Saturday, June 28, 2014

The Changing Of The Guard

Well, it's happened. Yesterday was the last day we could call this man "President Preston".   Today he is back in Ashton...oddly enough, still in mission boundaries.

Wednesday he held his last multi-zone conference with his 'children' in this half of the mission.   It was very tender.   We met from 11 to 5. He taught us, we laughed together.   We sang 'God Be With You' at the close.

Several 'former' missionaries made the trip for this last day together.   Like this German Elder who served as our District Leader about a year ago.

Some brought girlfriends.   Others, like this former Assistant to the President, brought their fiancees!

I just love zone conferences.   You get to see a lot of people you once served with.   It's sort of that joyous meeting of the sons of Mosiah on the road back home. By the way, can you believe these two 'adoptive grandchildren' of ours are actually real life cousins?

Well, here's the 'official' final shot of half the Prestons' mission force.   If you're wondering why the 'red', it was requested because it's the President's favourite colour.

And here is Preston Zone.   You know, one thing I'll miss hearing from the President is, "Are we happy?   Of course we are!   Because we're missionaries.   We're missionaries!"
Now you have to say that with sort of 3 syllables, like 'MISH.un.rees'.

I think our President's great legacy to his missionaries is his Christlike attributes: humility, meekness, wisdom, and a very personal love of each Elder and Sister.   He knew everyone's name and a story about each.   According to stories we've heard from the Elders, he was very inspired in handling every problem and deciding each transfer.

When the day came to a close, EVERY missionary wanted one last picture...of course.   The Prestons kept the entire day quite light and full of good humour and positive teaching.   And I only got teary right before he closed.   He paused, and then looked out at everyone and said, "Are you going to be all right now?"   It felt quite parental and very personal.   Imagine leaving that many 'children' and having only two hours together with the new president to pass on any counsel.

And so,.....
mission life continues.    I'm sure we'll have the chance to meet Pres. Ulrich and his wife soon.   And they'll have a completely new approach to the work here, and a brand new enthusiasm.   And the gospel will continue to spread throughout England!

So, meanwhile, what goes on in our area?   How would you like to be a brand new missionary from Denmark, a week old in the MTC...and end up 'in hospital' having your appendix out?!

We've been asked to visit this fine young man each day.   Elder Meese found a way to hook him up to talk with his mother, who had been pretty frantic to know how he was doing.
There was some happy Danish going on in that room!

Elder Meese was also 'on call' when our new little filipino Sister came up sick.  It's wonderful that he can be right there to give our missionaries a blessing.
By the way, these Sisters' (from Florida and the Philippines!)  flat must be about 20 degrees warmer than the weather outside.   They say they are both always cold, but also get spiders when they open the windows!   Hmmm.   The perplexities of mission life!

We continue to see the numbers grow in Preston ward.   Nobody's sure why, but the congregation fills most parts of the chapel these days.   And one of the great supports of the ward continues to be our dear friends (and Quiddler buddies), Eni and Peter.

She is settling into being Relief Society President by now, and he is still serving faithfully in the Elders Quorum Presidency.   By the way, this was the best Hungarian 'sausage and potato dish'.   They invited us for 'tea' Sunday, after which they beat us soundly in a round of Quiddler!  Now, that's pretty bad when their native languages are Hungarian and Romanian!

One more shot, just to say Elder Meese is doing well.    Before they whitewashed the Elders out of Preston, he offered to take them out on a P-day to climb Pendle Hill together.   It overlooks a beautiful area out by Downham.  He was happy as a clam to be climbing again.   I think he's missed his Adams Canyon hikes with his friend Dave.   Anyway, they took a lot of photos of the climb...twist his arm when we get home and you can see them.

Well, if I ramble on more, I won't get this posted.   It's already taken me two sittings to finish it.   So for now, God bless you from the now 'oldest' (and in my case, I think that might be literally, too!) couple in the mission!   We just keep hoping for news that a new couple will be coming to Preston to take our place.   Our bungalow is absolutely perfect, and they would be all set up and ready to go in the kitchen! word of that, I'm afraid.   Come on...somebody put your papers in!

No comments:

Post a Comment