Saturday, January 24, 2009

Eight more departing elders

This Thursday evening Sister Harper and I were again invited to the mission home for the departing missionary dinner and testimony meeting.

We had made rolls to bring and we went early to help Sister Dance prepare Elder Ray's lemon chicken (a recipe from the Baltic Baker that we tried a couple of weeks ago--very simple and very tasty).

There were 8 young elders, six had served in Lithuania--one of them Russian-speaking--and two in Estonia--one of them also Russian-speaking.

We had a lovely dinner with enjoyable conversation. The Lithuanian elders had worked closely together and knew each other well.

Dinner was followed by the opportunity for each of us to share our testimonies. What a beautiful experience. What fine young men. One of them said that people say a mission is our gift to God, but through his experiences, he came to believe a mission is God's gift to each missionary. I thought that was very profound, and very true. That's certainly what I am feeling after only two months into my mission.

Another young elder shared how much joy he felt through his service. He said "joy" was just the best word he could think of to say what he felt for having had the privilege of serving people he had grown to love, and serving with the members and other missionaries he had also grown to love. Another elder talked about the gifts of God that he had received, from other missionaries, from the members, from the people of Lithuania, and from growing in his understanding of our Savior Jesus Christ. Each expressed how much they have changed in two years and how much they have come to feel the love of the Lord for them and for all of God's children.

We sang a few hymns and ended with "God Be With You Until We Meet Again." These are choice and tender times for me as I think about the great work of the Lord that is taking place here in the Baltic Mission.

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