After two long years (that have felt like an eternity on our end) my oldest brother Oliver has honorably returned from serving his God in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Spanish speaking.
We left for the airport around 12:45, and we picked up our precious cargo from the air port around 1:45.
I didn't anticipate the tears (especially considering no one else in my family cried... not even my mom) but nevertheless they made their appearance. I didn't realize how much I have missed my brother until today. That small empty hole in my heart that was always there no matter what I filled it with, finally feels whole again. My family is finally 100% here! There isn't going to be an empty seat at the dinner table, or an extra seat in the car, not even empty family prayers.
I love my brother Oliver.
At 5:00 we went to the Stake Center so Oliver could be released as a full-time missionary. He was given an opportunity to visit with the Stake President first, then we were allowed in. Shortly after Oliver was asked to bear his testimony to my family. I'll tell you something about Oliver, before he left on his mission he was a very hard person. He lived behind steel walls, and didn't like to show his emotions. Ever. The moment I experienced only 30 minutes ago, is one I can promise I will never forget. The spirit was so strong in that room and emotions were definitely high. It meant a lot to hear his thoughts about a mission, especially when the Stake President told him he could take off his name-tag when he got home. That almost made me cry. Okay, I did cry.
It was really meaningful to hear Oliver's testimony. That's something I didn't know if I would ever hear so freely but today has truly been a day of learning. The thing that hit me the hardest was when he referred to the people of his mission. The people who were doing things wrong and weren't changing, how hard it is for him to see people struggle and know that if they would only turn to the gospel they could have someone there to walk through their trials with them, the Savior.
I am so proud of Oliver, he has done something incredible that not everyone can claim to have done. Sacrificing two years of their life in the service of their church, family, God, Savior, the list goes on. Not only is Oliver the first in our immediate family, but he is the first grandchild on both sides of my family to serve a full time honorable mission. Not to mention there are over 40 kids on my dad's side of the family. I can't begin to express what an impact that has made on everyone, extended and immediate. What an example he has set for the future generations.
Now that I've spent my blabbering, I'll add some pictures.
|Elliott and I waiting patiently on the drive to the Airport.|
|The Mom waiting patiently on the drive to the airport.|
|Jane waiting patiently on the drive to the airport.|
|Myself, Jane, Dad, and Elliott with our balloons and sign,|
not to mention five other missionary families doing the same.
|Dad with Elder Groom.|
|My Brother and Best Friend, Oliver.|
|Jane and Oliver.|
|Mom and Oliver.|
|The children reunited once again, free|
the wreak havoc where'ere we please.
|Already into the latest and greatest technology.|
|The famous "Welcome Home Elder" poster.|
|Mom and Dad with the fruits of their labors.|