Tuesday, January 3, 2012

We're Home!

Another World...
On June 30, 2011 Bruce and I stepped from one world to another. We stepped from a wonderful world where vital young missionaries were our focus to a world where our family welcomed us with open arms after a three year absence. We were greeted by four of our children (our oldest son lives in Texas) three spouses, and 5 grandchildren with one on the way. A big surprise was that Bruce's parents decided to drive down from Idaho to welcome us! Bruce's sister and husband, Robert and Carolyn were also there. It was a great reunion.
Grandpa Bruce holds the newest member of the family, James Paul Steele, born just one month earlier on May 29th.
Left to right, Grandson Caleb with his new sombrero, daughters Annette, Melanie, Daughter-in-law Stevie holding James, and son-in-law Shaun (proud papa of James).
Dick and LaVonne Clark--our surprise visitors from Idaho.
Jared and Melanie Steere with three of their 4 children, Caleb 5, Halle, 7, and Ava 3.
Robert and Carolyn Christesen
Son Nate and Stevie Clark holding baby Taryn, Melanie's youngest at 2 months.
The engaged couple--Amy Tolley with our son Spencer at the house. They would be married in August.

This sign was on our front door, thanks to Melanie.
The Bagley's, our neighbors, helped liven up the place also.

And 11 days later....we gave our report in Sacrament Meeting in the Country Park 3rd Ward of the South Jordan Country Park Stake

June 10, 2011
Our Homecoming Report
We told all of our former missionaries who were planning to come hear us speak to come dressed like missionaries and be prepared to sing the mission song (in Spanish, of course). We had about 45 elders present and I don't think there was a dry eye in the house. These young men are indeed like the "the armies of Helaman". It was an amazing meeting. We love these guys.

Afterwards, most of them came by the house to have a little food fellowship. We were also happy to meet the parents of many of our missionaries, some still in the field.

Jake Falk and family.(SLC, Utah)
Jordan Pogue,(WA.) his friend Ashlee, and Spencer Wallin(Layton, Ut). Jordan was one of our first assistants and Spencer was one of our first office elders. They taught us everything we needed to know about the misison.
Trevor Mann (Far West, UT), his mom and sister, and Sr. Clark
Jimmy Sweeney (Kansas)
Brandon Layland,(AZ) a friend, Daniel Guerrero from Mexico, and Tyler Clonts.(AZ)
Brennan Thompson (Utah) and wife.
Travis Sorenson (Utah) and his mom.
Joseph and Hazel Anderson, parents of TJ who was still in the field. (From SLC, Utah)
The Scothornes--parents of Jack Scothorne, still in the field. (Kearns, Utah)

Kendall Glauser,(Herriman, Utah) Eric Blair(Riverton, Utah), James Bouchard (Texas), and Justin Reed (Colorado) with fiance.

Our dear friends, Alex and Cindy Helquist. (West Jordan, Utah)
Jake Falk (SLC), Lance Von Bracht (Montana), Scott Carlson (Texas), Jarem Morris (Arizona), Jordan Mills (Utah), Taylor Stratton (Colorado), Cameron Clark (Utah), and Drew Van Orden (Utah).
Alex Masterson (Texas), Brandon Layland (Arizona), Taylor Robb (Nevada) and future wife, Breanna.
The guy who made it all possible for Glenys--Chuck Gilmore and his wife Judy.(Utah) Chuck was a high school friend and taught and baptized Glenys when she was 18 and he was 17--back in St. Joseph, Missouri. So many good things have happened because of that decision to be baptized.
Travis Stoor (Idaho) with future wife Erin, and his mom.
Tyler Stevens (Washington and Utah), Joshua Phillips (Utah), Ben Hawkins (Arizona), Regan Hunsaker (Wyoming) and future wife, Garrett Galt (UT), Scott Spencer (UT), Trevor Mann (UT), Preston Harris (California) , Brian Libby (Arizona/Texas), Travis Sorenson (UT), and Owen Kent (Missouri).
Adam Mott (Tooele, UT.) and Alan Sorenson( WVC, UT.) with their wives, both expecting their first children!

As members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, we proclaim to all who will listen that we have a Heavenly Father who loves us and who sent his son, Jesus Christ, to redeem us from our sins. We proclaim that a young boy, Joseph Smith was prepared to find and translate the Book of Mormon which is another testament of Jesus Christ. That book, along with the Bible, can help us understand God's plan for us during our journey on the earth. We believe that we have a living prophet, President Thomas S. Monson, who leads the church today through inspiration. As members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, we send missionaries into all of the world where they can enter, to teach others about the great truths of the gospel. This blog has been dedicated to sharing the experiences we have had serving with a small group (approximately 467 missionaries over a 3 year period) of these devoted young people. Because these young people believe what they believe, they volunteer to give 2 years of their lives to full-time missionary service so that they can share the gospel message with others. There are currently over 52,000 missionaries serving throughout the world.

