The time is coming so fast!! When we first got our call back in March, four and a half months seemed like forever until we would be leaving. Now it's flying by. Time seems to have both speeded up and slowed down at the same time now that we are getting so close.
It has been hard getting ready because we can't really pack until it's time to go but I have slowly been getting some organization done and have been going through about 20 years of collecting stuff since we moved into this house. I have thrown away (Oh look! This medication expired 10 years ago!), given away and now will be packing away a lot of stuff that we won't be needing on our mission. This will give Andie a clean and mostly empty room and bathroom to move into while we're gone (at least my half of the space will be packed up).
Tony and I (we are still Tony and Carrie until August 7th then we become Elder and Sister Pearce) recently went to Portland, Oregon for the birth of our 18th grandchild, Luci Yulia Rose Setzer. Born to Lydia and Trevor. She is a beautiful little girl. Lydia and Trevor are wonderful parents. The next time we see her she will be a toddler! They are hoping to come to England and visit while we are there. We're hoping as well! We LOVE being grandparents! It brings us so much happiness and joy! Thank goodness for SKYPE! We will miss our family so much!
The very first day we were in Portland, we were on our way to visit with my bonus Dad, Bob Garrard, in Newport, Oregon, which is several hours away from Portland on the beautiful west coast. As we were driving we got a call from President Gubler telling us about a change in our overall mission assignment and also letting us know where we will be assigned for the duration of our mission.
He got permission from church headquarters to include YSA (Young Single Adults) in our mission assignment. In addition to our Member Leadership Support calling we will be teaching Institute and missionary prep classes and helping with the YSA activities. We will also be helping out the young missionaries whenever we can and helping in the ward and stake we are assigned to.
Because of the additional responsibilities we will be at the MTC for three days longer and will be getting trained for CES (Church Education System) responsibilities. This is quite intimidating to me. Sit with me in the living room or get trapped in a car with me and I can talk your ear off and impart to you all my amazing years of wisdom, knowledge and stories (until your eyes roll back into your head and you wonder if I will ever shut up. Kind of like this post), but get me in front of a class or congregation and I get terrible stage fright and don't seem to be able to put together my thoughts and give a cognitive presentation. Most people don't believe me that I am basically a shy person.
I have great faith that Heavenly Father qualifies those whom he serves. I also know without a shadow of a doubt that if we are willing to listen with our heart, without any criticism of the person who is speaking or teaching and they have tried to prepare and are doing their best, the Spirit can and will teach you what YOU personally need to hear. I truly believe this is how all teaching in the church happens. Whether it's missionary work, lessons on Sunday, Sacrament meeting, Temple attendance, reading the scriptures, etc. I know He will help me if I put the effort of preparation and faith. I'm counting on it!
See how I wander???!!!
Getting back to where we will be assigned, we will be in a ward west of London in a village called Wandsworth. President Gubler told us the ward there has members from all over the world. We are SO excited! There is so much we can learn and people and cultures we will get to know and love. We are so blessed to get this assignment.
There are amazing murals on the walls depicting the life of Christ and other beautiful artwork.
Tony and I have been really looking forward to our MTC experience. Even though we live close enough to commute there daily, we decided we wanted to stay at the MTC and get the total immersion experience and that was our plan. Yesterday however we got a call from the MTC asking us if we could stay in our own home and come down daily. Apparently they have so many missionaries arriving at the same time as us (Summer is the highest occupancy at the MTC) that they are having to find hotels to put everyone in. Some almost as far away as we already are. I'm assuming all the hotel missionaries are senior couples like us. We are a bit disappointed but more than willing to stay in our own beds on Purple for another week and a half. We will study, eat lunch and dinner with the other missionaries, then come home to sleep and prepare for the next day. Depending on traffic, it will add one and a half to two hours of commute time every day.
I wish everyone could experience the Spirit that is felt at the MTC. It can be overwhelming and beautiful. Many tears are shed and hearts are opened as missionaries come to be trained in how to teach and learn languages but more importantly, to come to Christ themselves so that they can know what having His spirit with them always really feels like. It's amazing!
Click on the below link to see information if you want to take a tour. Children are welcome. It's fun. You will get to see where the missionaries eat, live, study and you will get to see rooms inside the new classroom buildings. Missionaries who are actually at the MTC right now getting ready to go to their various missions join with you in line on the tour as you go through so that any questions you want to ask, even if it's about themselves or where they are from or where they are going to serve can be answered. At the end of the tour there is a short video in one of the new buildings explaining the purpose of the MTC and of missionary work.
We will be speaking in Sacrament Meeting (Our non farewell) at 1:00 p.m. on July 30th in the Alpine 4th Ward. The address is: 910 South High Bench Road, Alpine, UT 84004.
All are welcome who want to come and we will have an open house following Sacrament meeting at our home. If you want to stay for all three meetings then come over to visit, you are more than welcome to do that as well.
We will be flying out on August 17th. Then eighteen months of devoting all our might, mind and strength to serving our Heavenly Father and his children. What a wonderful time of life this is!