What a wonderful week we have had! We worked Monday and part of the day on Tuesday and then flew into Idaho Falls to be there for the endowment and sealing of my family. It was an amazing time! Our family met us at the airport with kids and signs and we felt like we should be finishing our mission--but, we have about 11 months left.
We stayed up and visited until late and then we slept in the camper. I hadn't been sleeping well (too excited, I guess) so it was great to get a good sleep.
On Wednesday we had dentist and doctor visits, hair cuts, and more visiting! We were able to visit with Grandma Merrill also. It is so good to be with the ones we love!
On Thursday we had breakfast at the Summer's and visited with the Hegsteds, Summers, and Beesleys. It was great! We went to the airport and picked Brad and Sara and the kids and then got ready to got to the Temple in Rexburg. We almost filled the session with people there to support our family. It was a great sight!
After the Temple we hosted a nice pot luck dinner at our house. There was a good turn out and the food was super good! I think that everyone had a good time. It was a miracle that the evening was nice and the smoke from the Idaho fires wasn't too bad. (the next night the wind blew like crazy)
On Friday Chris had a picnic catering job that he needed help with and Dennis and I went to help him. It turned out really good and everyone seemed to enjoy the food. Greg and Jackie picked us up and we went home with them and visited more with everyone. Brad and Sara took some of the kids to the 'Monster Truck Show' in Rigby and Tate came back talking about seeing the monster trucks. It is so fun to hear the little kids talk and be so excited about things.
Some of the little ones had forgotten us and we had to start over with them (Max and Hallie) It's a good thing a mission doesn't last too long or they would all forget about us. Tate loves equipment and loves to ride the bulldozer.
On Saturday we got ready to fly back to New York and visited more with our family. (I can't get enough of them!) Our family is our greatest blessing and we love them all so much and are so proud of them! The kids slept on the trampoline and said that they all rolled into the middle. (it looked like a bunch of snakes in a coil)
Our flight was at 1:30 and so the day was cut short. We flew into St. Paul, Minnesota and had a 2 hour layover there. We boarded the next plane to go to Buffalo and they were slow getting away from the gate with luggage, etc. We were about 10 in line to take off when a lightening storm and rain began. We sat on the run way for over an hour and then they started making announcements abut this and that and then the pilots were out of time and they would take us back to the terminal and we would have to wait in our seats until fresh pilots arrived. Then we had to deplane because the pilots were in the Fargo, ND and we would have to wait until they arrived. Then they couldn't get them out of Fargo, and in the end we were stuck in the airport ALL night! They said they had mats for people to sleep on and we tried to get a mat, but it was crazy with people digging into the stack of mats to get what they wanted, and Elder Merrill was very courteous and didn't end up with one. So we found a place that had some connecting chairs without arm rests and sleep (a little).
We arrived in Buffalo Sunday at 1:00. By the time we went by Batavia church was over so we came home and flopped into bed. It felt so good and the coma began. The Sisters across the street brought over some supper and we have begun to feel human again. Delta send 10,000 miles to our account for the trouble (but I think it should have been more than that).
We met a man named Randy Tate in the airport that is a member of the church from Boise, Idaho. He had meetings to attend in Canada and was traveling there from Buffalo. He does elevator and escalator work. He felt that Delta hadn't been truthful from the beginning of our stay and called it 'faction' (half fact, half fiction) Who knows?? It was miserable for an entire plane load of people with places to be and lives to live.
Randy had a very interesting story. He had not been a member of the church as a youth and had decided that the bad boys were the ones getting the cute girls. So, he determined to be a bad boy. He joined the Marines at 18 and went to Viet Nam. He got into a crowd there that were selling drug in the United States and they began making lots of money. He returned to Oregon and they continued living the high life and making lots of money with their drug business. He met a young man that was in their group and he lived in Boise. They began doing business in Boise and while there would have dinner at the friend's parents home. They were LDS and the father began to drop little bits of information into his mind. He said that he loved being in their home and feeling their love. The father told them that there were lots of things they could repent of but that there were limits. (he didn't really know of the problems his son was having) They also got hooked up with the mafia about this time.
One night they had an encounter with someone that stole a lot of cocaine from them; and a severe beating took place. He said that he pulled his gun and was about to shoot this man and the friend's fathers voice came to him that there were some things that would be very difficult to repent of or impossible. He dropped his gun and told them he was through. He began his road to repentance and study of the gospel. He lived at the friend's parents home and they helped him. He went to college in Boise and joined the church, married in the Temple and then had a special experience of baptizing his mother. His parents had divorced when he was a teen. His mother had come to live with him and his family after a few failed marriages and while there they had Thanksgiving and the father also came to dinner. The parents ended up getting married again, the father joined the church and they were sealed in the Temple. There are some interesting twists in our lives when we allow the Lord to guide us.
We are back in New York now and ready to go back to work. We are so thankful for the gospel of Jesus Christ and the many tender mercies we see daily.