One of the missionaries from our Scottsdale ward, to whom we have sent letters for nearly two years, is about to return home. Here are some comments he wrote in a June email to friends, “So this week was a great week. I don’t think I have been this tired since the first few weeks of my mission. I have been thinking a lot about what (Grandpa) has emailed me about how my last few weeks here are like the final push of a race.” Considering that we are finishing soon ourselves (and that we also know his grandfather), those words have much meaning for us, too.
We made it through Transfers last week quite well! It was probably the most difficult week our new couple will ever have here since she had so much paperwork to do for each missionary who was leaving as well as the ones who were coming. It was also her first time to fly solo on making up the various rosters, which help us keep track of everyone. He appeared calm as he helped ship old bikes home, get bikes for the new people and keep track of all the cars, gas receipts, oil changes, mileage reports, etc.
One senior couple was evacuated from Mariposa for most of the week because of a huge fire in that area. It is still not a certainty that the threat is completely past, but they hoped/expected to return to their apartment yesterday.
We planned to take a bus tour of main Yosemite Park sites on Saturday to check that off our bucket list. However, heavy smoke in Yosemite Valley (from the Mariposa fire) led us to cancel. Instead we spent the day enjoying giant trees and rushing rivers in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, further south.
We also got a lead on an acceptable apartment in Auberry. We began that search in May and it should finally close August first. We thought our apartment hunting days were behind, but there is still a couple that would do well to be replaced or at least upgraded somehow before we leave. Rental apartments are just so sparse at the moment.
I am including an anecdote from final remarks made by a departing missionary, as far as I can remember and reconstruct from my notes:
I am SO glad I have been able to finish my mission! Things did not go well for me at the beginning and I often thought about going back home. One day, as my trainer/companion and I were biking to an appointment, a truck swerved toward me and honked. I lost control of my bicycle and crashed. The impact was great enough that it somehow tore the pocket right off my shirt. Of course I was banged up, too. I was just lying there on the ground, hurting and completely ready to give up. After a minute or two, my trainer simply said, “Get up, Elder Rust. Put on your name tag.” How could I put on my name tag when the pocket had been ripped off my shirt? He spoke again. “Get up Elder Rust. Put your name tag on and get back on your bike.” Slowly, I got up. Somehow, obeying those words helped create the resolve I needed to face whatever other adversities came, and see my mission through and I am so grateful! My mission has absolutely been the most important experience I ever had in my ENTIRE life! I know my Savior lives and that is everything.
With love from Len and Kit