Sunday, March 30, 2014

It's over - bittersweet moments

Sister Missionaries at the testimony meeting
We spoke in church at the Unur Ward along with two other missionaries who were being transferred to different areas, Elder Norlund and Sister Matthews. AK, the big tall Kazakh, did our translating. 
I am between the Bishop of the Unur Ward and his wife - Darlene is by her piano student, Enkhjin, and her mother

I gave him my last copy of the my marriage book I had left in Mongolia after the meeting. Darlene and I took up the lion's portion of the meeting. 

Darlene concluded her remarks with a testimony in Mongolian. Many appreciative members came up to shake her hand afterward for her efforts to learn the language. 

We were close to a few families in the ward. With more time, it would have only gotten better and better, just like in the Sukhbaatar Branch.

We enjoyed a lunch of hamburgers - our last meal in our refrigerator. We went to the church and had a final interview with President Benson. He expressed appreciation for our work and the impact it has had on the church in Mongolia.

We then had dinner along with the Gardners in the Benson apartment. 
We enjoyed interacting with their children for the last time. 
Mary Ann - a real scamp
John playing "twunkle, twunkle, little twunk, I wonder why you stunk". He liked the new title for his song.
President Benson and Sister Benson prepared a lovely roast beef dinner with mashed potatoes and gravy with fresh rolls. Yum! Yum!

Next up was the testimony meeting. We had a number of young missionaries show up who wanted to express their final goodbyes. 

We have grown close to a number of them as we served together. 
Ourselves with Puujee and Ulziika, two sisters who will help carry the banner of Family History in Mongolia
Buyan-Nemekh wasn't too happy about our leaving
The meeting went on a half hour longer than scheduled. We will miss our associations with them as well as the other senior couples. 

One young Elder said he had been told he would make lifelong friends on his mission. He had no clue it would be with "old" people.

After the meeting, we said our final goodbyes to each other and to the members who attended. We took a lot of pictures with members and missionaries. What memories we have of Mongolia. 

Pres. Benson encouraged us to talk about our missionary experience here in Mongolia when we return to The United States. I don't think we needed much encouragement. 

We have made a lot of new friends, had wonderful, rich experiences, had fulfilling work, and were immersed in a unique culture in one of the most far-flung places in the world. The gospel has taken root here and the soil is good. 

It can't get any better than this - except for going home to family and loved ones from whom we have been separated for too long. It is time to be home. It is time to spoil our own grandchildren.
Darlene with her piano student Isabel

Keep looking at this blog - at least for a couple of weeks. En route we will spend 11 days with our son and his family on Okinawa and another son will come from Seattle to join us. Part of our trip involves layovers in Beijing, Tapei, and Shanghai. The adventure continues.

We will be in St. Louis by April 13 and will be released as missionaries that day. We will be bursting to share more of what we have loved and experienced here in Mongolia.
It it over. It is time to relax.


  1. Maren is laughing herself to tears over "Twunkle, Twunkle."

  2. OHHH more pictures and adventures - what a great way to go home......Sister Farmer looks really tired. I think she deserves a long rest.

  3. So hard to say goodbye, but exciting to go home and see family and friends. I've been in those shoes before. It's a whirlwind of emotions.