am nervous as I think about supporting Geri and helping her continue to learn Italian. I'm not sure exactly what we're going to do, but I sincerely hope we can be useful to someone.
|Geri is not going to Greece or Bulgaria. Her finger just slipped.|