Monday, April 3, 2023

April 2023 California Riverside Mission Reunion--A Delightful Reminiscence!

Mission reunions can be enlightening, magnificent, wonderful, delightful, heartwarming, happy, spectacular, and nostalgic. Our California Riverside Mission reunion on Friday, March 31 was all that and much, much more!

 Several RMs from the mission—Olivia Longshore, Maxlin Chase, Shaunté (Harris) Guymon, Britney (Shunn) Peterson, Hannah Morgan, Sadie (Giles) Hallsted, Cassidy (Kaiser) Esquea, Spencer Royce, and Haden Loveridge—began planning at the end of January 2023. They wanted a simple yet marvelous reunion.

 So, they got right to it. Britney began the social media blitz while Shaunté gathered up people who wanted to bring something to eat. Olivia, Maxlin, and Cassidy began working on the program and photo presentation, Spencer and Haden decided to work on set up and clean up while Hannah Morgan and Meg Glancy worked on decorations and a photo spot for photos.

Soon, the mission reunion was in full planning mode with bi-weekly Sunday evening meetings via Zoom to follow up, share ideas, and create a memorable event for everyone.

 Finally, the time arrived. Everyone came together to set up, decorate, arrange, and clean! By 5:30 p.m., everything was in place, and people began to trickle in.


The trickle turned into a gush, and the gym began to fill up, and the chatting and reminiscing and laughing and greetings emerged with a heavy dose of hugs (abrazos) and greetings.

 It was just a delight to see everyone!

 Joanne and I were asked to say a few words, which turned into more than a few words. How can you just surface feed when you have some of the greatest missionaries/RMs on the planet earth gather in the chapel for—hopefully—some words of wisdom?

 Joanne spoke about the importance of keeping covenants. I shared thoughts about “defining moments” in our lives, and that those defining moments can be such pivotal points in our lives.

Some people classified the program as “a return to zone conferences,” “a spiritual uplift,” “just what I needed to hear,” “opportunity to be with my best friends in the mission,” “fun and delightful evening.” For us, it was truly uplifting and heartwarming to look in the eyes of those who were there and see growth and development.

 We were treated by incredible musical numbers from Kylie Linton and Nick Rowe. We could have listened to even more since we have a mega-talented mission—from juggling to singing to playing to dancing to painting, and to a host of other wonderful talents.

Once we said “Amen,” we all trundled back to the cultural hall with a bit of lingering longer in the chapel and the foyer to catch up with those wonderful young men and women who served so faithfully in the California Riverside Mission.

We went well beyond our scheduled time, but everyone wanted to say one last thing to one last person and then another “last person.” Soon, though, it was over, all cleaned, and everyone leaving in cars to all parts and home.

 As Joanne and I traveled our 1.4 miles home, we were somber, humbled by the wonderful evening that we had with our mission family. We loved being there. We loved talking to people although we did not get to talk to everyone. We thoroughly enjoyed the entire evening! It was such an incredible reminiscence of times past, present happenings, and things to come!

We hope you know that we love each and every one of you and pray for you daily. We look forward to seeing soon. Please stay in touch!

* Note: If you want to see more pictures, please go to Sister Shirley's Facebook page! Thanks to Sister Shirley for taking most of these pictures.