08 June 2017

20 years ago today - The Farewell - 08 June 1997

It used to be that when a missionary left or returned from a mission, they would essentially plan the entire sacrament meeting. I was able to plan and execute the entire meeting as per the tradition at the time. A kibosh was being put on this when people started taking it too far. Now it is common practice to only have the missionary speak. Once I decided to serve a mission, my intention was to leave from the Jensen's ward as they had taken me in and I had lived with them for the past several years of high school, it was the most stable home I had ever known. However, through a series of events, from the Jensen's, my Mom's, the Wises then finally, I ended up leaving from my Dad's ward in Nephi. Traveling from where I was living at the Wises home in Provo to attend church meetings.

Here is my journal entry from that day:
08 June 1997
Today, I had my farewell. It was one of the most spiritual experiences I've had thus far in my life. Everything seems to be working out and is just falling right into place for me. 
The program went like this. Joel spoke, then Ben, then my Sisters sang a song, then my Dad, Then I finally spoke. It felt so neat, Joel recently returned from his mission and talked about the atonement taking up a lot of time for me. Ben's talk really hit home, he talked about our relationship and about how much he respects me, my thoughts and actions. How I always smile, he basically had a lot of good to say. Then my Sister's sang the song, "I heard him come." It was beautiful. Then they all gave me a hug. My Dad talked a lot about mission rules. It was finally my turn, I had NOTHING previously prepared. I stood up and nervously walked to the podium. I expressed love and appreciation, thanked everyone for traveling all the way to Nephi, quoted a few of my favorite scriptures, talked a little bit about them, then bore my testimony and sat down. Bishop Bender said a few remarks, then the stake president (Curtis) said he felt prompted to make a few unscheduled remarks which were very spiritually uplifting. Daryl had said the opening prayer and Dan said the closing.
Afterwards many people came up and hugged me and or showed their love, basically saying farewell. After that my family and friends went to my Dad's house. It was so cool. I felt so happy. However the part that really stuck out and was a very neat experience was when I was sitting on the couch next to my cousin Jana. Everyone was just talking or whatever, when Jana started asking love-life questions. The neat experience happened when she asked how she could tell the difference when a guy was a player or if he was sincere? Then some words just flowed out of me. I said, when you are being romantic and you let him know where your border is. If he respects that and sticks around, he is sincere or something to that effect. But the neat part was the feeling I got. It was an indescribable feeling. The only way I can describe it is to say that my whole body felt electrified and numb. I don't know whether she felt it as well. but she kind of jumped back at the exact time it happened, so I think she might have. It was a happy feeling of peace and numbness.
Well, I've run out of room so...
See ya!

I wasn't the best at taking the time to write in my mission journal. However, through time I found it much easier to commit to writing in a calendar. The space constraint made it a simple, more manageable task that I eventually came to enjoy. I still have this habit today. It is very handy when trying to recall past events. The calendar I used was a 2 year missionary calendar that my sister Jill made for me.

At the time, pig latin was one of the highest levels of decryption available to keep the owner's identity safe.

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