This will be my last and final post on our missionary blog. I felt there were some things we wanted to share with all of you as well as photos from our last few days in Australia. Our last full day in Sydney was a wonderful warm Spring day and we did some wonderful things. It was an exit day…meaning all the missionaries that were going home were together for all or part of the day. We met some of them at the mission office and then went with one of the exiting senior couples, caught a train to the city and disembarked. We bought tickets for a two-hour Harbour Cruise and then took a walk until the departure. It was so nice spending this lovely time with a wonderful couple. The cruise was also lovely! Here are some photos from this activity. The other couple is the Haynes and they returned to Brisbane. They were office/administration missionaries.
Look at the close pictures of the bridge…see the teeny tiny people? Yup, we did that! The unique bridge on the bottom, is the ANZAC bridge, also in Sydney.
The rest of the day was also wonderful. But my camera battery ran out of juice, so I didn’t get any more photos of the day. After our cruise, we walked over to the Opera House. We sat on the grass at the Botanical Gardens as we waited for the mission president, his wife and the three exiting young missionaries. After meeting up with them, we joined the young missionaries who get to see the Opera House as they leave. We had lunch right outside and walked all around the building taking photos and seeing it from all angles. Elder Larkin and I have done this before, so it was fun seeing the young ones enjoying it.
We also walked over towards the bridge and stopped and listened to the natives who play their didgeridoo. A unique form of music, for sure. After more exploring for several hours, our group returned to the Opera House to be picked up by the Office missionaries to head to the Mission home. After arriving at the Mission office, we got the car and headed there ourselves. All the exiting missionaries (well, almost all) stay the last night in the Mission home. We had a lovely dinner with everyone and the AP’s. This was followed by a testimony meeting with the three exiting senior couples and the three exiting young missionaries, along with the President Back and his wife. I feel a little sad that I didn’t get photos of any of this but the memories are dear and we will never forget this lovely day! Knowing we were leaving was an emotional time and many tears were shed as we said our goodbyes and what we had learned from this experience.
Here are some of the things we have learned from our mission: We learned to love each other with a greater love than we had ever had before. We learned that loving others is what testifies of Christ and that you can really change other people’s lives by loving them the way Christ loves them. We learned that our Father in Heaven loves us more than any of us know. He wants us to be happy. He wants us to learn and grow and come unto Him through the Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. We learned that His word is in the scriptures. The wonderful scriptures…the word of the Lord…our lesson manuals when we taught! We are so grateful for being able to teach the scriptures to our Institute students. We learned so much having this great opportunity. We are so grateful for our mission!
Our trip home on Tuesday, the 23rd, was just as much fun as it sounds…NOT! Traveling is hard. Fourteen hours on a plane is hard. Checking in and dealing with an obscene amount of luggage is hard. Checking through customs and immigration is hard. Here are a couple of photos from our arrival. We don’t look too bad for two people who felt like the bottom of a shoe. The last one is us setting up our new phone numbers before we even went home!
Setting up the home you have not been in for 18 months is also hard. Coming home has been good, but a bit hard… We really miss the wonderful people we met in Australia. We miss our students. We miss the beautiful country. We miss the gorgeous weather and skies. We just miss it. Period. However…on the flip side…
We are grateful to be home. We have seen a bit of family with more yet to see. We have enjoyed bumping into and seeing old friends here…our home. We have enjoyed the hugs and “welcome homes”. We love being on the same continent with our children and grandchildren and the freedom to text and Skype when it is way more convenient. We have a lot more to do to settle in, but we work a little more on that everyday. We have both been called as a Visitor and Home Teachers. We hope to be working in a calling(s) soon. We hope to visit with more of our family very soon. We are just approaching one day at a time. It is good to be home.
The end of our mission brings us to the end of our Larkin Missionary Blog. It will have no more posts after today. I am retiring it…
Until next time????