When we received our call to the Baltic Mission, I sent an email to President Boswell, giving him our contact information. His response included the line: “Our need for you is genuine and immediate, as we lost both of our office couples 10 days ago, one who went home on schedule and one who had an artificial knee break, requiring him to go home for immediate repair,” causing us to move our mission start date up to December 2, 2013.
I had started updating our downstairs bathroom which snowballed into an almost complete replacement including new ceramic tile and vanity, which I had to rush to complete.
Several weeks prior to our new mission date, I had the distinct impression that we were to go to Wenatchee, Washington to visit our grandson, Aaron, Paul’s son, but with the press of what we needed to accomplish at home, I put it off until the final week before we were to enter the Mission Training Center (MTC). At this same time, our daughter, Kristine had determined to move to Texas to be with her youngest daughter, Millie. We held a family party to get everyone together the Sunday before she left, then with Kristi’s permission, we headed up to Wenatchee on Monday. This is an 800 mile drive, which took us 2 days to accomplish, but we got to visit with Aaron and Cara, his mother for several hours, then we immediately returned home, taking another 2 days.
Aaron is eleven and will be turning twelve in April when he will be ordained a Deacon, which will be done by his other grandfather. We committed Cara to send us a picture, but if possible, we will try to be there via Skype. Missions often take grandparents away from their families when important events occur, but the promise is that it is worth it.
On our way home, we passed a terrible one-car accident just before the Juniper rest stop where an SUV had drifted off the highway and the woman driver over-corrected causing the vehicle to flip end over end spreading debris all over the highway, fatally injuring the driver. What a sad sight.
We partly completed our mission packing then entered the MTC beginning two weeks of training, the standard ‘Preach My Gospel’ training followed by ‘Office training’. Here we met the couple serving with us in the Baltic Mission Office, Elder and Sister Terry for the first time. We will enjoy working in the Mission Office with them. During our stay at the MTC, we had the opportunity to meet with both couples we are replacing and determined some of our preparations were not optimal, causing us to go shopping more to fill in the gaps.
We had thought we would leave for the Mission on December 14, but the travel department set it up so we will leave bright and early December 16, a Monday and arrive the next day at 1:05 pm in Riga, Latvia, a 20 hour trip, somewhat shorter than our flight from Phnom Penh to home.
Two of our sons will live in our home and another son will use our car while we are gone. This will bless them and us since we will not have to worry about the car or home (we hope).