Thursday, August 20, 2020

Basking in the beauty of Bear Lake and reminiscing with friends from the mission!

You have to get up early to see this kind of sunset!

Finishing and returning home from a mission can be a challenging thing! Joanne and I are experiencing this challenge, leaving behind what we had been doing for the past three years. Yes, we have a journal. Yes, we have pictures. Yes, we have a binder full of wonderful miracle stories. Yes, we kept all of your training presentations...and on and on. But being with the missionaries one minute and then not seeing them for a while can cause some consternation. 

Here is the entire group sans a few who came late or left early!
Incredible missionaries and young people!

Elder McConahay, Sisters Brown and Freeman, Elder Jackson. Elders Rich, Hite, and Staley

So along come reunions, events where you can see and talk to your missionaries who have also returned home, some recently, some two or more years ago. According to many of them, they are still transitioning. 

From the balcony of the cabin

Recently, Elder and Sister Shirley invited us along with a host of returned missionaries from the California Riverside Mission to join them at their cabin in Bear Lake. 

Shirley's cabin in Bear Lake--gorgeous views!

It sits just west of the lake in Garden City and overlooks the vast blue of Bear Lake. 

Los Hammon and Los Shirley!

A bunch at the beach with E. Mackay who happened up the group!

It's quiet there, away from the fray of Bear Lake Boulevard and the constant--and sometimes irritating--hum of boats and those awfully noisy water do.

Sisters Hindman and Brown
Sisters Hindman and Brown!

Las Hermanas Kaiser and Smyer!

Elders Jackson, Rowe, and McConahay. 

Over a three-day period, 36 former missionaries motored up the dirt roads to the Shirley's cabin. Some spent the night; others came a long distance just to spend some time, eating, chatting, reminiscing, playing a little basketball, renewing old friendships, playing in Bear Lake, learning first names, going on walks in the early morning light, standing or sitting on the deck and watching the sun rise in the east, meeting missionaries they didn't know in the mission field, and seeing people not dressed in white shirts and ties and skirts, or just sitting in chairs and watching what was going on and basking in the goodness and the comfortability of it all.

Elders Staley and Hite!

Elder Shirley: "Elder Jackson, here is the paddle. Be careful with it."

Ah, the kneeling Hermana Brown!

So, every minute was a pretty lively time and some quiet time contemplating and watching.  

Elder and Sister Thorne came by for lunch with Elder Shirley!

Aren't you supposed to sit, kneel, lie, or stand on this kind of board?

Hermana Frehner, Elder Emry, Sister Foster, and Elder McConahay
at the beach. Thanks, Sister Shirley, for the photo!

Sister Cienna Dorny brought her guitar that she has learned to play since coming home. She sang and played for us. 

Sister Cienna Dorny and her guitar!

Elder Sanchez with Elders Staley and Jacobs in the background!
Thanks, Sister Shirley, for the photo!

Sister Freeman

The food was delicious-- Taco salad, hotcakes, fruit, hot dogs, cookies, chips, chicken salad on croissants, and Sister Shirley's famous mint brownies.

And the hot dog BBQers: Elders Hallows and Hunt

Cannot be a picnic without hot dogs.

What's a reunion without food? Sisters Schmutz, Sands, Kaiser, Andersen, and Durham,

From above

They pitched tents and hammocks to sleep in, some on rocks, others on grass, and others among the bushes and flora and fauna.

Elder Michael Rich very comfortable in his hammock!

Night lights make beautiful stars!

They parked their cars in every nook and corner they could find or was allowable.

Thanks, Sister Shirley, for the photo!

Sisters Hindman and Schmutz

Sisters Sands, Hunt (Peterson), and Stettler

Ah, yes, they shared one bathroom and were very polite about all this. 

Las Hermanas Kaiser and Smyer!

Sisters Tanner, Dyer, and Corder

Sister Morgan

The newlyweds: Mr. and Mrs. Casper!

When Joanne and I left early Saturday morning after saying goodbye to those who were up, it felt lonely driving down the road again as we worked our way to Idaho, a wedding, and a class reunion. 

Sister Wilde, Elder Carlisle, and Sister Adams

The Hammons with Sister Fortin

Sisters Sands, Dorny, Morgan, Dyer, Andersen, Tanner, Hammon, and Hunt (Peterson)!
Thanks, Sister Shirley, for the photo!

It was a privilege to see them all. And we all promised to make time to join again from wherever we were.
L-R: Hermanas Stettler, Kaiser, Smyer, Cardiel, Schmutz, and Brown--all Spanish speaker!

Sisters Andersen and Durham, happy to be on the swing!

Hermana Cardiel

We love being with these missionaries!