"And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask of God, the eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost. And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things." --Moroni 9:4,5 in the Book of Mormon--

Monday, January 2, 2012

Our last two weeks in the mission...

We finished our time in the mission, training the leadership in Zacatecas and Durango and saying goodbye to dear friends there. We were invited to dinner with the leadership of Madero District and enjoyed a good time with mariachi music and fellowship...along with some good food. We had a farewell luncheon with the office elders on our last Saturday and were delighted to have Sr. Lopez and her mother arrive from Puebla to join us. They also attended our last Stake Conference in La Laguna Stake on our last Sunday where Sr. Clark was presented with beautiful flowers. We finally got to go to the restaurant known as "Pampas" on our last Monday with the Stake Presidency of La Laguna. We enjoyed visiting the Castenada family in Bermejillo on Wednesday night, Sr. De La Cruz and Abrahm visited us at the hotel and then we picked up President Flores with part of his family on Thursday afternoon. Their flight was delayed so we did an intensive orientation and then took them to a late dinner. They dropped us off at our hotel and after a very short night, we got up and were driven to the airport by our assistants, Elders Welch and Beltran. We cannot believe that this chapter in our lives is over. WE HAVE ABSOLUTELY LOVED SERVING AS MISSION PRESIDENTS. WE LOVE THE PEOPLE OF THE TORREON MISSION AND ESPECIALLY THE MISSIONARIES.
Hermanas Ortega and Gonzalez asked what they could give me as a going away gift. I told them I just wanted to have my picture taken with them. This will always be a sweet memory.
We loved everything about the Hotel Gobernador in Durango, Durango. One day I will have a sign painted like this to remember our many visits there.
As soon as our van pulled up there, one of their outstanding bell hops was there to help us. The front desk somehow knew we had arrived and greeted Bruce by name with our paperwork ready. We got to know the waiters and one would have Bruce's oatmeal ready in the morning if he was on duty. This is Mario with Bruce.
Another of our favorites...
Victor liked to practice his English and always was so helpful. We presented them Books of Mormon and Tabernacle Choir CDs for Christmas.
This group is our leadership in Durango. We had a great training day with them and then said our last goodbyes. The mission is in good hands. Elders Vargas, Myers, Davis, Cooke, Malpica, Munson, Maxfield and Hermanas Silva and Romero.
Our last stay in the Meson de Jobito in Zacatecas. We won't forget the complicated street layout, the wonderful atmosphere of the arts, and the great members and missionaries here.
The view from our room...
Our former assistant, Elder Gutierrez, gave me an apron that said "This house is not a restaurant". He and Elder Robb had ordered it for me.
Back in Torreon, we treated our fine office elders to lunch at Cimaco at the Cuatro Caminos Mall.
Assistants Welch and Beltran, Elder Juarez--Secretary of the mission, Elder Young--Secretary of Records, Elder Perez, Reference Secretary, and Elder Burgin--Financial Secretary.

Sr. Lopez and her mother rode a bus all the way from Puebla to say goodbye. They joined us for the lunch and presented me with this beautiful plate from Puebla.
Our dear friends from the Madero District Presidency invited us to an evening meal at the Sirloin Stockade. L to R, Los Hernandez, Los Clarks, Los Bracamontes, Presidente and Hermana Moreno, and President and Sr. Becerra, Bruce's counselor.
We sang the beloved songs of Mexico with the Mariachi Band and I cried.
This was a bittersweet time with our friends from Madero.
We spoke in the La Laguna Stake Conference and they gave me a beautiful bouquet of flowers that I enjoyed the rest of the week. Sr. Lopez and her mother were there to support us.
The last baptism we witnessed was in La Laguna stake and was performed by Elders Bickmore and Soriano. The young girl was baptized.
The Stake Presidency of La Laguna treated us to dinner at Pampas de Brazil. We drank "Cielo Azul". (Blue sky)
It was hard to say goodbye to the patriarch and matriarch of the Casteneda family of Bermijillo. They joined the church as a poor young couple and they flourished to produce wonderful children and leaders in the church. Their son, Nicolas is mission president in Villanueva and their son, David Jr. is district president in Bermejillo.
David and Alicia
Aaron and Griselda
Shelem and Josue
Serving a traditional Mexican dinner...
My dear friend Marta De La Cruz. She helped me with Spanish but most of all, was there if I needed her and visa versa. We are soul mates.
Marta and son Abrahm--home from his mission and preparing to leave for BYU Idaho.
President and Sr. Flores with their two youngest children. They will lead the mission when we are gone. The are in for a very exciting experience.
President Raul Baron, President of the Gomez Palacio Stake and the Institute program in Torreon came to the airport early to see us off. He and President Clark became good friends and loved serving together.
After this picture was taken, we said goodbye to our faithful assistants and boarded the plane for home. It was like we were in a dream world. Thanks Elders Beltran and Welch.